By Jodi Rave
I know these “Indian” states well. And I knew it would be a tremendous challenge to report and live in one of them, a reality revisited with the recent arrival of an anonymous letter. I've seen them before. And in Montana, I've noted a pattern. No return address. No signature. Typewritten. And vitriolic.
Here's an excerpt from the most recent “anonymous writer.” The words appear exactly as typed in the letter:
“I cannot stand it. ONE MORE DAY!! How many front page articles to do with Indians? Oh my God ... Do I live in a city that is Mostly white or am I living on a Reservation and don't know it? Wait a minute ... if I were on a reservation then I would get everything for FREE ... ”
Meanwhile, here are some thoughts about “anonymous.”
“I lived in Montana and Arizona during my career. I thank ‘anonymous' for his tirade. Few would have believed me if I had attempted to describe the prejudice and hatred toward NDNZ (Indians) that I saw and experienced in these two states,” said Don Ade.
Said Melvin Martin: “These types of people, of which there are many throughout the Northern Plains area, are the same types of miscreants who shout out racist slurs (from the protection of a moving vehicle) while driving through the streets (a very common practice in Rapid City, S.D., where I lived for 12 years until leaving for good two years ago).”
Added Jerry Peltier: “Of course, we've always known that discrimination has for the most part been anonymous and cowardly.”
Ray Cook described the I-don't-like-Indians writer as “the legendary tip of the iceberg.”