February 28, 2009

Yeagley not an apple?

We get e-mail:Dear Rob,

I read your 7/6/04 article regarding Yeagley as an "Indian apple." And quite frankly I think this term is inaccurately applied to Yeagley. Since we all know that Yeagley is a fake, there is no way he can be an "Indian apple." An "Indian apple" is an *actual* Indian who acts, talks, behaves like a whitey. Just as you described in your article in your own words. I also believe the other terms such as "Tonto" and "Teepee Tom" are also misused in describing someone like Yeagley. Yeagley is a disgraced white man, who so badly wants to be an "Indian." And I'm not so sure what the proper terms are in defining these sorts of folks who are not Native but act like they are or make false claims that they are.

Just my opinion.

--S. G. "Geno"
Comment:  I think wannabe fits the kind of person you're describing. Unfortunately, I believe Yeagley is an enrolled member of the Comanche tribe. I think that makes him an actual Indian even if he's the Mexican or white stepson of a Comanche woman, not a blood relative.

It's not my place to question the enrollment decisions of federally recognized tribes. If the Comanches don't feel he qualifies as a tribal member, it's up to them to throw him out. Until they do, I think we have to consider him a Comanche.

But this e-mail raises an interesting question: Can an actual Indian be an Indian wannabe? I wouldn't have thought so, but Yeagley seems to qualify for both labels. He may be the only person who does.

For more on the subject, see Deciding Who's an Indian.

P.S. I edited Geno's message slightly to make it more readable.

1 comment:

Melvin Martin said...

The Apple Question:

Is David Yeagley an "apple?" An "apple" can best be defined as an American Indian who is so-called "red on the outside and white on the inside." If Yeagley is a self-proclaimed American Indian conservative, or more specifically, the sole voice of Indian conservatism as he declares himself to be, then some, but not all, within the American Indian community at-large would see Yeagley as an "apple."

An "apple" has also adopted a world view that is truly harmful to the best interests of Indian people in this society, by number one: siding with those forces that are blatantly anti-Indian, not only in terms of promoting racist activities towards the Indian community, but by working diligently alongside anti-Indian crusaders to enact political legislation that can be classified as anti-Indian at whatever level.

Has Yeagley ever engaged in any of the above-listed types of behavior that would serve to enshrine him in the "Apple Hall of Fame?" Yes, he has, so he is by classic definition an apple of the worst order.

On the other hand, I have known several Indian college and university professors who were politically conservative, who wore short hair and dressed in a very conservative manner, served proudly in the U.S. military and were regarded by most of my Indian classmates as "apples" - yet the one main characteristic that all of these educators had in common was that they wanted the Indian students taking their courses to succeed, and to succeed on their own merits.

So, we now have two different kinds of "apples," the kind that are out to destroy and the kind that are out to create.

My question to whoever may read this comment is this: How do you like them apples?