ACTION ALERT! TV program disrespecting the sacred pipe
From NDN News
I was channel surfing this evening and came across this Program "10 Items or Less" on TBS, the episode was called, "Dances with Groceries."
They mocked Native heritage throughout this entire program, including disrespecting the sacred pipe.
In the program aired on Tuesday night, 2/17/09, 9:00 pm (Mountain time), Character Leslie Pool, played by John Lehr, discovers that he has "Shawnee" heritage. He then decides to start running his grocery store in the "Indian way"--makes everything organic, puts up dream catchers, states he even has a birthmark on his butt in the shape of a tomahawk. Character Mercy P. Jones, played by Kim Coles, tells Pool to stop with the "Indian heritage nonsense."
In a scene in Pool's office, he brings out a "peace pipe" and wants to smoke it with Mercy Jones. She grabs the pipe away from him and slams it down on the desk.
Pool, with his newfound "heritage," goes to the Shawnee Tribal Council to complain about the local city gov't attempting to take his store under eminent domain. He brings Yolanda, played by Roberta Valderrama, to this meeting as his "war council." He mentions a quote from Tecumseh, the council then beats him with clubs. Later in the program, this is described as their way to initiate him into the Tribe. He is then made a full-fledged tribal member, talks about becoming a council member.
I would suspect the Shawnee Tribal Council wouldn't be too thrilled, or take this program lightly, either.
At the end, Pool brings out the "peace pipe" again. This time he is in a steam room with several other men. He proceeds to start smoking it, talking about the ancient ritual. One of the men asks Pool what's in that pipe anyway. Pool responds, he was given some tobacco and other stuff, by one of the other characters (either Todd or Carl, didn't catch the name for sure). The man said, oh you should have known better than to accept anything from him. Then Pool begins to "hallucinate" after smoking this "peace pipe."
This mockery and disrespect needs to be brought to the attention of the producers of TBS. They need to be educated that this spoof mockery of our culture is not acceptable.
They have disrespected the sacred pipe and our spiritual beliefs and ways, a immediate public apology is in order on their program and website http://www.tbs.com/shows/10itemsorless/.
These TV and radio programs, need to be held accountable for their disgraceful and disrespectful actions, on these programs. This is happening far too frequently.
You can file a complaint with TBS at:
Re: 10 Items or Less Program
their online email form is located at:
Thank you for taking the time to make your voice be heard, regarding this issue!
In peace & solidarity,
I'd say the phony examples of Shawnee "Indian ways" were more offensive. And the "tribal council's" method of inducting members--beating them with clubs without examining any genealogical research--was the most offensive. This wasn't even a good parody of real tribal behavior. It sounds to me like something a troop of cavemen or apes would do.
In any case, it seems this episode presented one stereotype after another. About the only thing it got right is that its Ohio setting was the home of the Shawnee people.
For more on the subject, see TV Shows Featuring Indians.