July 31, 2009

US judge cited papal law

Newcomb:  The right of Christian invasionOne of the most explicit expressions of the Right of Christian Invasion is found in the 1826 case Cornet v. Winton (2 Yerg.) 129. In his ruling, Judge Haywood discussed papal and royal claims of supremacy during the days of Christendom that he said had become part of the foundation of U.S. law.

“To have a correct view of the rules adopted and applied to Indian affairs when grants were issued by the kings of England for lands in North America,” Haywood wrote, “we must look to the prevailing opinions in those days in matters of religion. The spiritual fathers of Christendom [the popes] dictated the creed of the people, and assumed enormous powers. …”

The pope’s “grants of infidel countries were considered binding in heaven, and of course upon the consciences of Christians,” wrote Haywood. What was the thinking behind such grants? Haywood pointed to Calvin’s Case (1608), in which Lord Edward Coke held that “all infidels are in law ‘perpetual enemies’; for between them, as with the devils [sic] whose subjects they be, and the Christian, there is perpetual hostility.”

At the time of Calvin’s Case, said Haywood, the “old law of nations” had not been “superseded by the modern [law of nations], so far as regarded their conduct toward infidel countries.” He continued: “The same view and practices had been exhibited by all the nations of antiquity; the Babylonians, the Persians, Greeks, and Romans, and by the Israelites under the Guidance of Moses and Joshua. According to what it [the law of nations] permitted, they extirpated [uprooted] the inhabitants of the countries they invaded, driving them from their habitations, or killing and enslaving them, as best suited their present circumstances.”
Comment:  To summarize Judge Haywood's position: Because popes and kings said Indians were savages, they are savages. Thanks for that "brilliant" example of legal reasoning, Judge.

The "nations of antiquity" also had laws sanctioning the divine right of kings, slavery and serfdom, and women as chattel. Should the US uphold these old laws because they were valid once? I don't think so.

Many conservatives today are up in arms because US judges occasionally cite examples (not precedents) in international law. If these conservatives were consistent, they'd denounce the US court decisions based on the papal Doctrine of Discovery. They'd argue for overturning these decisions and upholding tribal sovereignty.

Instead, they're likely to claim these court decisions go too far. That tribal sovereignty is a fiction and tribes are subject to federal and state control. So much for the intellectual integrity of conservatives.

For more on the subject, see Episcopal Church Repudiates Doctrine of Discovery and Those Evil Europeans.

Mercurie's take on TV Indians

Someone named Mercurie has written a three-part analysis of Indians in television. Here are the links:

The Invisible Minority:  Native Americans on American Television Part One

The Invisible Minority:  Native Americans on American Television Part Two

The Invisible Minority:  Native Americans on American Television Part Three

In his References section, Mercurie cites Newspaper Rock first:Newspaper Rock

(A blog devoted to the portrayal of Native Americans in pop culture. It not only proved invaluable in my research, but to be very interesting reading as well.)
In a comment, he added:Rob, feel free post excerpts on Newspaper Rock. I would be flattered! Newspaper Rock is one of the best blogs I have ever read.Therefore, you know his analyses must be good. <g>

Clearly Mercurie has watched most of the shows he mentions. Which puts him way ahead of me. I didn't start watching Native-themed movies and TV shows seriously until the mid-1990s.

Anyway, these articles are too long to summarize, but I'll post a few excerpts soon. Meanwhile, check 'em out.

For more on the subject, see TV Shows Featuring Indians.

Clauschee mentors young designers

Dine’ designers aim to expand your wardrobe

By Adrian Jawort[Dwayne] Clauschee designs for Nizhoni Way Apparel out of Canyon de Chelly, Ariz. He’s been an influence and instrumental in pushing the success of fellow Navajo fashion designers.

“I was greeted with a lot of skepticism when I first started out,” Clauschee said about his early years as a designer in Los Angeles. “People kept telling me that I would have to be more like ‘this designer,’ or like ‘that designer,’ to make it in the field.”

Instead, Clauschee left California to change the fledgling American Indian market rather than have his designs become “another label in some Bel-Air heiress’ closet.”

Back on the Navajo Reservation, Clauschee encouraged other potential fashion designers to come out of the woodwork--like Michelle Silver, who started Dineh Couture. Silver and many other aspiring designers credit Clauschee for encouraging them.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Un3ek Sy5tem at the Heard, Trickster Gallery Fashion Show, and 2nd Annual First Nations Fashion Show.

Below:  "Aloree Begay models one of Michelle Silver’s Dineh Couture designs." (Photo courtesy Glascy)

IndiVisible at the NMAI

Upcoming Exhibitions in Washington, DCThis 20-panel banner exhibition focuses on the interactions between African American and Native American people, especially those of blended heritage. It also sheds light on the dynamics of race, community, culture, and creativity, and addresses the human desires of being and belonging. With compelling text and powerful graphics, IndiVisible includes accounts of cultural integration and diffusion as well as the struggle to define and preserve identity. Stories are set within the context of a larger society that, for centuries, has viewed people through the prism of race brought to the Western Hemisphere by European settlers.

By combining the voices of the living with those of their ancestors, IndiVisible provides an extraordinary opportunity to understand the history and contemporary perspectives of people of African and Native American descent. The exhibition is accompanied by a 160-page publication and 10-minute media piece.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Black-Indian History on Display and The Feel-Good National Museum.

Below:  "Portrait of Jimi Hendrix in Seattle, 1967." (Douglas Kent Hall/ZUMA/Corbis)

Do Indians grow beards?

Dare to Ask:  Do Native Americans have facial and body hair?

By Phillip MilanoDo American Indian males grow beards?

Montie, 65, white, Grinnell, Iowa
Readers wrote in with answers from "No, genetics won't allow it" to "Some do, some don't" to "Yes, they do have facial and body hair but very little." Finally, an expert weighs in:Concerning hair, American Indian anthropologist Julianne Jennings of Eastern Connecticut State University says natives grew hair on their heads to varying degrees, depending on the tribe. As far as facial hair, while they could grow it, they often chose not to.

"It's a stereotype that they can't grow it," said Jennings, a Cheroenhaka Nottoway who co-authored "A Cultural History of the Native People of Southern New England."

"For example, my father grew hair, just a different kind. It was very sparse, not thick. They didn't care for it on the face, and being compared to Europeans."
Below:  John Trudell with facial hair.

Stolen Women: Captured Hearts

A reader alerted me to this little-known made-for-TV movie, so here's the story:

Stolen Women: Captured HeartsStolen Women: Captured Hearts is a 1997 made-for-television film by Jerry London


A western love story set on the plains of Kansas in 1868. Tokalah is a warrior who is mysteriously drawn to a white settler named Anna, whom he had seen in a vision when he was a boy. Anna is kidnapped together with another white woman. They are taken to an Indian reservation and forced to live with the Lakotas. After being captured, Anna first refuses his overtures, then gradually adjusts to her new life and begins to feel a connection to Tokalah.

The other woman is desperate to return home. After two years, the women are rescued from the tribe by the cavalry force led by General Custer and reunited with their families.

Anna, longing to be with Tokalah, returns to the reservation.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see The Best Indian Movies.

Looting, exploiting, and misrepresenting

Indian Comics Irregular #185:  Using Indians for Fun and Profit

July 30, 2009

$5 Indian Head gold coin

The National Collector's Mint is making commemorative copies of a short-lived US gold coin. This has stirred some outrage on the Racialicious blog.

Here's the story:

1929 $5 Indian Head Gold PieceToday history is being made! The National Collector's Mint announces the private reproduction minting of the last $5 Indian Head Gold Piece ever minted by the U.S. Government. The U.S. has never struck another $5 Gold Piece for circulation. So, our non-legal tender proof is a classic collectible. With its historic importance, scarce population and unique design, it's no wonder that one of the original 1929 $5 Gold Indians recently sold for $34,100!

When President Theodore Roosevelt called for a new $5 gold coin design in 1908, few imagined the daring, innovative masterpiece that designer Bela Lyon Pratt would ultimately produce. Unlike every other U.S. coin design, Pratt's “Indian Head” is incuse--meaning that the sculpted Indian is sunken into the surface of the coin, rather than being raised above it. Indian Head $5 gold pieces were minted annually from 1908 to 1915, when production was suspended for over a decade. When it was finally resumed in 1929, no one expected that this coin would be the last $5 gold coin ever issued for circulation by the U.S. Government. But in October 1929, the unthinkable happened. The Stock Market crashed, plunging the U.S. economy into a deep depression. Production of $5 gold coins ceased, never to resume, making the 1929 $5 Gold Indian one of the rarest and most desirable coins of its kind.

Now, you can reserve your own copy of the 1929 $5 Gold Indian. It's the rare 1929 $5 Indian Head gold piece recreated as a privately minted 24 KT Pure Gold Plated Proof. Designer Bela Lyon Pratt's portrait of a strong Indian brave in war bonnet is incused into the gleaming obverse, along with 13 stars and the motto LIBERTY. On the reverse, the gleaming majestic eagle grasps an olive branch, symbolizing peace, against a frosted field.
Comment:  Let's note a few things before we get to the Racialicious comments.

1) A private company is making this "collectible" item, not the US government.

2) It's a copy of a real 1929 coin, not something someone invented recently to stereotype Indians.

3) The Plains chief on the original coin is stereotypical, but so are a million other images of Plains chiefs in our society. I don't consider this "offensive" unless someone is using the chief to misrepresent other Indians, which isn't the case here.

What they're saying on Racialicious

Some comments from Racialicious:[T]he fetishization nearly always involves a man with a feather headdress, because all indigenous peoples of North America wear and wore those!I wouldn't call this an example of "fetishization," since the 1929 coin is a real historical item that people are interested in. I wouldn't have chosen this coin to reproduce, but private mints exist to cater to collectors. Should people stop collecting coins because our currency honors too many dead white men and not enough people of color?[T]he fact that the word “liberty” is on the coin proves even more that Native history is constantly being ignored and altered in favor of White America’s version of history.I think the word "Liberty" appears on all our coins by law or custom. I'm pretty sure it wasn't intended as an ironic comment on the Indians' lack of freedom in 1929.

Moreover, Americans have frequently used the Indian as a symbol of liberty throughout the country's history. This symbolism became increasingly wrongheaded and ironic as time went on, since Americans increasingly denied Indians their freedom. But originally Indians were freer than their Euro-American counterparts, so the symbolism has some validity.

Indian head = scalping?Even worse--when I saw this for the first time saying “get an Indian head” it reminded me immediately of scalping, and the price to get a “real Indian head.”The obverse side of a coin is called the "head" side because it usually has a head on it. In the past people have referred to "Lincoln Head," "Mercury Head," and Liberty Head" coins, among others. This coin's Indian head has nothing to do with scalping or beheading an Indian to collect a bounty.[A]lso, notice the coin is gold…. right, cuz the first nation people got liberty with gold…oh yeah and pursuit of happiness and LIFE too……or not.You could claim that making the coin gold was intended to be a statement about how the US took the Indians' gold and forced them into a gold-based economy. But you'd be foolish to do so. Again, there's no connection between the type of metal used and the person displayed.

I wonder if this commenter would feel better if the coin were made of silver, nickel, or copper. Would that be less of an anti-Indian statement? I don't see how. You could turn the complaint around and say, "The white man gets gold while the Indian gets copper...how unfair is that?"


Sure, the original coin's image is stereotypical. It also looks a bit crude. The buffalo nickel and Sacagawea dollar have superior designs. If the US were going to reissue the $5 Indian Head coin, I'd say no.

But if a private collector wants to buy a copy from a private company, is it really worth discussing? I don't think so. You may think I get outraged about every little Native stereotype, but this replica of a coin doesn't bother me.

For more on the subject, see Buffalo Dollars Benefit NMAI and The Indian Head Penny.

P.S. See my comments on the original thread if you're interested.

Shamans did it for sex and money?

Do Shamans Have More Sex?

New Age spirituality is no more pure than old-time religion.

By Robert Wright
What I do doubt is that these earnest, selfless spiritual leaders were any more common in the heyday of shamanism than today, or that the spiritual quest was any less corrupted by manipulation and outright charlatanism than today, or that there was a coherent philosophy of shamanism that makes more sense than the average religion of today.

Of course, there's no way to resurrect long-dead cultures to find out, and there is by definition no such thing as a written record of prehistoric societies. But we have the next best thing: accounts from anthropologists who visited hunter-gatherer societies before they had been corrupted by much contact with modernity. These anthropologists observed shamans doing what shamans do: prophesying, curing people, improving the weather, casting spells, casting out evil spirits, etc. And the anthropological record suggests the following about the age of shamanism.

1) There was a lot of fakery. Eskimo shamans have been seen spewing blood upon contact with a ceremonial harpoon, wowing audiences unaware of the animal bladder full of blood beneath their clothing. The sleight of hand by which shamans "suck" a malignant object out of a sick patient and then dramatically display it works so well that anthropologists have observed this trick in Tasmania, North America, and lands in between. Other examples abound.

2) Shamans—lots of them—were in it partly for the money. In exchange for treating a patient, a shaman might receive yams (in Micronesia), sleds and harnesses (among the Eastern Eskimo), beads and coconuts (the Mentawai of Sumatra), tobacco (the Ojibwa of northeastern North America), or slaves (the Haida of western Canada). In California, if a Nomlaki shaman said, "These beads are pretty rough," it meant that he would need more beads if he was to cure anything that day.

3) Shamans—some of them, at least—were in it for the sex. In his classic study The Law of Primitive Man, E. Adamson Hoebel observed that, among some Eskimos, "A forceful shaman of established reputation may denounce a member of his group as guilty of an act repulsive to animals or spirits, and on his own authority he may command penance. … An apparently common atonement is for the shaman to direct an allegedly erring woman to have intercourse with him (his supernatural power counteracts the effects of her sinning)." Nice work if you can get it.
Comment:  A lot of Wright's Native American examples rely on Eskimos. The Eskimo cultures were small, isolated, and unrepresentative of the rest of the Americas.

Moreover, relying on the written records of early anthropologists is fraught with peril. Many of these "scientists" were badly biased against their subjects and didn't have a clue what they were recording.

Some specific thoughts on Wright's claims:

1) If the "fakery" cured the patient, it's not exactly fakery. I suspect some shamans were staging supernatural or psychological "plays" for the patient's benefit. The goal was to persuade the spirits to heal the patient, or the patient to heal himself.

I think this is the same idea as "sympathetic magic." You know...stick a pin in a "voodoo doll" and the person it represents feels pain. Stage a "fake" act of healing and the spirits will accomplish the real thing.

Some of this may just be the clever shamans employing the placebo effect to help their patients. I think it's well documented that if you pretend to do something to heal people, they'll often heal faster. Again, "fakery" isn't the correct term if the process works.

2) Trading goods for services isn't exactly "payment." Not unless the "fees" are specified and the payment is mandatory. Many payments may have been voluntary gifts of gratitude.

How many doctors in Western societies work for free? Not many. I'm guessing traditional shamans gave away their services a lot more often than today's doctors do.

3) Wright offers only one real example of shamanic sex. That is, one example of "some Eskimos" (how many? One or two bands out of a hundred?) taken from a book published in 1954. If that's the best he can do, I'd recommend leaving this point out of his essay.

In short, Wright's claims that traditional shamans were just as corrupt and venal as modern healers is unpersuasive. The fact that he didn't even consider the points I raised suggests he isn't presenting a rational argument. Rather, it seems he's prejudiced against "primitive" indigenous religions.

Twittering about Oxford mound

Natives use Twitter to showcase sacred site

By Rob CapricciosoA growing number of Native American Internet users are turning to the popular social media Web site, Twitter, to get the word out on issues of traditional and cultural importance.

One of the most recent examples of the phenomenon is the vast amount of energy many users have spent raising awareness of the desecration of a stone mound in Alabama created by American Indians approximately 1,500 years ago.

The hill, which many Native Americans from several tribes use for prayer and make pilgrimages to each year, is being torn down in order to provide fill dirt for a new Sam’s Club store, which is a partner of Wal-Mart.

Sam’s Club officials have tried to alleviate concerns, saying the city of Oxford is overseeing the moving of the dirt, but they have also acknowledged knowing that many people are concerned about the situation. Still, store officials have not asked for the destruction to end.

At the same time, the multi-billion dollar company has received assurances from Oxford Mayor Leon Smith that the city isn’t really damaging anything of significance.

But Smith’s claims go against the findings of researchers who have said the hill and structures on it are of traditional importance to various tribal members. A city-commissioned study has even found tribal artifacts in the clay that composes the mound.

As the bulldozers started digging, all kinds of information about the sacred site began to be distributed online by Native activists from coast to coast. Facebook and MySpace pages, as well as other Web sites, have sprung up in dedication to the issue, with some now having thousands of group members.

Of those who have gone online to raise awareness, many have found Twitter to be an especially effective messenger.
Comment:  My friend Carolyn Chambliss is a leader in this Twitter movement, so I've been following her actions closely.

For more on the subject, see Activists Protest Mound's Destruction and Sam's Club vs. Indian Mound.

Below:  "This mound, which many tribes find sacred, is being torn down to provide fill dirt to a new a Sam’s Club in Oxford, Ala. Opponents have been using Twitter to get the word out about the desecration." (Photo courtesy Ginger Ann Brook)

Mayor lies about Oxford mound

Smith says controversial mound was put at top of hill by natural forces

By Dan WhisenhuntMayor Leon Smith claimed Tuesday that a stone mound at the center of a simmering controversy was put there by natural forces, though an archaeological study commissioned by the city says it was almost certainly man-made.

In addition, Smith and City Project Manager Fred Denney now say the hill's dirt is not being used as fill for a Sam's Club. Denney said he never said it was, even though he had confirmed it in multiple previous interviews.

Public documents also show this is the city's plan for the hill underneath the mound.

Located behind the Oxford Exchange, the hill has been the object of protest by American Indians upset by the city's actions. When a story about the hill's origins was first printed in late June, Smith and Denney said it had been used for smoke signals and said the site was insignificant.
More of the mayor's prevarications:Smith's office e-mailed a press release with his most recent comments to The Star Tuesday afternoon before Oxford's City Council meeting. In it, he says the city will keep an expert on hand as recommended by the report's authors, even though he insists the mound is the result of "natural phenomena."

He also says none of the rocks and soil associated with the mound will be used as fill for the Sam's project. He also said "no construction activities are planned for the hill and associated stone mound," a statement contradicted by another part of the letter, which says the city needs the expert on hand "during the course of development activities."

After Tuesday's meeting Smith could not provide a clear answer about why work crews have been seen on top of the mound, but he said they were not getting dirt from it.

"Not one spoonful of dirt has been carried down," he said.
Comment:  When politicians start changing their stories like this, it's a good sign that they're feeling the heat.

For more on the subject, see Activists Protest Mound's Destruction and Sam's Club vs. Indian Mound.

Pizza worker calls Indian "jackass"

Pizza Workers Accused Of Discrimination

Native American Priest Says He Was Poorly Served At Old Hickory Little Caesars

By Jonathan Martin
A priest from a Native American tribe claims he was discriminated against and called a racist name at a local pizzeria.

Lou White Eagle, 63, said he ordered two pizzas on Wednesday afternoon from the Little Caesars on Lebanon Road in Old Hickory.

He said he waited 25 minutes while eight other customers came in asking for the same $5 pizzas. White Eagle said those customers were served within a few minutes.

After this occurrence, White Eagle said he politely asked for his money back.

"I just got up and felt if they are not going to serve me, I might as well leave," said White Eagle. "I feel this place is very prejudiced."

When he got home, he called the manager to complain and said the employee who answered the phone acted unprofessional.

"He yelled, 'Its Jennifer's Native American jackass on the phone,'" said White Eagle.
Comment:  It's probably just a coincidence that this happened in Old Hickory:Old Hickory, Tennessee is a section of metropolitan Nashville, Tennessee, named in honor of President Andrew Jackson who was nicknamed "Old Hickory."For more on the subject, see One Incident/Week in Rapid City? and Highlights of the US Report to the UN on Racism.

Behind the Door of a Secret Girl

Bob Shallit:  Auburn-area teen making movie, aiming for Sundance A 17-year-old Auburn-area high school student is living a Hollywood dream. She's co-directing a feature-length film based on her own screenplay.

"I wake up each day and think, 'We're actually making my movie,' " says Janessa Starkey.

She's a student at the United Auburn Community Tribal School. Four years ago, she wrote a three-page movie treatment and showed it to the school's media chief, Jack Kohler.

Kohler, a veteran filmmaker, tells us he knew right away that Starkey had a great story--the tale of an American Indian girl who resorts to cutting herself to deal with a horrific home life.

Kohler urged Starkey to "stretch out" her script, adding texture to her story. She did. Kohler borrowed expensive film equipment, brought in a professional crew and recruited veteran actors, including Michael Horse.

Filming was done over the past two weeks. Editing is under way. The plan is to have a rough cut completed by September, in time to enter "Behind the Door of a Secret Girl" in the Sundance Film Festival.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see The Best Indian Movies.

Below:  "Janessa Starkey is co-directing 'Behind the Door of a Secret Girl,' about drug use and depression in American Indian teens." (Kim Nickols/Special to The Bee)

Apaches seek Obama's aid

Tribe tries PR to save banned casino

By Alex TomlinTribal leaders say they're trying to get their people back to their native land and the best way to do that is through a casino that provides jobs and cash flow.

“The people here with me today are fighting to build a business in the state of New Mexico," tribal Chairman Jeff Houser says in a TV commercial airing in New Mexico and Washington, D.C.

The Fort Sill Apache tribe has taken its fight to the airwaves to reach out to the one person the tribe says can help.

"President Obama, please don't let them close down the Apache Homelands Casino at Akela. Save the jobs; protect the people," Houser goes on to say.
Comment:  I'm guessing Obama won't respond to this appeal.

For more on the subject, see The Facts About Indian Gaming.

July 29, 2009

Fillmore pardon on History Detectives

PBS's History Detectives (airdate: 7/27/09) featured a report on a presidential pardon for an Indian in 1851. Here's the story:

Fillmore PardonAiring: Season 7, Episode 6
The Detective: Tukufu Zuberi
The Place: Portland, Oregon

The Case:

By the middle of the 19th century, a vast new territory from New Mexico all the way to California beckoned settlers and homesteaders. But as their wagon trains rumbled west from Missouri, along major arteries such as the Santa Fe Trail, they cut through the heart of Indian country and came under frequent attack.

More than a century and a half after these violent events, History Detectives takes a closer look at an old paper that shows President Millard Fillmore engaged in what appears to be an unusual act for the time--sparing the life of a Native American convicted of murder.

In the paper the President commutes the death sentence to life in prison for a solitary Native American named See-See-Sah-Mah, convicted of murdering a St. Louis trader along the Santa Fe Trail. Fillmore’s pardon saved See-See-Sah-Mah’s life, but why?
Comment:  You can read the show's transcript, but I'll give you the short version. See-See-Sah-Mah, a Sac and Fox Indian, was accused of killing a traveling white man. The prosecutor coerced him to confess and plied the jury with liquor. See-See-Sah-Mah was convicted and sentenced to be hung.

But an investigator at the crime scene had found tracks made by boots, not moccasins. This cast suspicion on the victim's brother-in-law. To avoid a miscarriage of justice, two well-connected lawyers took See-See-Sah-Mah's case. When he lost, they asked the US Attorney General to intervene, and he asked President Fillmore to consider a pardon. Fillmore agreed.

A telegram arrived with 20 minutes to spare as See-See-Sah-Mah was headed to the gallows. But all this did was commute his sentence to life in prison. The show surmises that he died soon after being incarcerated. The real killer went free.

Fillmore and Indians

As the show notes, Fillmore had a remarkable change of heart between his 1850 and 1851 State of the Union speeches:

State of the Union Address:  Millard Fillmore (December 2, 1850)The annexation of Texas and the acquisition of California and New Mexico have given increased importance to our Indian relations. The various tribes brought under our jurisdiction by these enlargements of our boundaries are estimated to embrace a population of 124,000. Texas and New Mexico are surrounded by powerful tribes of Indians, who are a source of constant terror and annoyance to the inhabitants. Separating into small predatory bands, and always mounted, they overrun the country, devastating farms, destroying crops, driving off whole herds of cattle, and occasionally murdering the inhabitants or carrying them into captivity. The great roads leading into the country are infested with them, whereby traveling is rendered extremely dangerous and immigration is almost entirely arrested. The Mexican frontier, which by the eleventh article of the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo we are bound to protect against the Indians within our border, is exposed to these incursions equally with our own. The military force stationed in that country, although forming a large proportion of the Army, is represented as entirely inadequate to our own protection and the fulfillment of our treaty stipulations with Mexico. The principal deficiency is in cavalry, and I recommend that Congress should, at as early a period as practicable, provide for the raising of one or more regiments of mounted men.Millard Fillmore's Second State of the Union AddressThe large accessions to our Indian population consequent upon the acquisition of New Mexico and California and the extension of our settlements into Utah and Oregon have given increased interest and importance to our relations with the aboriginal race. No material change has taken place within the last year in the condition and prospects of the Indian tribes who reside in the Northwestern Territory and west of the Mississippi River. We are at peace with all of them, and it will be a source of pleasure to you to learn that they are gradually advancing in civilization and the pursuits of social life.

Along the Mexican frontier and in California and Oregon there have been occasional manifestations of unfriendly feeling and some depredations committed. I am satisfied, however, that they resulted more from the destitute and starving condition of the Indians than from any settled hostility toward the whites. As the settlements of our citizens progress toward them, the game, upon which they mainly rely for subsistence, is driven off or destroyed, and the only alternative left to them is starvation or plunder. It becomes us to consider, in view of this condition of things, whether justice and humanity, as well as an enlightened economy, do not require that instead of seeking to punish them for offenses which are the result of our own policy toward them we should not provide for their immediate wants and encourage them to engage in agriculture and to rely on their labor instead of the chase for the means of support.
From an infestation to starvelings...quite a switch. It's as if Fillmore first parroted US propaganda out of sheer ignorance, then got hit in the head with facts and altered his views accordingly. He sounds like a typical American, but at least he eventually wised up. If only recalcitrant Newspaper Rock readers would change their views so easily. <g>

For more on the subject, see TV Shows Featuring Indians.

Below:  Our 13th president.

Barker calls for tourist boycott

Eastern Band dismisses bear treatment protests from Barker, PETA

By Dale NealOn a second day of exchanges over zoo bears, Chief Michell Hicks of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians brushed off complaints by Bob Barker as the former game show host vowed to keep pressing for change.

Barker called for a tourism boycott of the Eastern Band and said Western North Carolina would feel economic repercussions if the treatment of bears doesn't improve.
Barker's view:Barker at his news conference said the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce would be hearing from animal lovers from across the nation about the treatment of bears on the reservation, about 50 miles away. “We feel it's a problem for the city of Asheville having this Third World spectacle happening right at its doorstep.”

Barker became personally involved at the request of the wife of U.S. Rep. Bill Young, of Florida. The Youngs visited Cherokee last summer on a family vacation, and Beverly Young said she was outraged when she saw how bears were treated in private zoos.

“Fur was literally hanging off of them,” she said. “We treat terrorists in Guantanamo better than these bears are treated, and these bears didn't do anything to us. We invaded their land.”
The Cherokees' view:The three roadside zoos on the reservation—Cherokee Bear Zoo, Chief Saunooke Bear Park and Santa's Land—are inspected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which makes sure they comply with the federal Animal Welfare Act.

The Eastern Band's wildlife office also inspects the zoos.

The Animal Welfare Act requires standards including a safe, clean structure for caged animals, removal of animal waste and adequate food and water. Federal inspectors make unannounced visits once a year.
Comment:  American invaded Indian territory and put Indians on reservations. Indians invaded bear country and put bears in pits. Is this some sort of psychological transference thing? Calling Dr. Freud!

Who gets treated better...Guantanamo "terrorists" (suspects held unconstitutionally without a trial) or Cherokee bears? Hmm...hard to say. But I'll bet the bears are treated better than the victims of US torture at Abu Ghraib.

Best guess is that Barker, PETA, and the Cherokees will come to some agreement in which the Cherokees admit no wrongdoing but agree to upgrade the facilities.

For more on the subject, see Barker Bearish After Cherokee Meeting and Barker to Meet Hicks.

Recognition sought for Sockalexis cousins

Penobscots seek recognition of athletes

By Meg HaskellTribal dignitaries and other members of the Penobscot Nation gathered Tuesday to honor the accomplishments of Penobscot athletes and first cousins Louis and Andrew Sockalexis.

The event targeted the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the magazine Sports Illustrated, and the Cleveland Indians baseball team for failing to appropriately recognize the two athletes.

Louis Sockalexis played for the Cleveland Spiders—later renamed the Cleveland Indians—from 1897 to 1899. He is often cited as the first American Indian to play in the major leagues, breaking the color barrier 50 years before Jackie Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers. He was born on Indian Island in 1871 and died in 1913.

Long-distance runner Andrew Sockalexis finished in second place during the 1912 and 1913 Boston Marathons and in fourth place at the 1912 Olympic games in Stockholm, Sweden. He was born on Indian Island in 1891 and died in 1919.

At Tuesday’s press conference, Rep. Wayne Mitchell, who represents the Penobscot Nation in the Maine Legislature, charged that Louis and Andrew Sockalexis have been “continuously and blatantly overlooked for their achievements”—the impetus for his sponsorship of two legislative resolves in their honor, which were approved during the last legislative session.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see SI List Omits Sockalexis Cousins and More Indian Baseball Lore.

Below:  "James Neptune makes a tobacco offering at the tombstone of Louis Sockalexis on Indian Island on Tuesday before a press conference. Neptune explained that the tobacco 'goes to where he is. Probably no one has given him [Sockalexis] tobacco in a while.' Last month the Maine Legislature passed two resolutions calling on the Baseball Hall of Fame, the Cleveland Indians and Sports Illustrated to respect and honor the athletic achievements of Louis Sockalexis and his cousin Andrew Sockalexis." (Bangor Daily News photo by Kevin Bennett)

Simpson:  "I'm not an Indian giver"

Jessica Simpson Under Fire for Saying "Indian Giver"Jessica Simpson has put her foot in her mouth again.

This time, the 29-year-old singer--who famously confused tuna with chicken because the label said "Chicken of the Sea"--has outraged some in the Native American community for using a racial stereotype.

Earlier this week, TMZ.com asked Simpson if she would be taking back the expensive boat she bought for ex Tony Romo. Her reply? "I'm not an Indian giver."
Why it's wrong:Jacqueline L. Pata, executive director of the National Congress of American Indians, tells Usmagazine.com Simpson isn't the only person who uses the word in a derogatory sense.

The concept of Indians giving and sharing with one another is where the term originated, she explains, but has somehow morphed into an insensitive phrase that stereotypes Native people as ones who give and then take back.

"Most people flippantly use the comment 'Indian giver' without realizing its true meaning, Pata tells Us.
Comment:  People shouldn't use the phrase "Indian giver" except in its original context of someone who truly gives. Perhaps not even then, since it's easily misunderstood.

Below:  "Jessica Simpson attends the Joe Simpson Presents An-Ya Candy Shop CD single release party on July 27, 2009 West Hollywood, CA." (Derek Steele/BuzzFoto/FilmMagic)

National Folk Festival features Indians

Indian presence huge at National Folk Festival

By Jack McNeelThe National Folk Festival recently held its 71st event. The festival lasted three days with six performance stages, more than 250 musicians, dancers and craftspeople from throughout the country, and huge crowds. The Native American presence was seen and felt throughout with many events featuring Montana’s Indian people.

“It represents the culture of Montana and that can’t be interpreted without including Native Americans who are a big part of that,” said George Everett, event director. “This year, with the theme being the culture of the horse in Montana and the American West, we decided to open the festival with a Native American horse parade limited to horses and riders who reflected the culture of Montana’s tribes.”
Comment:  For more on folk festivals, see Montreal's First Peoples' Festival and Folk Festival Fetes Buffy.

Below:  "The opening ceremony at the National Folk Festival was a horse parade featuring people from Montana’s tribes." (Photos by Jack McNeel)

Chippewa chopper

Bike unveiled at the Soaring EagleThe founder of the television show "OCC Choppers," Paul Teutul Sr., unveiled a custom motorcycle designed exclusively for the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe Saturday at the Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort, 6800 Soaring Eagle Blvd.

The chopper is going to be a showpiece displayed at the Soaring Eagle through August, said Mike Dini, advertising and public relations manager for the casino.
Comment:  Curious, if a bit stereotypical.

Below:  "Paul Teutul Sr. sits on stage at the unveiling of the custom bike built for the Saginaw Valley Indian Tribe Saturday afternoon at the Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort. The motorcycle is equipped with birch bark paint, rims resembling dream catchers, feathers, a seat woven with baskets, a Soaring Eagle image on the back and a 100-inch Indian motor." (Media Credit: Matthew Stephens)

Cherokee phone-app video

Interesting posting over in my Pictographs blog about Cherokee-language applications for the iPod and iPhone. Check it out.

July 28, 2009

The truth about Tinsel Korey

Tinsel Korey has been cast as Emily Young, a Makah Indian (not a werewolf), in the Twilight sequel New Moon. Unfortunately, she doesn't seem to be a Native. Based on a previous comment, a correspondent reports:I can confirm that what Anonymous is saying is true. I have met Tinsel and my conversations led me to talk to others who knew her. People who knew her 'before' she was Native, or never believed her or went through the same questions I had. It was very disheartening to find out that it is all a ruse to get roles. Most people in BC, Alberta, and Saskatchewan know this that have worked with her and I'm not surprised that Anonymous heard from people in Toronto where she's from.

Sad, but true. There's much to the story but I think it should be enough that people know she's not Native in the least. It's sad that people who say anything about her lies are labeled haters. No one wants to waste the energy on someone who has no respect for our culture, yet claims to be a role model for it when people don't care or argue back that don't know the truth. Someday, it will come back to haunt her.
The fans in this thread agree:Dance Floor Exhaustion (woekitten) wrote,
@ 2009-04-24 18:37:00

Look who's fucking playing EMILY in TWILIGHT fucking 2: NEW fucking MOON:


Okay uh, hi everyone else. I was good friends with this chick from junior kindergarten through high school.

(She's also not aboriginal despite claims, and I'd love to know why she keeps denying her heritage. This is just surreal.)

2009-04-24 11:06 pm

In spite of the fact we likely have nothing in common anymore ... I really and truly have to be glad for her. She took a big risk, worked her ass off, and made it.

Admittedly, I don't think it's cool that she's calling herself an aboriginal. There are a lot of Native-oriented magazines touting her as "an up and coming aboriginal star," and it really doesn't seem fair to them.

2009-04-24 11:16 pm

I am so, so, so incredibly offended by her claim to be "aboriginal." SO OFFENDED. Does she have ANY actual claim to that whatsoever? An uncle or a stepfather or anything? What the christ?!?

Her myspace says "She was very honored to be a part of the 2008 National Aboriginal Achievement Awards."


2009-04-24 11:33 pm

Wow, even her Wiki page cites her as "of Aboriginal heritage." That is just...No.

Both her parents are from India, as far as I know. She's a first-generation Canadian. She was even a pretty devout Hindi at one time. When we were in grade school, she didn't eat meat.

2009-04-25 12:01 am

Yeah, you know what, this burns my fucking ass too. I knew she was playing aboriginal characters, which is perfectly fine. Lots of East Indians do that. But I thought that the Native magazines/awards/etc all knew she was a character actor, not a poser. Apparently not.

I have no idea what tribe she claims to be from or anything like that, but it's a pretty rotten thing to do. I'd still love to know why she's doing it. Does it make it easier for her to land roles as a "member" of an oppressed minority? If that's the reason for the farce, daaaaaa-yumn.

I know I'd be pissed off if some actor made up a story about being Jewish and forged some grandparents who survived the Holocaust. It's incredibly disrespectful.

Know what though, if this is indeed her big break, I doubt her past will stay hidden for long. Seems like there's already been one big flame war on her IMDB page, and I'd love to find out why (it was deleted). Hm!

2009-04-25 03:13 am

I know she used to fight a lot with her parents; she was much closer to her next door neighbour, who she calls her "godfather" on her webpage. In fact, "Korey" is her next door neighbour's last name; he gave me a stack of Nintendo Powers once, and that was on the address label.

We gave each other dumb nicknames in grade 11/12 and "Tinsel" ended up being hers because she wrapped herself in tinsel when we were in line to see Titanic. Why she stuck with that name, Christ knows. If she's going to fake being aboriginal, she may as well give herself a cool nature-based name.

2009-04-25 12:43 am

You know, the more I think about this, the more confused I become. I can't find anything on her myspace which directly claims aboriginal heritage, but I also don't see anything clarifying it.

I could see her being a character actor who has been adopted and honoured by the aboriginal community for her talent and the sensitivity she brings to her roles. And I'm fine with that. But I really don't think this is it. We both knew her, and I know I can't say she strikes me as the kind of person who would do that. Maybe she's matured and changed a lot in the past 10 years, but I'm willing to bet she hasn't.

2009-04-25 01:00 am

It's seriously weird, isn't it? I did read one article (maybe the same one) that mentions the entire werewolf tribe, Tinsel included, is being played by Native Americans. And the aboriginal media definitely has her labeled as one of their own...but you're absolutely right. She is not saying anything, one way or the other.

I'm not holding hope that she matured. My best guess is that her agent started casting her as a Native character actor (again, very common), and magazines, etc, assumed she was Native because of her looks and roles. Instead of saying "No, you have it wrong," she/her agent realised she could get more publicity/work by claiming Native blood. So they shut their mouths on the matter. Would she have landed this role if the studio knew about her heritage, since it looks as if they were trying to cast Natives?

Still pisses me off, though.

The media fucks up the facts to begin with. One article said she's a Vancouver native. Um, no.

2009-04-25 01:01 am

PS, her last name is Patel. Yeah, like the, um, Patel tribe off the coast of the Bermuda Triangle or some shit.

2009-04-25 01:32 am

I am dying to know her side of the story. I'm curious to see how this develops, and how she handles it once she starts doing promotional stuff with the bigger media for this movie. God help her if she starts actually believing her hype, because I will not fucking sit by.

2009-07-24 09:22 pm

I am from the Native Community and have actively spoken out about Tinsel being not Native. I can tell.

Could you please give me her first name, and info about it so that I can tell other people, the ones who believe her.

I hate that she is appropriating our culture and has been stealing roles from deserving Native actresses.

Also she is claiming she is Native, she changes from Ojibway to Mohawk and now saying she is Anishnabe.

2009-07-26 12:41 am

I can't believe all the people who know about this. This is the first place I've found people who know the truth and not defending her actions. There is so much that people didn't know about her from Toronto but people know she's lying about being Native. She has practically admitted it to so many people but then gives the sob story about being adopted so people feel sorry for her. She's not adopted? WTF? My friends would make up Native stories and tell her and then laugh about it when people wouldn't correct her but talk about her behind her back. Couldn't figure out why until we realized she was trying to make herself more Native. I heard she started powwow dancing too last year at one of the powwows. I'm so disgusted with her and hope more people speak up.
Comment:  This is the second Twilight casting controversy. The third if you count the rumors about Vanessa Hudgens. And something like the 10th or 15th casting controversy since I've begun tracking them.

How racist is today's Hollywood if it has cast non-Natives to play Natives in a dozen or more roles? Pretty darn racist.

If Korey is a good actress, I hope she continues to get roles. But as a non-Native, not as a Native. Unless she somehow proves her detractors wrong, that is.

For more on the subject, see Quileute Werewolves in Twilight and The Best Indian Movies.

Barker bearish after Cherokee meeting

Bob Barker, PETA call for release of Cherokee zoo animals

By Dale NealBob Barker and the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals will take their campaign to free the bears in captivity to the nation’s animal lovers, Barker said in a press conference today.

“Things are going to change on the Cherokee Reservation, I promise,” said Barker, the game-show host and animal advocate.

Barker became involved at the request of the wife of Rep. Bill Young of Florida. The Youngs visited Cherokee last summer on a family vacation, and Beverly Young said she was outraged when she saw bears kept in concrete pits.

“What they’re doing is not bringing tourism here. It’s turning our stomachs,” Mrs. Young said at the press conference held today at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Asheville.

Barker got the audience he wanted in meeting with Principal Chief Michell Hicks and five members of the Tribal Council for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians on Tuesday.

But he didn't get so much as a hint the tribe would do anything to try to change living conditions for bears in private zoos on the reservation.
Comment:  Indianz.com adds that Barker "grew up on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation in South Dakota."

Below:  "Former game show host Bob Barker appears at a PETA press conference in Asheville about the treatment of captive bears in small enclosures in Cherokee." (Bill Sanders)

Preview of Valhalla Rising

Correspondent Morten Krogh brought this upcoming movie to my attention. As he put it:ANOTHER Viking vs. Native movie. This time with European Indians. Playing Native Americans. :-(:-( I REALLY hope this movie will get lot of prizes in the category "10 worst movies ever"...Raspberry award.Here's what it's about:

Valhalla RisingFor years, One-Eye, a mute warrior of supernatural strength, has been held prisoner by the chieftain Barde. Aided by a boy, Are, he kills his captor and together they escape, beginning a journey into the heart of darkness. On their flight, One-Eye and Are board a Viking vessel but the ship is soon engulfed by an endless fog that first disintegrates as they sight an unknown land. As the new land reveals its secrets and the Vikings meet a ghastly fate, One-Eye discovers his true self.

Comment:  The "Indian" actors apparently are covering their faces in mud to hide the fact that they're Caucasians.

So the "New World" is the "heart of darkness" and the Vikings meet a "ghastly fate" there, eh? Did the Indians smother them with kindness, as they often did with visitors? Hmm...probably not.

At least the much maligned Pathfinder showed the Vikings as aggressors against the (too helpless) Indians. Valhalla Rising sounds like a return to the days of yesteryear: civilized white men vs. savage Indians.

For more on the subject, see The Best Indian Movies.

Potawatomi casino vs. Atlanta Braves

The case of the missing Potawatomi sign

By Don WalkerWhen the Milwaukee Brewers met the Atlanta Braves last weekend for a three-game series, something was missing at Miller Park.

Normally, on the outfield wall near the visitors' bullpen, is a large sign for Potawatomi Bingo and Casino.

This past weekend, however, the large sign was covered in plastic wrap.

How come? Neither a casino or Brewers' spokesman would comment, other than to say that the two business partners have a confidentiality clause in their agreement that forbids release of any details of the contract.

But there is a sense that the Potawatomis find a team named the Braves offensive. Moreover, the tribe might not be thrilled with the Braves logo, which includes a hatchet.
Comment:  If the tribe is indeed covering its sign only when the Braves play, it would seem to be an anti-Braves message. That would be an unusual and "brave" stand for an Indian tribe or casino to take.

For more on the subject, see Former Noc-A-Homa = Oxy(moron) and Team Names and Mascots.

Indian remains = specimens

d'Errico:  Kafka meets NAGPRA:  When research becomes stalling

By Peter d’ErricoThe acquisition and holding of human remains by a museum or academic institution is said to be different from grave robbing. Institutional grave robbing is described as scientific research. This argument goes back a long way. As David Hurst Thomas, author of “Skull Wars: Kennewick Man, Archeology, and the Battle for Native American Identity,” writes, “Thomas Jefferson, America’s first scientific archaeologist, argued that Indians could--and really should--be studied as part of the rest of nature. Jefferson defined American Indians as specimens. …”

This kind of “specimen” thinking is related to the doctrine of “Christian discovery:” the idea that non-Christian peoples are not fully human. In this view, the remains of indigenous peoples are not sacred like the remains of Christians. The historical development of academic and museum collections and research claims of “studying” Native American remains is rooted in this religious racism. Indigenous burial grounds are like rocks and ore--part of the earth, available for “discovery,” digging, collection and examination.

Sen. Dan Inouye, D-Hawaii, speaking in favor of NAGPRA’s passage in 1990, said: “When human remains are displayed in museums or historical societies, it is never the bones of white soldiers or the first European settlers that came to this continent that are lying in glass cases. It is Indian remains. … This is racism.”
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Kennewick Man, Captain Picard, and Political Correctness.

Peltier's parole hearing

An e-mail from the Friends of Peltier:Greetings from Lewisburg, PA. As you know, Leonard's parole hearing was today. The attorney Eric Seitz is very hopeful about the outcome of the hearing. The government brought nothing new to the table and made it clear that their position is that LP should never be released despite his being eligible for parole. That, of course, is about nothing but revenge. Peter Matthiessen ("In the Spirit of Crazy Horse") was a witness today. He's attended many of the hearings, appeals, etc., over the years. He felt the examiner was attentive and open to what was being said on LP's behalf. He's also feeling positive. We're also told Leonard handled the Q&A (for about 45 minutes) very well. Unfortunately, there's nothing further to report. The examiner said he'd like some time before making a recommendation. We expect that Leonard will be notified of the recommendation within the next 24-48 hours. This is progress, folks.

Normally a denial is made and immediately, sometimes even before LP's lawyers have even finished their presentation. Overall, the feeling is that Leonard received a fair hearing. Keep up those prayers for a positive outcome. Ultimately, of course, the full Parole Commission will make the final decision. We'll keep you posted.
AP version of the story:

Sides square off in rare parole hearing for Leonard Peltier

Comment:  For more on the subject, see Leonard Peltier on Twitter, Coyote on Peltier, and Peltier's 6th Nobel Nomination.

Twilight graphic novel

‘Twilight’ exclusive: Graphic novel version on the way!

By Tina JordanFor those of you who can’t get enough Edward and Bella, EW can announce—exclusively—that Yen Press will be publishing Twilight in graphic-novel form, publication date still to be determined. Though Korean artist Young Kim is creating the art, Meyer herself is deeply immersed in the project, reviewing every panel.

Take a close look at the biology-class sketch we’ve obtained (that’s an empty dialogue bubble between their heads, if you’re wondering). What’s interesting to me is that it doesn’t look simply like an artist’s rendering of Kristen Stewart and Rob Pattinson. In fact, the characters seem to be an amalgam of Meyer’s literary imagination and the actors’ actual looks.
Comment:  Correspondent DMarks posted the image below in his blog. Note that Jacob Black (center) looks more like a Hollywood pretty boy than a Quileute Indian. And Stephenie Meyer supposedly had a hand in every panel. So she approves of whitewashing her Native characters, as we suspected.

For more on the subject, see Quileute Werewolves in Twilight.

July 27, 2009

Germans think they own Native culture

Der Indianer:  Why do 40,000 Germans spend their weekends dressed as Native Americans?

by Noemi LopintoBlackbird’s fame springs from a remarkable cultural phenomenon: some 40,000 German “hobbyists” who spend their weekends trying to live exactly as Indians of the North American plains did over two centuries ago. They recreate tepee encampments, dress in animal skins and furs, and forgo modern tools, using handmade bone knives to cut and prepare food. They address each other by adopted Indian-sounding names such as White Wolf. Many feel an intense spiritual link to Native myths and spirituality, and talk about “feeling” Native on the inside.

Their fascination with Native culture is due in large part to Karl May, the best-selling German author of all time. In 1892, May published the first of many books about a fictional Apache warrior named Winnetou and his German blood brother, Old Shatterhand. The two men roamed the North American plains, using their nearly superhuman powers to fight off the land-hungry government and thuggish, violent pioneers. (Fans of the stories included Albert Einstein and Adolf Hitler.) In the 1960s the duo was immortalized in five popular films, and hobbyist groups began forming across Europe. There are now more than 400 clubs in Germany alone.

Some Natives do take issue. When he first traveled to Germany, David Redbird Baker, an Ojibwe, thought adults playing cowboys and Indians were cute. But when the hobbyists began staging sacred ceremonies like ghost and sun dances and sweat lodges, Baker was offended.

“They take the social and religious ceremonies and change them beyond recognition,” says Baker, who believes that hobbyists, in claiming the right to improvise on the most sacred rituals, have begun to develop a sense of ownership over Native culture. They’ve held dances where anyone in modern dress is barred from attending—even visiting Natives. They buy sacred items like eagle feathers and add them to their regalia. They’ve even allowed women to dance during their “moon time,” which is, according to Baker, the equivalent of a cardinal sin.

Carmen Kwasny, who chairs the Native American Association of Germany, is convinced that Germans’ fascination with der Indianer comes from a lack of interaction with the natural environment in the country’s increasingly crowded, industrial cities. Kwasny grew up in Bavaria in an area surrounded by towers and factories; she remembers longing for an intimate connection to nature. “People in Germany are looking for some closeness, a new religion, new way of thinking,” she says. “The conflict is they have to find out that Native Americans are just people.”

They have to get past Karl May, in other words. If Germans knew the conditions in which a lot of Natives live today, they would have no interest in recreating them, says Marta Carlson, a member of California’s Yurok tribe and a Native studies teacher at the University of Massachusetts. “No one wants to be living below the poverty level on a [North American] reservation,” she says. “It lacks a certain romance.”
Brits and Americans, Imagining IndiansCarys said...

In response to that Utne article posted by Saints and Spinners--in the current (July-August 2009)issue there is an interesting (especially in light of what Debbie is doing) letter to the editor (bold is mine):

"I grew up in Romania, and when I was 10 years old Karl May's novels about Winnetou and Old Shatterhand were the bomb. There were also some spin-offs that I remember (plus cartoons galore). I now live in Oconee County, South Carolina. While my childhood memories still uphold these heroes, my adoptive country has shown me that everything I knew about Native Americans since childhood was wrong, the product of a writer's imaginative mind." Florin D. Lung Seneca, South Carolina.

Nicole said...

Regarding the quote Carys mentioned--that reminded me of one time when a Romanian visited us when I was a kid. I can't remember the whole incident, but the gentleman asked my dad if they could go see Indians; the assumption was that they would go to a reservation, perhaps, and see people as they would have lived 100+ years ago, except he didn't realize that they don't live that way anymore, in the same way that my family no longer herds sheep and practices transhumance.
(Excerpted from Debbie Reese's American Indians in Children's Literature, 7/21/09.)

Comment:  Although the article doesn't specify it, the Germans emulate only a romanticized version of Plains Indian life. They don't know or care about the hundreds of other Native cultures. That's what's wrong with this picture.

For more on the subject, see Germans = "Only Real Indians"? and The Hobby of Being an Indian.

Zionists = Puritans

The New Puritans

By Dan LiebermanSeveral conflicts have been compared to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Each narrative contained claims for land, clashes with indigenous peoples and a desire for separation due to fear and insecurity. Each conflict left a legacy that deserves consideration. Most prominently mentioned are:

(1) Apartheid South Africa

(2) Colonial Algeria

(3) Northern Ireland conflict

(4) The American destiny

(5) The Puritan experience

Which of these conflicts is most comparable with the Israeli/Palestinian conflict? Realizing that the contestants of the 21st century conflict are culturally advanced in comparison to the contestants engaged in the earlier century conflicts and accounting for different eras and different stages in civilization, the most relevant comparison is the Puritan experience.
How so?The Puritans arrival in America, which eventually became the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and their fatal encounter with the native population, set the stage for the settlement of the entire coast to coast territory. Insecurity and mistrust guided the relations between what became a nation of Americans and the indigenous populations. Superiority of US military forces enabled American pioneers to move inexorably from the Atlantic to the Pacific oceans. Wherever the Americans arrived they found native peoples. Wherever they settled, the native peoples, even those who cooperated, like Chief Joseph and his Nez Perce tribe, were decimated.

The Zionist Jewish narrative closely follows the Separatist Puritan narrative. The early years of the development of the nation of Israel parallels the Puritan experience in America. Let’s hope the trajectory will be detoured and the Israelis don’t prove to be the New Puritans.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see The Indian-Palestinian Connection.

Money talks in Rapid City

Correspondent Melvin Martin tells how he investigated the racism in Rapid City:

Melvin Martin:  The Kansas City Roll in Rapid CityI made a list of all of the businesses in downtown Rapid City that my clients had brought to my attention as discriminatory, and I formulated a plan to simply see for myself the extent of the racist practices and procedures that were carried out against Indians simply for being Indian.

I had last worked for a marketing agency in Texas prior to returning to Rapid City in March of 1995, so I still had in my possession a few western-style blazers, some Wrangler dress pants, a $400 pair of cowboy boots and a black Stetson--my intent was to visit all of the businesses on my list as an “Indian from Oklahoma.”

My first stop was at a restaurant that had a counter where dozens of my clients had told me that they were so ignored by the staff there that after a ten to twenty minute or even a half-hour wait without being served that they just got up and left. The same thing happened to me at this place, I sat down at the counter and was completely ignored (and it wasn’t even the busiest time of the day there). Without a protest of any sort, I walked out.

In the course of at least two hours I visited fifteen more businesses where I was made to wait or was totally ignored by the non-Indians working there.
And:Later that day in Rapid City, I went to a bank and exchanged a fifty-dollar bill for the equivalent amount in one dollar bills. I then attached a $100 bill to the batch of ones with a large rubber band and voila!--a Kansas City Roll!

I then went back to at least twelve of the downtown Rapid City businesses where I had been refused service, but this time with my KC Roll front and center.

And I have to tell you, brothers and sisters, I had never seen so many previously hostile people practically drool to either serve or assist an Indian in all my travels!
Comment:  That the attitudes changed when people saw the money proves the underlying racism. Martin was dressed well, so they couldn't have perceived him as poor and unable to pay. Without the money, people were willing to ignore him based on their preconceived prejudices. These prejudices had no basis in fact; they were simply irrational racism.

For more on the subject, see One Incident/Week in Rapid City?

Barker to meet Hicks

TV celeb Barker in Cherokee to protest bear treatment

By Sabian WarrenBarker, an animal rights activist, is meeting with Eastern Band Principal Chief Michell Hicks at Hicks' office in Cherokee.

Hicks this morning confirmed the meeting was set for 1 p.m.

In a letter to Hicks last month, Barker, former host of "The Price is Right," requested the meeting with Hicks out of a concern the Cherokee bears "are not being treated humanely."

Hicks said today the tribe is following regulations in the care of the animals.

"We're complying with tribal laws and standards established by the USDA," he said.
Top StoriesHicks also says he's disappointed by the way PETA has handled the whole thing. He feels the 640 emails the organization sent him border on harassment.And:It appears Barker's friends at PETA will not be welcome at the meeting.

In fact, Hicks says the organization has already broken tribal laws on several occasions, by handing out informational brochures on the reservation without a business license.

If that behavior continues, he says he'll have no problem asking tribal council to permanently ban PETA from the reservation.
Comment:  I'd say 640 e-mails on one subject is well over the border and into the realm of harassment. A dozen e-mails are enough to "border on harassment."

For more on the subject, see Bob Barker vs. Cherokee Bear Exhibits.

Go Native Arts! TV series

International Native American art and film news:  Organizations Unite to Support New ProgramsA series of Native American fine art and film programs are in development to promote Native arts and cultures internationally.

A television series, a student internship program and a film festival are three of the new programs being developed by three Santa Fe-based Native American arts institutions: Center for Indigenous Arts and Cultures, Institute of American Indian Arts and the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts.
And:Three generations of late, acclaimed sculptor Allan Houser’s family are being profiled in the pilot episode of CIAC’s new documentary television series, “Go Native Arts!” In May, filming began at the Allan Houser Compound, a sculpture garden south of Santa Fe, designed by Houser’s son, Phillip Hoazous, who is co-directing the first episode. Broadcast offers from local, as well as global networks, are currently being considered. The series will be translated into foreign languages to maximize potential viewers worldwide.

“Go Native Arts!” will explore and celebrate Native arts and artists from throughout the Western Hemisphere. The initial episodes focus on three major Southwest tribal cultures: Apache, Navajo, and Pueblo. Navajo painter Tony Abeyta and his family will be profiled in an upcoming episode. Dancing Earth choreographer/director, Rulan Tangen (Metis), will be performing with her dance group.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see TV Shows Featuring Indians.

Pix of Comic-Con 2009

Here are some pictures to accompany my report on the 2009 Comic-Con and my Twilight adventure:

San Diego Comic-Con--July 23, 2009

Starring Edward James Olmos (William Adama), Michael Hogan (Saul Tigh), Bruce Campbell, Boba Fett, Ahsoka Tano, Michael Jackson, Iron Man, Bartman, a Sleestak, Star Trek cologne, robots, monsters, and more. Not to mention Rob Pattinson (Edward Cullen), Taylor Lautner (Jacob Black), and Kiowa Gordon (Embry Call) from Twilight and New Moon.

For more on the subject, see Comic Books Featuring Indians.

Leonard Peltier on Twitter

Someone named Leonard Peltier of Lewisburg, PA, is on Twitter. Oddly, he writes about himself in the third person and prays for himself a lot. Anyway, you can follow his 140-character messages there.

More important, Peltier is following my tweets on Twitter. I'm using the service to give people a heads-up on the most important postings in Newspaper Rock. There's an average of one or two messages a day. It's a good way to keep up with the news if you don't have time to read the whole blog.

July 26, 2009

Our Twilight adventure

As I said, Victor, Eric, Rebecca, and I walked the Comic-Con floor Thursday, but our big adventure happened elsewhere.

In addition to the Twilight panel at Comic-Con, the Twilight people scheduled a series of Q&As at a nearby theater complex. Fans stood in line for hours...to buy tickets for $11 apiece...to see the actors up close. The dozen or so actors were split into two groups, I think. After a long wait, the fans were trotted into an empty theater to spend 7-8 minutes with group 1 and 7-8 minutes with group 2. (Not a good expense of time and money, if you ask me, but I'm not a Twilight fan.)

Anyway, Kiowa Gordon (Hualapai), one of the New Moon Wolf Pack, decided to fly from Arizona at the last minute for these events. Only problem was, no one knew he was coming. So his mother called my pal Victor and asked if he could pick Kiowa up at the airport.

While Eric and I continued to wander the Con, Victor and Rebecca fetched the young wolf-man. We met at the Hard Rock Hotel downtown, where Twilight had a hospitality suite. Saying we were Kiowa's "people," we escorted him to the 11th-floor room.

Into the Twilight world

There a woman said she'd get us into the Q&A event. While Kiowa signed posters, we walked to the Pacific Theaters complex several blocks away. After some confusion and a break for ice cream, we finally got two tickets, two bracelets, and two staff passes. We still didn't know what was happening or what our passes were good for.

We returned to the Con to get the kids some Big Lebowski and Harry Potter souvenirs. Then we returned to Pacific Theaters for the third time. Whew...a lot of walking back and forth.

With our passes, the Twilight people let us into the lobby. There we could view the Nordstrom line of Twilight clothing or buy posters and tote bags while we waited.

Eventually the actors appeared from somewhere, paraded past us, and posed outside for the adoring crowd. We couldn't see this well from the lobby, but it looked crazy. Perhaps a thousand Twihards lined the street and screamed for Edward, Bella, and Jacob.

The actors returned and went upstairs. We talked to someone in charge and, using the "Kiowa's people" line again, followed them. We reached a closed-off theater with guards but, calling ourselves "Kiowa's family" this time, got in.

This theater was the "green room" where the actors waited between Q&A sessions. Everyone was there: Rob Pattinson in a baseball cap, Kristen Stewart looking like Joan Jett for an upcoming movie, Taylor Lautner sitting way up in back with a buddy.

Hanging with the stars

Victor and I and his two young charges sat at the far side of the theater by ourselves. I think we were the only "civilians" in the place. Everyone else was a Twilight actor or support staff.

Eric and Rebecca got up the courage to ask the actors for autographs. The actors were polite and obliging, so the kids eventually scored 13 or so autographs each. Thirteen Twilight autographs on a Comic-Con pass--that may be a record. Those passes may be valuable someday, if they aren't already.

Kiowa came over and hung with us for a while, so we learned he wants to start a band playing eclectic music. Victor traded a Joan Jett comment with Kristen Stewart, since she's doing a Jett biopic and Victor once worked with Jett's band. Eric went over to hang with some stars and was soon telling them about his favorite movie, The Big Lebowski.

All in all we spent about two hours watching the Twilight stars from our vantage point. It was a rare chance to observe Hollywood celebrities in their environment.

Again not knowing what was happening, we got to see a final Q&A session with the Twilight actors, including Kiowa. We learned that the fans, who are about 90% girls, ask a lot of silly questions. I think someone mistook Kiowa for Taylor Lautner--because all Indians look alike? I think someone else asked him to take off his shirt.

Others asked if they could pose for a picture with the stars or get their autographs. That goes beyond silly to selfish and stupid in a room with hundreds of people who want the same thing. "Can I monopolize the stars' time while the rest of you spend your $11 watching me?" Uh, no.

Fleeing the scene

Finally the evening ended. The stars returned to the bus that brought them over and the Twihards, still waiting outside, screamed. Kiowa got his bag and came with us. We walked to Victor's car and nobody recognized Kiowa. (No doubt that'll change with the release of New Moon.)

Because Kiowa had nowhere to stay, Victor volunteered to take him home and get him to the airport the next day. And that's where we parted. I gather Victor's wife and the kids enjoyed having that cute li'l wolf-boy to themselves for a day.

So that was our Twilight adventure. We got to see the Twilight phenomenon up close and personal from the Indian's-eye perspective. It's hard to imagine lovesick girls fans going ga-ga over Twilight until you see it.

To me it reinforced the point I've been making all along: that Indians should be involved in books or movies about Indians. Twilight is a huge opportunity to spread the message that Indians are modern-day people who star in movies. And not a vanishing breed found only on signs and postcards.

For more on the subject, see Quileute Werewolves in Twilight.

"Indian dog" disturbs Indians

Some disturbed by terms for dog

Some Native Americans offended by description of dog that attacked baby

By Karla Ward
Charles Huddleston of Sadieville, vice president of the Kentucky Native American Indian Council of the Bluegrass, said using the term "Native American Indian dog" is "demeaning" and "a slap in the face to all the Native American Indians anywhere."

"There is no such creature," he said. "There may be a Native American dog. When you add the word 'Indian' to it, that denotes a person. ... The dog itself would not be an Indian."

He said using the term to describe a dog gives people "a negative feeling as far as Native American Indians."

"People have been treated like dogs," he said.

The description of the dog had already generated controversy.

Michael Smith, A.J.'s father, has described the pet, Dakota, as a "Native American Indian" breed and said the dog's grandparents were "90 percent wolf."

Internet searches produce numerous references to "Native American Indian dogs," but their status is murky. The American Kennel Club and United Kennel Club do not recognize the breed.

Helen Danser of Tyner, who chairs the Kentucky Native American Heritage Commission, said she took the term "Native American Indian dog" as "descriptors of the fact that that would be a dog that a Native American Indian would have."
Comment:  We don't know if the breeder gave Michael Smith accurate information when he sold him the dog. But let's suppose he did. If Dakota's grandparents are 90% wolf, I don't think you can say Dakota is a separate breed. A breed has to be bred for generations so the dogs share the same physical and genetic traits. Dakota sounds like a wolf hybrid, not a distinct breed.

Huddleston's comments are somewhat odd considering 1) Kentucky doesn't have any recognized tribes, and 2) few people use the redundant term "Native American Indian." But he has a point. It's a bit disconcerting to talk about Indian dogs as if there's a one-to-one correspondence between a breed of dog and a breed of human. I don't think we'd accept a "Negro dog" or an "Oriental dog," so why an Indian dog?

As noted in A History of Indian Dogs, Indians had several breeds of dogs that disappeared with the arrival of European dogs. So the "Native American Indian dog" only serves to perpetuate stereotypes. Namely, the idea of a single Native culture with savage Indian warriors and their savage, wolf-like companions.

For more on the subject, see Indian Dog Steals Baby.

Below:  A typical Indian and wolf-dog stereotype.

Buchanan's intellectual dishonesty

A good response to Pat Buchanan's claims in Buchanan:  US "Built by White Folks":

The intellectual dishonesty of Pat BuchananBuchanan claimed: White men were 100% of people who died at Gettysburg and Vicksburg

In the strictest sense, this claim is not true--at least one black solider was killed at Gettysburg. But even though the claim is nearly true, it's intellectually dishonest to claim that it is relevant.

The implicit argument offered by Buchanan is that African-Americans sat on the sidelines during the Civil War. The reality, however, is that by the end of the war, 10% of the Union army was black.

Buchanan claimed: White men were close to 100% of the people who died at Normandy

As the above picture shows, Buchanan's claim is wrong. Not only did 2,000 African-Americans storm the beaches of Normandy, but 1.2 million blacks served in World War II. Moreover, it's important to remember that during this time, black soldiers were segregated from white. So even if Buchanan's claim were true, the reason would have been traceable to institutionalized racism, not the moral superiority of white people.

Buchanan claimed: This has been a country built, basically, by white folks

Buchanan primarily based this assertion on the above two claims plus the obviously true claim that the authors of the Constitution and the signers of the Declaration of Independence were white men.

Aside from the intellectual dishonesty of his military claims, Buchanan ignores the massive contributions of non-whites to America's development. He offers no recognition to the slaves whose labor was essential for such a long period of time and he fails to address contributions made by other immigrant groups such as Chinese-Americans who helped build the rail system, or Latinos who are an important part of the agricultural economy today.
Comment:  Taking down conservative racists like Buchanan is like shooting fish in a refrigerator, obviously. In other words, much easier than shooting fish in a barrel.

Perhaps the more interesting question is what to do about crazy Uncle Pat? Should we protest or boycott MSNBC for giving this bigot a platform to spew his white supremacist rubbish? Or should we accept his presence because he represents the tip of the racist iceberg and it's important to know what today's conservatives are "thinking"?

I'd go for whichever approach would lessen the racism in this country. Lacking evidence on which way is best, I tend to agree with the commenter who said:[I]f she has Pat Buchanan on again, he should be balanced out more with another guest...a street fighter type of arguer who’s prepared to get down and dirty and can dial up the response more towards the “I’ll kick your ass” level.Yep, I'd say conservatives need to get their asses kicked on racial issues again and again until they're whipped like curs. This probably won't change their views, but at least they'll be afraid to parade them in public. They'll stay in their hidey-holes with their fellow Klansmen, neo-Nazis, and Christian patriots and leave the rest of us alone.

For more on the subject, see Teabaggers Support Racial Imagery and Racist "Jokes" Are No Jokes.