August 31, 2010

Conservative bigotry against Islam

Newsweek Poll:  Republicans Think Obama 'Probably' Wants To Impose Islamic Law

By Eric KleefeldThe poll asked: "Some people have alleged that Barack Obama sympathizes with the goals of Islamic fundamentalists who want to impose Islamic law around the world. From what you know about Obama, what is your opinion of these allegations?"

The top-line result was definitely true 7%, probably true 24%, probably not true 36%, and definitely not true 25%. Among Republicans, however, it was definitely true 14%, probably true 38%, probably not true 33%, and definitely not true 7%.
Grand Old Islamophobes?  Polls Show Widespread Republican Concerns Over Muslims--And Obama

By Evan McMorris-SantoroNearly a fifth of the population made the incorrect assumption about Obama's faith, a sizable increase from the months after Obama was inaugurated. Among Republicans, the number was far higher. Thirty-one percent said Obama was a Muslim, and 39% said they didn't know what religion Obama practices.

Only 27% made the right choice and said Obama is a Christian. Twenty-seven percent is usually the kind of number associated with a fringe element. So what's the takeaway from Pew? Mainstream Republicans--the ones who make up the bulk of the party--at best doubt Obama's faith and at worst are completely wrong about it.

And to be a Muslim is not a good thing in the eyes of the Republican mainstream. More than 60% of Republicans surveyed by CBS last month had an unfavorable view of the faith, compared with 25% of Democrats and 39% of the total sample.

So the takeaway is this: a large chunk of Republicans think Obama is a Muslim, and more Republicans than not would say that being a Muslim is probably not a great character trait.
Tea Party Reveals Real Reason Behind Mosque Opposition Frenzy

By Ahmed RehabLeaders of astroturf groups opposing the Not-At-Ground-Zero-Muslim-Center can't seem to decide on an argument. They have thrown everything and the kitchen sink at us in the way of fabricated reasons.

First, they tried the "legal" route. When it became apparent that American Muslims had a constitutionally guaranteed right to religious, cultural, and communal services in lower Manhattan just like everyone else, they invoked the "sensitivity to the 9/11 families" line.

When it was argued that there is nothing insensitive about Muslims with no connection to 9/11 establishing a center two blocks away (unless you assume collective guilt), and that Muslims died in the Twin Towers, too, they tried to smear the center's imam as a radical.
And:It seems that they just can't decide on the public strategy to keep Park51 from taking its rightful place among Manhattan's blossoming diversity.

Privately, however, there seems to be little such confusion. The reasons there are given clearly, and it turns out it is precisely what many of us have argued all along: opposition organizers are motivated by an ideological belief that "Islam is evil and must be stopped; America is Judeo-Christian."

That's it.

That is the undisguised rallying cry on the private email listservs, the blogs, and the viral youtube videos administered by the right-wing oppositional leadership. On the prime time networks, they openly lie to the American people about harboring an anti-Muslim agenda, perhaps wishing to avoid being exposed for their religious intolerance.
California Tea Party Group Anti-Islam Event on August 16The August 16 "threat of Islam" California Tea Party event is also promoted on other Tea Party websites, as well as promoted on Facebook, which lists the planned attendees.

On July 30, 2010, in Temecula, California, a group called the Southwest Riverside County (SWRC) Tea Party Citizens in Action had a protest outside of a warehouse facility currently being used by the Islamic Center of Temecula Valley. The Islamic Center is seeking to build a mosque on property that it purchased in 2005, so that it can move out of its temporary facilities. The Southwest Riverside County (SWRC) Tea Party Citizens in Action, other California Tea Party activists, and other protesters held a protest during the Friday Muslim worship services with bullhorns calling for "no more mosques in America," and telling worshipers to "go back home," "we don't want you here."
Comment:  The majority of Republicans think Obama definitely or probably will impose sharia despite zero evidence of it. In other words, the majority of Republicans are bigots.

What does Islam have to do with the Tea Party's alleged goal of reducing the size of government? Absolutely nothing--which tells you that reducing the size of government isn't their goal.

If there was any doubt about the Republican/conservative/teabagger prejudice against Islam, these postings should end it. When people tell you they're concerned about sensitivity to 9/11 victims, there's a good chance they're lying. What they're really concerned about is devil-worshiping brown-skins taking America from them, the God-fearing white patriots who own it.

Comment:  For more on Islamophobia, see White Christians Say What's Sacred and Muslim "Tribes" = Indian Tribes?! For more on what conservatives think, see Conservative Rallies = White Self-Pity and Tea Party Believes in Taking.

Below:  Conservatives express themselves with bigoted imagery.

Conservative rallies = white self-pity

White Fright

Glenn Beck's rally was large, vague, moist, and undirected—the Waterworld of white self-pity.

By Christopher Hitchens
[I]t is really quite rare to hear slurs against President Barack Obama that are based purely on the color of his skin. Even Beck himself has tried to back away from the smears of that kind that he has spread in the past. But it is increasingly common to hear allegations that Obama is either foreign-born or a Muslim. And these insinuations are perfectly emblematic of the two main fears of the old majority: that it will be submerged by an influx from beyond the borders and that it will be challenged in its traditional ways and faiths by an alien and largely Third World religion.

This summer, then, has been the perfect register of the new anxiety, beginning with the fracas over Arizona's immigration law, gaining in intensity with the proposal by some Republicans to amend the 14th Amendment so as to de-naturalize "anchor babies," cresting with the continuing row over the so-called "Ground Zero" mosque, and culminating, at least symbolically, with a quasi-educated Mormon broadcaster calling for a Christian religious revival from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
And:The Washington Post quoted Linda Adams, a Beck supporter from Colorado, who said, "We want our country to get back to its original roots," adding that "her ancestors were on the Mayflower and fought in the American Revolution." She was also upset that some schools no longer require students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Well, the U.S. population is simply not going to be replenished by Puritan pilgrims from England, and the original Pledge of Allegiance was fine with most people as a statement of national unity, until its "original intent" was compromised by a late insertion of the words "under God" in the McCarthyite 1950s. But one still sees what she means and can feel sympathy with the pulse of nostalgia.

In a rather curious and confused way, some white people are starting almost to think like a minority, even like a persecuted one. What does it take to believe that Christianity is an endangered religion in America or that the name of Jesus is insufficiently spoken or appreciated? Who wakes up believing that there is no appreciation for our veterans and our armed forces and that without a noisy speech from Sarah Palin, their sacrifice would be scorned? It's not unfair to say that such grievances are purely and simply imaginary, which in turn leads one to ask what the real ones can be. The clue, surely, is furnished by the remainder of the speeches, which deny racial feeling so monotonously and vehemently as to draw attention.
Comment:  "Taking back the country" and "getting back to our roots" mean the same thing: "Put the uppity blacks, Latinos, gays, and Muslims in their place. America is a white Christian nation and the devil-worshiping brown-skins are threatening it."

This is completely related to the subjects I keep harping on--e.g., our love of Indian mascots and other Native stereotypes and our fetishization of holidays such as Thanksgiving and Columbus Day. It's all about asserting that white Christians founded, built, and own America.

For more on the subject, see Tea Party Believes in Taking and Angry White Christians Want Country Back.

White Christians say what's sacred

In Monuments and Mosques:  A Debate Over What's Sacred (An American Indian's Perspective), Simon Moya-Smith notes that white Christians built Mt. Rushmore and Denver International Airport on sacred Indian grounds. His conclusion:Christians obviously feel they have the constitutional right to build what they want, where they want, when they want. I find it most hypocritical that the same Christians who are for building edifices on sacred Indian sites are the very same voices of opposition regarding the erection of a Muslim mosque near Ground Zero.

So I present the obvious: Why not build a mosque near the hallowed grounds of the WTC? American Indian holy sites are desecrated by Christians all the time.
Comment:  The common denominator is that white Christians get to tell us what is and isn't sacred. Mt. Rushmore, Denver International Airport, and every other Indian site? Not sacred. Ground Zero? Sacred.

This is a subset of the white privilege and power that most whites are oblivious to--except when they feel threatened. Who decides which Indian treaties and rights are still valid? Which people are made into sports mascots or cast in Native movies? Which stereotypes are socially unacceptable and which are okay? White Christian Euro-Americans, the same people who have dominated and controlled the land for almost 400 years.

For more on our prejudice against Indians, see Muslim "Tribes" = Indian Tribes?! and Yesterday's Cherokees = Today's Muslims. For more on the subject in general, see Conservative Rallies = White Self-Pity and Tea Party Believes in Taking.

Below:  Because it's about white people, sacred:

Because it's about Indians, not sacred:

Hayden Christensen in Wendigo movie

Hayden Christensen Fears The ColdMovies about Wendigos are quickly becoming as bountiful as Bigfoot flicks. Every time we turn around, there seems to be another film detailing the exploits of this American Indian spook tale of a flesh-eating creature. The difference here with this latest film? It stars Darth friggin' Vader!

Well, not, Vader proper, but word has come in that star Hayden Christensen (Vanishing on 7st Street, those really bad Star Wars prequels) is set to replace Jesse Bradford in upcoming supernatural thriller The Cold.

Director Daniel Calparsoro (who was once attached to direct Ghost House's Burst 3D, which has since been slated for Neil Marshall) is getting set to spin the tale of what happens when seven friends go on an annual hunting trip and soon realize that the only thing being hunted are themselves. They are terrorized by an unseen beast--but what is stalking them? Is it the cold, starvation, or has the Wendigo come to hunt them down?
Comment:  The poster says The Cold is "from the producers of the award winning Frozen River." Hmm. Are they doing another Native-themed movie because of their affinity for Native subjects? And another "frozen" movie because of their experience filming in the cold?

In any case, this must be the 10th or 15th Wendigo project I've heard of. The idea is no longer original if it ever was, people. It's become a moviemaking cliché. Give us an alien, a lab experiment gone awry, or a creature mutated by toxic waste...anything but another Wendigo.

For more on Wendigo projects, see Wendigo the Animated Series and Too Many Wendigos. For more on the subject in general, see Native Things that Go Bump in the Night.

New York wants to terminate Senecas

On the reservation, resentment

By Aaron BeseckerWhile two public, "peaceful" rallies are planned on the reservation this morning, tensions had been climbing, and the raw emotion has still shown its head.

The Senecas, who have been subjected to "continued aggression and encroachment from New York State," need to remain resilient, Tribal Council Member J.C. Seneca said Tuesday.

"I firmly believe that, like my father told me, the state government and the United States are not going to be happy until they eliminate us as a people. And this is the process of what they're trying to do," Seneca said.

"They want to terminate us and assimilate us into the white society," Seneca continued. "That's their goal, ultimate goal. And we're going to fight every inch of the way to stop them and to keep our culture and our traditions and our nation alive and well."

It's not just about the state attempting to collect taxes on cigarettes from non-Indians. Seneca frustration stems from generations of broken treaties, leased-land disputes and claims of eminent domain by the state, said Robert Odawi Porter, a Seneca Nation lawyer who is running for president of the nation.

"Really it goes back to the very beginning," Porter said. "The state and its officials have engaged in nothing but predatory conduct. It's just been one continued episode of theft and efforts to terminate us."
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Paterson Criticizes Bloomberg's Remarks and Indians Rally Against Bloomberg.

Below:  "Alexia Craft, foreground, and Shinny Clause of Tuscarora Reservation are among protesters along Route 31 in Sanborn as Native Americans affirm their opposition to the state's attempt to tax cigarettes sold to non-Indians." (Harry Scull Jr./Buffalo News)

Frybread Queen at University of Montana

Arigon Starr starring in 'The Frybread Queen' at University of MontanaThe Autry National Center, the School of Theatre & Dance, and the Montana Repertory Theatre are proud to present the newest production from Native Voices at the Autry on the UM-Missoula campus. Native Voices at the Autry is America’s leading Native American theater company.

The Frybread Queen, by Carolyn Dunn (Muskogee Creek), is the winner of the nationwide Native Voices development competition held each year at the Autry and is the first to be mounted in collaboration with The University of Montana and Montana Rep. It is the spirited story of three generations of Navajo women bound by marriage and family ties. They come together to Lake Powell for the funeral of a beloved son, and in their grief, they confront long-simmering tensions and family secrets that threaten to tear them apart.

The Frybread Queen will be mounted in the Masquer Theater on The University of Montana campus September 16-19, and 23-26, starring professional stage actors Jane Lind and Arigon Starr, The University of Montana and Montana Rep alumnus Lily Gladstone, and current UM student Tiffany Meiwald.
Comment:  For more on The Frybread Queen, see Developing The Frybread Queen and All About Carolyn Dunn. For more on the subject in general, see Native Plays and Other Stage Shows.

Native TV show canceled after 30 years

Native TV show ends 30-year run

By Christina Good VoiceThe longest running Indian public affairs television program in the United States airs for the last time Sept. 5.

“Inside Native America,” the Native American current events show that airs on CBS affiliate KOTV Channel 6 in Tulsa, was cancelled in the spring.

The show is hosted by Muscogee (Creek) citizen George Tiger, a well-known public figure who has been in the media industry for more than three decades.

“I was told back in March that the networks were asking more time from its affiliates and since basically “Inside Native America was the only show of its kind in the Tulsa market, they made the decision to cancel my show,” Tiger said.
Comment:  For more on Native news programs, see San Manuel Launches TV Channel and 4th Season for Native Report. For more on the subject in general, see Native Documentaries and News.

August 30, 2010

Sports logos = US coins?

Native Americans are on coins; why not logos?

By Charles E. BalleineIf Kewaunee cannot use the image of a "Native American" in our gym, why can the U.S. Government issue coinage in honor of Native Americans?

My tax dollars will be paid this year to the district in $1 U.S. coins, since the federal government is proud of what the Native American stands for. I hope the district won't be too worried about having all those Indian images present when thousands of coins are delivered.
Comment: This is a superficially plausible argument, but it falls apart when you think about it. Here's why:

1) US coins, like monuments and murals, are meant to honor people of the past. In fact, a law says no living people may appear on our currency.

Coins put Indians in the same category as US presidents and statesmen. They recognize Indians as leaders and visionaries. There's (usually) no implied message that Indians are "savages" or warriors today.

In contrast, sports logos exist precisely to link today's teams with yesterday's Indians. The message of a typical logo is:We honor Indians of the past because they were savage warriors. We want to be just as savage and warlike as they were.

Alas, they're gone now or no longer have the warlike qualities we admire. We prefer to remember them the way they were, when they weren't lazy drunks or greedy welfare cheats.

In short, past Indians good; present Indians bad or irrelevant.
2) Look at the Indians we've actually honored on our coins. The female figure of Liberty in a headdress. The dignified Indian on the buffalo nickel. And Sacagawea the girl guide.

Only the buffalo nickel's Indian remotely resembles a warrior...but he isn't one. He doesn't carry weapons and there's nothing to suggest he's warlike or savage. For all we know, he might be history's greatest diplomat and peacemaker, not a fighter or a killer.

Balleine specifically points to the $1 coin as a model for a sports logo. Really, that's your argument? Okay, put Sacagawea on your logo. Rename your team the Girl Guides. Eliminate all your brave, noble euphemisms for savagery and tout your football team's feminine side instead. Then you can use a logo like the $1 coin.

Indians still would protest being used in this way, but I don't think they'd protest as vociferously. That's because the main thing they're protesting is being portrayed as one-dimensional warriors of the past. The Sacagawea coin contradicts this stereotype while the typical sports logo reinforces it.


For more on the subject, see my previous postings on US currency.

Below:  Which ones are the savage warriors? (This may be a tough challenge for someone like Balleine.)

Jance's Tohono O'odham mysteries

Mystery writer J.A. Jance has written a series of Native mysteries that I haven't read. Here's the first one:

Hour of the HunterFrom Publishers Weekly

Drawing on Native American life and lore as it describes the hunt for the killer of a Papago Indian girl, Jance's contemporary novel delivers suspense through rich layers of flashbacks and gritty characterization.

From Kirkus Reviews

A hodgepodge hardcover debut in which two Native American medicine men, an Arizona lawman, a young widow and her son, and a Papago basket-weaver/wise woman are inexorably drawn into confrontation with the evil ohb. ... Disconcerting time shifts and a plethora of Papago parables (can anyone outdo Tony Hillerman?) fail to disguise the fact that this is nothing more than potboiler melodrama, with the hapless reader bombarded first by the lurid, then by the mystical.
And the most recent one:

Books:  Queen of page turners

By Kimberly NicolettiHer latest novel, “Queen of the Night,” is the fourth in the Walker family series, but even if you've never heard of the Walkers, Jance's multilayered book will capture you from the minute you start reading the prologue, packed with a Native American legend, and secrets and murders that span decades.And:Tension continues throughout the book as the crimes unravel and threaten familial relationships. Perhaps her stories are so riveting and convincing because she spent several years living on a reservation near Tucson, and while she was there, she and her first husband became targets of a serial killer. Luckily, police caught him before he struck.

Tony Hillerman fans are well advised to delve into Jance's novels, if they haven't already. She crafts stories based on a foundation of Native American culture and delivers them to a modern and complex world. In fact, she dedicates “Queen of the Night” to Hillerman.
Mystery novelist J.A. Jance to visit Flagstaff

By Seth MullerQ:  Speaking of which, you use mythology and characters of the Tohono O'odham (toe-ho-no ode-ham) in "Queen of the Night." What inspired you to explore this culture and use it in the story?

A:  I spent five years as a K-12 librarian on the reservation. The stories I told of the storyteller. The things about legends and myths is that they apply across all cultures and backgrounds. In "Hour of the Hunter," I was writing the story of a woman who wanted to be a writer so much she was neglecting her children. Once I decided to weave myths and legends into the background of the books, I found those connections. Of all of my books, the first Walker book, "Hour of the Hunter," is my own personal favorite.

Starred Review

Jance's masterful handling of a complex cast of characters makes it easy for the reader to appreciate the intricate web of relationships that bind them across generations. The title refers to the night-blooming Cereus, a desert plant that blooms once a year and is of great symbolic importance to the Tohono. Jance, perhaps best known for her J.P. Beaumont series ("Fire and Ice," etc.), has crafted a mystery that Hillerman would be proud of and that her fans will love.

From Booklist

Tohono O'odham tales and culture, which permeate the book (reminiscent of Tony Hillerman), and the flower of the title, the beautiful and aromatic cereus, which blooms in the desert just one night each year, add appeal, but the awkward backstory gimmick and the lack of much narrative pulse make this a somewhat tepid entry from a best-selling author.
Comment:  Wow, Jance's mysteries are getting some mixed reviews. These are the kind of books I'd pick up if I found them at the library, but I wouldn't go out of my way to get.

For more on the subject, see Tohono O'odham Taught Sherlock Holmes and The Best Indian Books.

Dreamcatchers lose cultural significance

Are Dream Catchers Losing the Native Tradition?When Millie Benjamin was growing up, she spent her nights sleeping under a dream catcher, a traditional Indian object believed to ward off nightmares.

Benjamin drew comfort from her dream catcher. These days, though, she shakes her head to see them worn as earrings, hanging from car windshields and even sold as key chains in convenience stores.

"It has gotten out of hand. It's disrespectful for our people. It means something to us, it's a tradition," said Benjamin, a member of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe.
And:According to Indian tradition, dream catchers should resemble a spider web and are to be placed above a baby's cradle. The web filters out nightmares, allowing only good dreams to pass through to the sleeping child below.

A dream catcher is supposed to be made in intricate, ceremonial steps that include giving thanks for the spirit of the wood used in it. Those steps fall by the wayside when a person buys a make-it-yourself kit from a discount store, says Gerald White, a member of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe.

"The dream catcher, to us, is a sacred item," White said. "It's lost a lot of meaning, even in our own tribe. It's like losing our language, our culture--another symptom of a larger thing."
Comment:  On the one hand, I'm concerned about the harm of cultural appropriation. When dreamcatchers are used as earrings and keychains, they lose their cultural significance. It would be like using the Christian cross or the Star of David as earrings--something we might discourage but not forbid.

On the other hand, I question labeling everything attached to a Native belief "sacred." Is every bell, book, and candle in a Christian church sacred? I don't think so.

Native artists make kachina dolls, sand paintings, and totem poles as well as dreamcatchers for sale. Are these objects sacred if they're made to be sold? Can a sacred object become non-sacred in a secular context?

For more on the subject, see Dreamcatcher = Healing at Stanford and Dreamcatchers for Jill Biden.

40th anniversary of Mt. Rushmore occupation

A commemoration of the events on August 29, 1970:

Native Americans mark 40th anniversary of reclaiming Mount Rushmore

By Jason TarrIt is the survival of what he and other civil rights leaders say are years of lies and broken promises. That's why Native Americans celebrate the 40th anniversary of the reclaiming of Mount Rushmore.

On this day in 1970, 23 Native Americans occupied the monument, some of them setting up camp for three months on top of the mountain. More than a century ago, the U.S. government set aside the Black Hills for the Sioux Tribe through the signing of the Fort Laramie Treaty. But, that land was taken by miners just about a decade later when gold was discovered there.
And:The last time the Supreme Court took up the issue was in 1980. The high court ruled that the Black Hills were illegally taken and that restitution should be paid. The Lakota refused the settlement.

"The total consensus of the Sioux nation is we will never accept money for our sacred sites. We will never accept money for our burial sites," said Quanah Parker Brightman, Vice President of United Native Americans.
Comment:  Someone posted a perhaps inevitable "get over it" comment. That's pretty funny coming from the culture that fetishizes Columbus Day, Thanksgiving, July 4th, the Founding Fathers, the Civil War, World War II, etc. Get over your own self-glorifications before you criticize other people for doing the same thing.

For more on Mt. Rushmore protests, see Indians Accosted Near Mt. Rushmore and Greenpeace Spotlights South Dakota. For more on Mt Rushmore in general, see Reactions to Natives at Mt. Rushmore and Baker to Become Parks' Tribal Representative.

The Dude in a Cowichan cardigan

The Big Lebowski:  Jeff Bridges Chills in a Cowichan CardiganOf all the mismatched, gaudily patterned and coloured attire Jeff Bridges as ‘The Dude’ wears in The Big Lebowski (1998, directed by the Coen Brothers), that ubiquitous Cowichan-type cardigan sums up his character best of all. Threadbare, scruffy and in need of a good wash, the pair sure do go well together.What it signifies:Born out of the West Coast of America, specifically San Francisco, in around 1965, in sartorial terms alone the hippie craze was part of an anti-fashion explosion sweeping across the world at the time. It was another way to thumb one’s nose to the establishment, or perhaps more customarily ‘The Man’.

In the sixties there was as emergent back-to-nature feeling in response to increasing global capitalism, mainly spurred on by youth. Knitwear was more popular in the sixties than any other decade since World War I. Indigenous clothing, such as Cowichan, expressed affinity for Mother Earth.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Genuine Cowichan Sweaters in Store and Hudson Bay Company Invented Cowichan Sweaters?!

August 29, 2010

Tea Party believes in taking

A good summary of the Native position on the Tea Party movement:

Tea party cry ironic given history of ancestors

By Elizabeth Cook-LynnThe theory is that anyone coming here since 1900 is not eligible. When White Europeans made up the census of newcomers, when Africans were considered barely surviving slave populations, and indigenous peoples were thought to be inferior and vanishing, it was a world, then, the settlers said, for the "taking."

Today, it is about the need of America to see itself as an all-white majority regime. It is about losing the white-only power maintained for 200 years.

It's about a black president in a white-power country. Tea partiers expect Barack Obama to "show his papers" (birth certificate) in public over and over again because he is a black man who they believe has no right to the presidency.

It is about segregating Indians in 1880, and African slaves in 1860, and "taking" whatever white power has wanted.

Today, it is about despising the notion that America might like to envision itself in the coming centuries as a socialist democracy with real equality for everyone, rather than equality for a few in a continuing thuggish, capitalistic democracy.

Most of all, it is about race and skin color.

Sadly, the tea party gives us the narrative of the offspring of the early immigrants who are coming to the sad conclusion that they can no longer "take" the land and the resources as their forebears did. But their belief that they are entitled to do so is a strong belief in the idea that any worthwhile history in this country is their history.

To "take back America," the cry of the tea bag party, means what it has always meant to early settlers: that they have the right to take America.
Comment:  Yep, Ms. Cook-Lynn has nailed it. We didn't hear one word from these people about taking about America until we elected Obama. Are we seriously supposed to believe the country has gone wrong since Obama took office in 2009? The Bush wars, deficits, and recession continue at roughly the same levels, so what's the big change?

Oh, yeah...a black president is signing legislation that may hurt rich white people (financial regulation) and help poor brown people (healthcare reform). We can't have that. Let's take back the country...from the blacks, Latinos, gays, atheists, and others who are trying to take it from us.

For more on the subject, see Angry White Christians Want Country Back and White Conservatives "Angry About Racism."

Chief Manuelito exhibit

'A sense of pride'

Chief Manuelito exhibit opens at Navajo Nation Museum

By Cindy Yurth
He's easily the Navajo Tribe's most famous leader, and yet no in-depth exhibit on his life has ever been undertaken.

Until now.

Friday, Aug. 27, the Navajo Nation Museum opened "The Chief Manuelito Exhibit," a look at Manuelito and other early leaders of the Diné.
Below:  "An oil painting of Chief Manuelito, created by Stephen Jackson, is part of an exhibit at the Navajo Nation Museum. It opens Friday." (Stacy Thacker)

Nooksacks rap about rising above

Nooksack grad raps positive messages for American Indians

By Dean KahnKurtis Kelly's life took a new and better direction once he heard Savage Family.

That's the music group--a collective movement, really--that uses hip-hop and other art forms to express the challenges, heritage and pride of American Indians.

"Their CD changed our lives" Kelly said, referring to himself and his rap-music partner Sindick Bura, a cousin.

The two 18-year-olds have released two CDs and four music videos about alcoholism, suicide, excessive gambling and other problems facing American Indians, and the need to transcend them. The chorus of one of their songs, "Rize Above," calls for a better life:

Our existence is so sacred so I tell this to my Natives

Don't let the sickness get you, don't let the sickness take it

We can rise above from the drugs and spread the love

Instead of the sickness we choose to rise above ....
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Algonquin Rapper Rocks China and Litefoot Dispels Stereotypes.

Litefoot's four 2010 releases

Litefoot expands brand, shares his life

By Babette HerrmannNot one to stay in a comfort zone, he has four big release dates starting on his birthday, Sept. 11, with the release of his first, self-published memoir, “The Medicine of Prayer.” It chronicles his childhood, music and acting career, family life, and his all-encompassing entrepreneurial spirit.

This October, the abORIGINALFOOT wear line, will be released for sale on Litefoot’s Web site and at retailers nationwide.

The Cherokee rapper merges Native vocals and musical stylings with his brand of hip hop. His 11th album “The Testament,” slated for release Nov. 11, features 11 new tracks and 20 previously released, re-mastered “Conscious Cutz.”

Dec. 11 marks the release of his first box set, “The Lite Years,” a library of all 11 albums.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Litefoot's Sneakers for Diabetics and Litefoot's Product Lines.

Young Navajo fashion designer

Victorialyn McCarthy:  A knack for fashion

By Jacelle Ramon-SauberanMcCarthy’s grandmother Nellie taught her how to sew. She said her grandmother studied fashion in college and was a home economics teacher. Growing up McCarthy would sew pow wow outfits, doll clothes, little things for herself and crazy outfits for her 13-year-old sister Miranda Giger.

After working at the dry cleaners for six months McCarthy started doing alterations on her own clothes and other peoples.

“People started asking about my outfits and my weird shoe laces on my shoes at school,” she said. “Then in public more people started asking me so I started networking and hanging up fliers.”

In 2009, McCarthy participated in Scottsdale Fashion in Scottsdale, Ariz., and was a semi-finalist in the Designer of the Year competition. This year she will be participating in Phoenix Fashion Week taking place Oct. 7-9 in Phoenix, Ariz.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Clauschee Mentors Young Designers and Un3ek Sy5tem at the Heard.

Ferries named for Native places

Indigenous names for state’s two newest ferries

By Richard WalkerTwo 64-car state ferries to be launched in 2011 will be named the “Salish” and the “Kennewick.” The State Transportation Commission selected the names July 13.

“Salish” is expected to be launched in spring 2011; “Kennewick” is expected to be launched in summer 2011, according to Washington State Ferries.

“Salish” refers to the Coast Salish people of the region, and is also the geographical name of the inland sea comprised of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the Strait of Georgia, and Puget Sound. “Kennewick” means “grassy place” and “grassy slope” and comes from the name Kin-i-wak, the commission website states. Kennewick was the gathering place for the Cayuse, Chemnapum, Nez Perce, Umatilla, Walla Walla, Wanapam and Yakama.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Ferries Won't Be Named for Indians and Name Ferry for S'Klallam Chief.

Kissed by Lightning trailer

Comment:  Something about this film--perhaps the subject matter, dialogue, or acting--doesn't appeal to me at all. Sorry!

For more on the subject, see Preview of Kissed by Lightning and The Best Indian Movies.

August 28, 2010

Educating Cooke about confirmation bias

A few weeks ago I posted this link on Facebook to illustrate the scary stupidity of some conservatives:

Conservapedia:  E=mc2 Is A Liberal Conspiracy

This led to the usual wasteful debate with critic Michael Cooke:Conservapedia is a very practical and beneficial illustration of confirmation bias and the error of crediting education alone with being meritorious. Because if you are wrong, and pursue education in such a way as to only confirm the wrong thing you already believe, what have you achieved? And while this may seem clear when speaking of creationists or crazy fringe conservatives--if you left higher education with the same liberal beliefs you entered with, I may agree that you're right, but I can't say you learned more than the conservative did.Actually, my college education deepened and strengthened my nascent opinions from high school. And if I had doubts about e=mc2, I'd check it with multiple sources. As I do with most things, which is more than you can say.Rob, do you doubt education failed to deepen and strengthen the nascent opinions from high school, harboured by Conservatives? Do you know what confirmation bias is? Or is the concept just too sophisticated, you can't reach that small a step?

Confirmation bias is how we both can check multiple sources and still disagree. Because any question we come to with the baggage of an existing opinion, it colors who we respect as an authority and what we accept or ignore from what they have to say. Everyone does this, even scientists--but only scientists have the discipline of scientific method to control their conformation bias.
How many times are you gonna ask if I know what confirmation bias is, dumbo? Didn't you read my answers the last ten times you asked the question? How many times do I have to explain that I know what it is and knew it when you were in junior high school? Learn to read, you freakin' nitwit.

Conservative students tend to major in such subjects as business and engineering. These don't give them any insight into the issues I usually discuss: politics, culture, race, Native Americans. So in, they don't deepen and strengthen their knowledge of these subjects in college.

I provide the evidence from the sources I've checked. You don't. As far as I can tell, all you check is your own addled opinions. Next time you "check multiple sources"--I mean, other than the voices in your head--prove it by citing and quoting them. Put up or shut up.

Confirmation bias affects everyone...equally?There is no debate about confirmation bias, it's what's so. To presume there is, that to speak of it I must cite multiple sources, is to demonstrate you do NOT understand what it is in the first place. Because confirmation bias impacts everyone and you need it to just impact people you disagree with before you can accept it.

To tell me your education failed to give you any new or different opinion from what you had as a teen, and to tell me this demonstrates how you are not subject to confirmation bias--it further demonstrates you do not understand what it is. As in, not understanding at all.

Rob, you are right that conservatives are not likely to take courses in subjects that posit points of view they do not believe to be legitimate. How is it you fail to recognize confirmation bias in the heart of that? In the heart of YOUR failure to pursue an MBA degree? How many MBA's minor in civil rights studies? Really some do, and they often have opinions that change from high school to College, because they actually learned something new instead of being a creationist or a liberal that simply found better ways to prove what they believed already.

And how stupid is it to go into lifelong debt to learn what you can learn simply by not being racist and having relationships with people of color?
Naturally, you ducked the charge that you've asked me about confirmation bias many times already. Because you're an intellectual coward, I presume. The next time you ask me if I know what confirmation bias is, I'm going to delete your worthless comment. I'm not spending another second on your time-wasting repetitions. If you're literally too stupid to remember our previous conversations, I'm not.

I'm not debating the existence of confirmation bias, Mikey. I'm telling you it's a variable, not a constant. Big, big difference.

Your asinine insistence that no education is equal to any education is evidence that you don't understand what confirmation bias is. It's a psychological tendency, dumbo, with different strengths in different people. It's not an immutable fact of nature that affects everyone the same like gravity. Judging by your ignorance about stereotypes, it "colors" your uneducated opinions a lot more than my educated ones.

Incredibly, you think confirmation bias makes it impossible to learn anything by studying or searching for information. In other words, you're using an impressive word to justify your continued ignorance about everything we talk about. Did you mommy or daddy tell you to bray "confirmation bias" whenever you were too dumb or lazy to look something up? You use the excuse so often that I suspect that's the case.

Education alleviates confirmation bias

I recognize the confirmation bias in the typical conservative education of business or engineering. Fortunately, a liberal arts education like mine exists precisely to teach students critical thinking. To force them to weigh conflicting ideas and come to their own conclusions. That's what I did when I read the works of philosophers, theologians, historians, and political scientists whom I didn't agree with. It's called education, Mikey--a concept you still haven't proved you understand.

Your belief that an education must change someone's beliefs is more evidence that you don't understand confirmation bias. If I have factual knowledge about something--e.g., math or science--more education won't necessarily change my mind. For instance, a mathematical formula either is or isn't correct. It's not a subjective belief and there's no bias involved.

Since I have an MBA as well as a BA and MA, I don't know what failure you're talking about. Unless you count a "C" in accounting, I didn't fail at anything in my 20 years of formal education (kindergarten to grad school at the University of Chicago). Like many subjects, I know more about economics than you do, which is why I chuckle at some of your naive economic proposals.

Lifelong debts? You must be thinking of yourself, Mr. Unemployed. I paid off my school debts about 20 years ago. Including my condo, I'm worth six medium-sized figures. How about you?

If you're talking about yourself, you haven't learned anything about Native Americans. Not from your "relationships" or anything else. And I'm not convinced you're not a racist, either. Given your constant defense of racism and stereotyping, you might as well be one.

Why is this subject relevant to this blog? We see confirmation bias at work constantly when we debate political or cultural issues in general. And when we debate Native issues such as mascots in particular. If any mascot lovers have researched the history or practice of mascots, I haven't met them.

No, people like Cooke revel in their ignorance. Cooke thinks education is a "filter" the way Sarah Palin thinks the media is a filter. Any information going through the filter is biased and therefore incorrect. But uneducated opinions like theirs are unfiltered and therefore correct.

In other words, it's 1984 all over again. Ignorance is Knowledge. And Knowledge is Confirmation Bias. Nice trick if you can get away with it. Too bad you can't.

For more on Cooke's ignorance about education, see Educational Value of Blogging and Rob Should Fight Poverty?!

Below:  Typical Native stereotypes. Cooke "knows" these stereotypes aren't harmful because anything that proves they are harmful is just confirmation bias.

Glenn Beck:  racist or ignoramus?

Glenn Beck held a rally at the Lincoln Memorial Saturday to restore America's honor and take back the Civil Rights movement. You know, the movement created and led by progressives who would've denounced Beck's right-wing hate agenda. In response to Beck's plans, I posted the following comments on Facebook:So Glenn Beck is holding an event to restore the American honor destroyed by George W. Bush? Mighty big of him!

This should be pretty easy for Beck to diagram on his chalkboard:

Illegal invasion + WMD lies + civilian deaths + Abu Ghraib + torture + Guantanamo Bay + foreign renditions + suspension of habeas corpus => dishonor.

In contrast, what has Obama done that anyone would call "dishonorable"? Increased our troops in Afghanistan?

Oh, yeah...I think he bowed a little too deeply to someone. That's a major protocol offense comparable to launching two trillion-dollar wars that have killed hundreds of thousands.

If Martin Luther King Jr. were alive today, conservatives would be calling him a Kenyan Muslim Nazi socialist or the equivalent.

"We are a country of God," said Beck wrongly at his rally. "Which is why we oppose the Muslim president and the Ground Zero mosque," he might've added. "These people worship a false God, not the true God."
A conservative's idea of honor:

Beck's ignorance about Indians

Because of Beck's rally, people dredged up some of the stupid things he's said before, including this ignorant attack on Indians:

Beck:  S.D. Native Americans "have found something that can be more profitable than casinos, and that's abortion clinics"During the April 4 edition of his nationally syndicated radio program, Glenn Beck falsely accused Native Americans of wanting to open abortion clinics for profit on a reservation in South Dakota, where they could potentially be exempt from a recently passed South Dakota law banning nearly all abortions, except where the woman's life is at risk. ... Beck's remarks came in response to Cecilia Fire Thunder, president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, an opponent of the South Dakota abortion ban who recently expressed interest in opening an abortion clinic on the state's Pine Ridge Indian Reservation if the law goes into effect.Here are some direct quotes from Beck:Whatever happened to the Indians? You know, they were celebrating Mother Earth and Father Sky or whatever it is, and that was beautiful and special. Now, it's about gaming, alcohol, fireworks, and abortions. I mean, what happened to the proud Indian?

What fork in the road did Native Americans take? When did they decide, "Ah, crap, it's just not worth it any more. Why don't we turn our precious land into a place where we can build some slot machines?"

I mean, you know, I'm bringing this up not because I have, you know, huge opposition to keno--casinos and Indian trinket shops; don't get me wrong here. I bring it up because, you know, the Indians are using the whole "You took our land [sobbing]." I think they're taking that a little too far, don't you?

I mean--how good do you feel about giving away the sovereignty now? I mean, when I say we gave them sovereignty, I mean it's, you know, more in a way like, you know, we took their sovereignty and then loaned them a little bit of it back, but you know what I mean. I hope that contract isn't iron-clad--when are we gonna get out of that contract with the Indians?

But I mean, can you really set up anything you want now on these reservations? South Dakota really--they have their hands tied, you know? Otherwise, the Indians will have found something that can be more profitable than casinos, and that's abortion clinics. And then, look out, man--exploiting everything illegal for profit. That's what--I mean, is that what the Indians have turned into?
Yeah, Indians don't care about anything except gaming, alcohol, fireworks, and abortions now. Not religion, culture, education, jobs, or health. Just gambling, drinking, sex, and other forms of moral depravity. (I guess Beck has been reading the SCALPED comic book.)

Apparently Beck thinks abortion clinics and casinos are akin to meth labs and brothels. Of course, he didn't say anything about Bush's obtaining an abortion for a woman or McCain's frequently Indian casinos. It goes without saying that most right-wing mouthpieces are hypocrites.

So 560-plus tribes, 4.5 million people, have prostituted themselves because one tribe considered building an abortion clinic that Beck disapproves of? Yeah, and all Muslims are terrorists because of 9/11, and all Christians are baby-killers because of Wounded Knee. If this isn't racism, it's so stupidly ignorant that it might as well be.

Beck made these remarks in April 2006--soon before I started Newspaper Rock. He demonstrated his ignorance about Indians more recently in Reactions to Beck's Stupidity and Beck's Stupidity About Tribal Summit. It's not clear if he a bigot, a dumbass, or a disgusting opportunist. He may be all three.

For more on the subject in general, see The Facts About Indian Gaming and The Facts About Tribal Sovereignty.

Cher in a headdress

Here's more evidence that wearing a headdress to make a splash isn't a new or recent phenomenon:

Sonny and Cher, together againDec. 16, 1976: Sonny and Cher clasp hands playfully in their first joint concert appearance in three years. Their performance was part of the annual KHJ Christmas benefit at the Forum in Inglewood.

Comment:  People have questioned whether Cher is part Indian for decades. The last thing I recall seeing said she may be a tiny part Cherokee. But Wikipedia lists her mother as being Cherokee first, before English or French.

CherHer father, John Sarkisian, was an Armenian refugee who worked as a truck driver. Her mother, Georgia Holt (born Jackie Jean Crouch in Sharp County, Arkansas, on June 20, 1927), an aspiring actress and occasional model, is of Cherokee, English, and French descent.A lot of website repeat this information, sometimes putting Cherokee last instead of first. But some sites say she isn't Indian at all:

Ancestry of CherCher is usually described as being (part-)Cherokee, but none of her currently-known ancestors are described as anything other than White.CherCher has repeatedly said that all claims of her being part-Cherokee are false.Whether she's part Cherokee or not, she shouldn't be wearing a Plains headdress. I hope she knows better now than she did then.

For more on the subject, see:

The Hipster Headdress Challenge
Indian wannabes = celebrity wannabes
The "honor" of a Plains chief
Why hipster headdresses aren't okay

Story Circles at Sacajawea State Park

Artist's 'Story Circles' honor Lewis and Clark expedition, tribal history

By Kristi PihlDrums and Native American prayers once again echoed through the trees at the confluence of the Columbia and Snake rivers in Pasco.

Members of area tribes performed a seven drums blessing as Story Circles was dedicated in Sacajawea State Park on Friday.

The $1.6 million artwork, designed by world-renowned artist Maya Lin, is part of the $30 million Confluence Project to commemorate the Lewis and Clark expedition and the region's tribal history.

The seven engraved basalt story circles, which range from 12 to 20 feet in diameter, mark where Capts. Meriwether Lewis and William Clark spent three days in 1805.
The story continues at Sacajawea State ParkWith her latest Confluence Project artwork, Maya Lin will tell the complex story of what is now Sacajawea State Park, at the confluence of the Snake and Columbia rivers. Seven “story circles” and new landscaping at the site will recall its past, restore its native vegetation and reconnect it to the area’s Sahaptin-speaking people.

In October 1805, Lewis and Clark spent three days here, hunting, repairing their equipment, mapping the river landscape, and celebrating with more than 200 Native Yakama, Wanapum, Walla Walla, Umatilla, Palouse and other people of the Columbia Plateau. Native people from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific coast had already been gathering here for thousands of years, harvesting berries, root crops and medicinal plants; fishing and preserving the rivers’ abundant salmon; trading with one another; and celebrating together.

Today, the site would be unrecognizable to the Corps of Discovery explorers and the Native people they encountered here. Manicured lawn grass and introduced shade trees have replaced the dry, open plain and riparian ecosystem that once thrived here. Dams have slowed the rushing rivers and raised their water levels, submerging the historic shoreline under more than 20 feet of nearly still water. Shore birds and other native fauna have been displaced. All but one of the site’s six species of salmon have become threatened or endangered.

With text etched into seven story circles, some raised above the ground and some embedded within it, Maya Lin’s artwork will weave together the cultural, historical and environmental details that form the larger narrative of the area. The circles create voids in the landscape, representing the loss of habitat, wildlife and an important Native trading and fishing hub. As visitors walk from circle to circle, they’ll experience the present-day view of the river confluence as they reflect on its rich past. The story circles provide context for how the site has changed over time while re-establishing it as a spot to gather for generations to come.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Lewis and Clark Monument Sans Sacagawea and Statue of Crouching Sacagawea.

Yeibichai artwork in Fallbrook

FALLBROOK:  Navajo, nature inspire latest public art

Friday ceremony to unveil Peter Mitten's 'Yeibichai'

By Gary Warth
Four towering metal structures evoking a Southwestern canyon and Najavo spirituality will be unveiled at 6:30 p.m. Friday as the latest installment of public art in Fallbrook.

"A lot of my work has related to land forms and how geography and topography forms are an understanding of the reality around us," said Fallbrook artist Peter Mitten about his piece "Yeibichai."
And:"Yeibichai" translates as the Navajo term for "night chant," but has many other meanings, he said. In another definition, the word means a spiritual being the Navajo believe helps them live in harmony with the universe.

The four cast-bronze pieces are about 8 feet tall. In Santa Fe, the pieces were spaced several feet apart, but Mitten said he has reconsidered their relationship with one another and how a viewer can interact with them.
Comment:  I can't quite tell what this artwork is supposed to look like. I guess it consists of four surfboard-shaped slabs to be clustered together like flower petals. I guess they look like stratified canyon rocks or giant yeibichai beings.

I don't know if anyone will get "canyon walls" or "yeibichai" by looking at them. I just think it's neat to see a Navajo-influenced sculpture anywhere, especially outside Navajoland. Anything that gets people to think about Indians in non-stereotypical ways is good.

For more on Navajo public art, see Navajo Mural in Van Gogh Style.

Below:  "Artist Peter Mitten, with help from Leven Jester, installs a piece titled "Yeibichai" in preparation for the unveiling ceremony on Friday night in Fallbrook." (John Koster/North County Times)

Drum Awards for Native leadership

The Drum Awards:  Inaugural event to celebrate Native American leadership, excellence

By Lisa SnellThe call went out about eight months ago. The Cherokee Nation began contacting other tribes to pitch the idea of an award to honor Native American leadership and excellence. Not only should there be an award, but a gala event to honor award nominees.

“A few years ago, I was invited to a celebration of accomplishments and successes called the Trumpet Awards. The stories I heard were inspiring. The awards highlighted African Americans who, in some degree, pulled themselves up by the bootstraps and became a leader in their community. The stories we heard were amazing; stories about doctors, lawyers and artists who were recognized for the impact they have made on their communities. I realized that this recognition program would be beneficial for American Indian communities as well,” Cherokee Nation Chief Chad Smith said.
And:According to the Drum Awards website, “The Drum Awards promote alliances and unity within and among the tribes. The awards are designed to build prestige for Native Americans and to promote a healthy sense of worth through first-class treatment of one another.”

Smith sees the awards as an opportunity to celebrate Native role models for future generations.

“Our young people desperately need to see these great successes and leaders from the Indian community. Once they see these leaders have achieved great things, then perhaps they will see they can do it too,” he said.
Comment:  For more Native honors, see Ojibwe Professor Wins Flannery O'Connor Award and Cherokee Chief in Wrestling Hall of Fame.

Cahuilla artist makes concept cars

Provocative Art That Takes the Show on the Road

By Nick CzapHis first effort, “Conquest,” explored the intersection of personal, cultural and automotive histories. As a youth enchanted by automobiles, Mr. deSoto was playfully teased about his relation to the De Soto cars produced by Chrysler until 1961. As a Native American—he is a member of the Cahuilla tribe—he was intrigued by a vague familial connection to Hernando de Soto, the Spanish explorer who enslaved and exterminated indigenous people in his quest for New World riches.

Using the automotive industry practice of “badge engineering,” Mr. deSoto transformed a 1965 Chrysler New Yorker into a car he called the Conquest. He modified the New Yorker emblem, adding a sword and a pox virus—weapons that European invaders used, intentionally and otherwise, to devastating effect.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Pop Art at Heard Museum and Sculptures Made of Scrap Metal.

Below:  Artist Lewis deSoto with Imperial America.

August 27, 2010

Muslim "tribes" = Indian tribes?!

Ground Zero Mosque:  It’s Their Touchdown Dance

By Frosty Wooldridge“Why are those Muslims building a mosque at Ground Zero?” one reader asked. “It doesn’t make sense to stick their mosque like a needle in our eyes at a place where their religion blew up the Twin Towers and killed 3,000 Americans. Why?”

Every ethnic tribe throughout history moved/moves toward dominance and turf. In America, over 522 tribes fought for land on this vast continent. Montana’s Blackfeet maintained dominance of their territory. The Comanche in Texas lived to fight for more land. The Michigan Chippewa battled for their region. They killed, scalped and mutilated one another for thousands of years before the white man, yet another ethnic tribe, killed most of them through organized violence even more methodical than the Native Americans. The white man brought guns, disease and religion to America. The Indians today live on reservations where they are controlled by welfare, booze and loss of language, culture, religion and their way of life. Just visit any reservation to see utter misery, purposelessness and boredom for so many Native Americans.

Up until 1965, America enjoyed 90 percent white dominance, 10 percent Blacks and a smattering of Hispanics. But once the late Teddy Kennedy pitched the Immigration Reform Act into the winds of change, he wrought the beginning of the destruction of United States of America. After 45 years and an added 100 million people from predominantly third world countries, America finds itself in a literal “Tower of Babel,” incompatible cultures and growing tension amongst its citizens. Nearly 40 million hyphenated-Americans came to life in a foreign country.

While Americans ‘thought’ immigrants spoke, acted and thought like them--a new kind of immigrant emerged. The newest ethnic tribe, Islam from the sands of the Middle East, counters everything in the Western world as to thought, religion, ethics and culture. Their Koran counters everything in the Bible. Their way of life subjugates their women to servitude through fear of beatings, stonings, acid in their faces and outright cutting off of women’s noses, ears and worse. (Source: Time Magazine with Muslim teen with nose cut off, August, 2010, as well as two teens stoned to death in the last week.)
Comment:  So very much stupidity here.

For starters, the community center near Ground Zero isn't a needle in my eye. That's because I believe in religious freedom and tolerance, unlike many Americans. Also, "their religion" didn't blow up the WTC; 19 extremists who perverted their religion did.

As I wrote on Facebook:Re terrorists "celebrating" the "Ground Zero mosque": 1) This is an unfounded opinion, not a fact. 2) If they want to celebrate our freedom of religion, so what? 3) If they're happy, they won't attack us because they're unhappy, right? It's win-win for everyone--except pandering right-wing politicians, of course.I didn't know where the idiotic Wooldridge got the number 522 from. At present there are 565 federally recognized tribes. But he's talking about the pre-contact number of tribes in all of North America. That number is in the thousands if not the tens of thousands.

Re the Blackfeet and Chippewa: Battling for or maintaining one's land isn't a sign of aggressive or warlike behavior. It's defending one's own territory, as every culture since the dawn of time has done.

Wooldridge could come up with only one example of an aggressive, warlike tribe: the Comanche. That's out of 522 tribes (his number) or several thousand (my number). In other words, Wooldridge's claim is a stupid stereotype unsupported by facts. So is his related claim about scalping and mutilation.

I'm glad he said white men were another tribe, but he either doesn't believe that or doesn't realize what he said. If European nations were as violent as Indian tribes--which they were--then the Indians' tribalism wasn't the problem. Duh.

So the white "tribes" conquered the Indian tribes, stripped away much of their cultures, and forced them into poverty. How is that an indictment of Indian tribes or any tribes? I'd say it's an indictment of America's immorality more than anything.

Wooldridge proves he's a racist

Fortunately, we don't have to guess Wooldridge's mindset. He makes it clear when he touts white America that he's a racist. Tell your 1950s fantasies to the blacks suffering under Jim Crow laws or the Indian tribes being terminated, Frosty the Snow-White Klansman.

"Just visit any reservation to see utter misery, purposelessness and boredom for so many Native Americans"? Okay, visit the Manshantucket Pequots or the Mohegans and tell me how much poverty you see, dumbass. You did say "any reservation," right?

Not too much of a stupid stereotype here, eh? In reality, I'd guesstimate only a quarter or less of America's tribes are so grindingly poor that you can see "utter misery." The rest are lower middle class to middle class, with a few dozen wealthier than average. Nothing miserable there except the hard times facing most Americans these days.

Wooldridge's comments about Islam are equally stupid and stereotypical. He's taken a few extreme cases and attributed them to the whole. It would be like taking every hate crime and abuse case motivated by Christianity and claiming they characterize the religion. Even with Sharia law in some--not all--Islamic countries, I'm guessing Christians commit more moral outrages each year than Muslims do.

His "source," an article about an outrage against one teen, proves my point. That's evidence of what one Muslim did, not what they all do. Wooldridge's inability to see or understand the difference demonstrates how illogical and ignorant he is.

For more on America's bigotry against Islam, see "9/11 Mosque" = "Devil Worship," Time's "Brief History of Intolerance," and Yesterday's Cherokees = Today's Muslims. For more on Islam itself, see Understanding Islam.

Below:  The opposite of a Catholic church that houses pedophile priests? Yes, could be.

FSU Seminoles blast high-school Seminoles

FSU should lighten up over Southeast logo useHow does any high school “cease and desist” on a cherished tradition? For generations, the Southeast High School Seminoles have charged the gridiron, stalked the basketball court and cheered the sidelines under proud banners displaying a distinctive spear and Indian head.

But now Florida State University accuses Southeast of breaking trademark law and demands the high school quit using the Seminole name, logos, slogans and mascot. How does Southeast diminish FSU’s identity over those marks, as the university’s representative claims?
And:Legendary FSU football coach Bobby Bowden has visited the Southeast campus numerous times recruiting such players as the great Peter Warrick. Other university officials have known about Southeast’s logo for decades, too. Doesn’t that long-standing knowledge constitute tacit approval?

And what does the Seminole Tribe think about all this? The Indian nation played a major role in the development of FSU’s logos, and should have some influence in this legal controversy.

The Collegiate Licensing Company represents FSU in this, led by associate general counsel Jim Aronowitz. In his letter to Southeast demanding the school cleanse all logos and marks from stationary, uniforms, scoreboards and the gym floor, Aronowitz claims the high school is interfering with the university’s “ability to effectively market and license the use” of those logos.

This is all about money. Shameful.
Comment:  So one group of fake Seminoles is protesting another group of fake Seminoles? Nice.

It's one thing to to use exact duplicates of FSU's logos, slogans, and mascots. That sounds like a trademark violation, all right. The Southeast High School Seminoles should come up with their own logos, slogans, and mascots.

The name seems like a different matter to me. I don't think a non-Indian institution should be able to trademark "Seminoles" any more than it could trademark "Americans." The various Seminole tribes should have control over their own name.

If a non-Indian institution can trademark a tribe's name, then what? If the Seminole Tribe opened a "Seminole" restaurant and FSU already had one, could FSU challenge the tribe's use of its own name? Could FSU sell or license its Seminoles name to a biker club, a porn shop, or an anti-casino group? If these things are legal, they shouldn't be.

Obviously, I'd prefer it if the local Seminole tribe decided who could or couldn't use its name. If it wanted to grant the right to the high school, I'd say tough tootsies to FSU. Either accept the high school's name, which won't harm your business, or find yourself another name.

For more on the subject, see Seminole Jerseys Honor Nike and Why FSU's Seminoles Aren't Okay.

Below:  "Chief Osceola" mascot imitates a "savage" Plains Indian with horse, spear, and warpaint. Yeah, we wouldn't a high school imitating this mascot. That would perpetuate some stupid stereotypes. Those are FSU's stupid stereotypes, not the high school's!

Blog about "headdress love"

Adrienne Keene of the Native Appropriations blog found this and posted it on Facebook:

headdress lovededicated to my love of indian-style headresses
i wish i had a beautiful one like these here

A Native American headdress is typically worn by the tribe leader or chief. Moreover, it was common for the Indians to wear headdress during ceremonial events or custom rituals. Because the Indians were very industrious, they would craft their own headdress. By and large, headdresses were made from turkey or bird feathers, and included other decorative features and colors for style. Additionally, headdresses were created in multiple sizes.

Some comments on "headdress love" from Facebook:Ugh, what is the deal? Willful ignorance.

'Why do I love headdresses? Because they are so fierce.' I understand using 'fierce' to describe fashion, but to use it in this context is just beyond ignorant.

It has everything to do with female sexual desire--the desire to be the exotic other, to consume, even to coerce.

It was awkward enough when it was just October 31st but now apparently we get to dress up every day of the year! (Plus some awesome use of the past tense there, geez!)

Uff. This is the cherry on the douchebag-flavored cake of Hipsterdom. Gah.

UGGGHHHHHHHHH not only is the description totally moronic, but also everything is in the past tense. Clearly we're all dead now. Must...breathe....
And a couple from the blog itself:You are a fool.

Do you have any idea how offensive this blog is?
Comment:  I think the commenters pretty much said it all. The only thing I'd note is the talk of the Indians' industriousness--how they made headdresses in different styles and different sizes, too. It's as if the blogger were surprised that Indians weren't savages after all. They were smart enough to make more than one kind of headdress...can you believe it?

For more on the subject, see The Hipster Headdress Challenge and Why Hipster Headdresses Aren't Okay.

Below:  Natalie Portman in a hipster headdress.

"Navajo" fashion in Seventeen

Adrienne reports on another fashion faux pas in her Native Appropriations blog:

"Navajo" Fashion Spread in SeventeenCultural appropriation in fashion has now gone seriously mainstream. The favorite read of tweens and teens everywhere, Seventeen Magazine, featured this "Navajo" fall fashion spread in their August issue. On many levels, I find this even more offensive than having a generic "tribal fashion" spread. I know I always point out that those spreads lump a million different Native tribes, images, and traditions into one catch-all, otherizing, "tribal" idea--and at least this one listed a tribe, right? Yeah, not so much.

They still rely on generalized Native stereotypes, but this time are referring to a specific culture. This points to the fact that in the collective American consciousness, all tribes are interchangeable. Navajo, Ojibwe, Kootenai, take your pick. They're all the same! For instance, dream catchers: definitely not Navajo. Would I still be upset if they had paid attention and made taken inspiration from actual Navajo culture? Like if they had a white model dressed up in a rug dress? Of course. But hopefully you see my point.
Comment:  I guess what makes these fashions "Navajo" are the "sunset colors and woolly knits." These things may apply more to the Navajo than to some tribes, but they're extremely generic. It's like calling a painting English because it has fog and umbrellas in it. Yes, the English are more likely to have fog and umbrellas than Saharan nomads, for instance, but that's not saying much. It's pretty lame to identify a culture so generically.

If this were just a "tribal fashion" spread without the dreamcatacher, I wouldn't consider it offensive. I don't think it's wrong to wear clothes with Native designs. Problems arise when the fashion is overly stereotypical (e.g., with feathers and fringe) or when someone misidentifies it.

For more Native-style fashion, see Aztec, Inca, and Avatar-Inspired Fashion and Audigier's Stereotypical Fashions.

August 26, 2010

All bigotries are similar

Here's another debate with critic Michael Cooke--this time on Yesterday's Cherokees = Today's Muslims:As the Black experience is not the same thing as the Gay experience, the bigotries against each are dissimilar as well. So it is with Cherokees and Muslims and the bigotries that challenge their rights and liberties, real but dissimilar.My thesis statement and putdown of Cooke: All bigotries are similar, including these.

Someone else agreed with me:The plight of the Black American and Gays is so overrated Mike. And its even thoughtless to say the problems we confront are different from each other or worse. Like Rob said and has been saying, we all have similar problems. And like I had to tell a co-worker of mine that its selfish to think of one's importance and significance as a single struggle without considering multiple neighboring bodies. These are one of the tools that aggravates hate by playing the "who had it worse" card.But Cooke wasn't buying it:The realities that Black people and that Gay people have to face are not in any way overrated, but at the same time they cannot be compared. No Black person has been rejected by a birth parent for being Black, No Gay person can be determined to be gay because of how they look.

The "who had it worse" card cannot be played once the reality that the experiences ARE DIFFERENT is established. If you are a Gay person, a Black person, an NDN, a Woman--it's not selfish to know your own struggle better than those of other people because no one that isn't you is going to be motivated or able to learn as much or as well as you about you, your people.

It's when people like Rob, claim that all bigotries are the same, that the 'who had it worse' card is summoned inevitably. The problem is that all suffering is personal, isolated and subjective, thereby "My" suffering is greater than yours because my suffering is real to me and yours is not.

The fundamental nature of all bigotry may indeed be singular. But when applied to different people in different contexts, the nature of the bigotry is different for each community targeted, and the experience is at the same time unique.
Victims are different but victimizers are similar

You're talking about the different experiences of the people experiencing bigotry. I'm talking about the mental processes of the bigots.

All bigotries are similar (not the same). They all stem from fear and hatred of the "other."

Too bad you spent an hour addressing the wrong question. Now try again.Even the bigotries are distinct Rob.

People that hate Gay people do so often because they are Gay themselves, or because abstractly and subjectively they feel it is "gross."

People that Hate Black people do so often because the culture is racist and a presumption of entitlement due to being white.

You can distinguish bigotry as taking a stereotype and emphasizing the negative. And in this sense bigotries are alike. But as stereotypes are distinct and rarely alike, so too are the prejudices and bigotries associated distinct and rarely alike.

As a Black man--people may assume I mean to rob them out of a bigoted prejudice. As a Gay man--men may believe I mean to seduce them or look at their ass with lust, out of a bigoted prejudice. As a Native American--people may simply assume I'm an alcoholic out of a bigoted prejudice. As a Jew--people may assume I must be of a privileged economic class by unscrupulous means because of a bigoted prejudice.

Bigotries are not the same, the experience of being a victim of bigotry is dissimilar as well.
"People that Hate Black people do so often because the culture is racist and a presumption of entitlement due to being white." People who hate gays do so often because the culture is heterosexualist and a presumption of entitlement is due to being heterosexual. These people think we should allow only "normal" (heterosexual) people to run for president, serve in the military, teach our children, or marry. Which is exactly what they thought about blacks and other minorities before.

"As a Black man--people may assume I mean to rob them out of a bigoted prejudice. As a Gay man--men may believe I mean to seduce them or look at their ass with lust, out of a bigoted prejudice." White Christian heterosexuals think both groups are out to take their jobs, redistribute their income, and impose an "agenda" that will make them second-class citizens. In other words, that these groups intend to eliminate their historical power and privilege.

White Christian heterosexuals think the same about Indians, Latinos, Muslims, and other minorities. Hence all bigotries are similar.

Bigotry is like fruit?Rob. Have you been physically assaulted for being liberal? I have for being openly Gay.

First, I'm observant of all kinds of racism. You just don't appreciate that I don't also have your point of view.

Rob, your insistence that all bigotry is the same is like saying all fruit is the same. All fruit is and isn't the same, at the same time. It depends on where you want to take the conversation.

What I can do about racism is what I can do about homophobia: not be racist, not be homophobic, instead be openly Gay and call people on their racism when they express it.

The Gay thing really does stand apart. No other prejudice is so closely related to as being no less than an article of religious faith! (Not considering racist cults like 12 tribes and the Mormons.) Is so explicitly supported by "sacred scripture."

So the Gay marriage issue, it really is the last 'untouchable' prejudice. People that really need to put someone down to feel good--the faggot has always been a safe target! You try to take that away, and many American will (and do!) complain of "Religious persecution!"
I never used the word "same" in this discussion, Mikey. Quit misquoting me and learn to read.

All fruits are similar just like all bigotries are similar. That's why we classify them as "fruit" and not "random plants that have no similarities."

After initially claiming all bigotries were "dissimilar," you now admit they have enough similarities to be grouped together like fruit. Thanks for proving my point.

Have I been physically assaulted for being liberal? No, but blacks and other minorities have been assaulted just like gays. That's because the bigotry against each group is similar enough to provoke physical attacks.

Both blacks and gays have faced discrimination in employment, the military, healthcare, church, sports, and marriage, among other fields. How is this possible if sex-based prejudice against gays is so different from skin-based prejudice against blacks? Why would blacks and gays have to fight the same battles to serve in the military and to marry?

Answer: Because white Christian heterosexuals think both groups are out to take their jobs, redistribute their income, and impose an "agenda" that will make them second-class citizens.

Religion is source of many prejudices

Religious prejudice against gays is similar to religious prejudice against Catholics, Mormons, Jews, Muslims, Hare Krishnas, Wiccans, and Satanists. The prejudice against Asians and American Indians is also partly religious, which is why we've called them "heathens" and "pagans" so often.

And religious prejudice is similar to non-religious prejudice against blacks and Latinos. Obama provides the perfect example of that. People hate him because he's black, but that's socially unacceptable these days. So they invent lies about how he's a Kenyan or a Muslim to disguise their racial prejudice.

In other words, prejudice against race is similar enough to prejudice against nationality or religion that one can easily "switch" prejudices. Whether Obama is black, Kenyan, or Muslim doesn't matter to white Christian bigots. Again, because all bigotries are similar. Whatever prejudice bigots admit or deny, they still hate Obama.

By citing the Bible or the Constitution or whatever, white Christian bigots are inventing excuses for their bigotry. If they actually believed the Bible, for instance, they'd obey Jesus's commandment to "love thy neighbor as thyself." That they don't practice what they preach shows they don't believe what they're saying. They hate first and justify their hate second.

In reality, I think you can trace most Christian-based prejudice against skin color back to the Bible. God talks frequently about his "chosen people," which white Christians assumed meant them. How could God's chosen people inherit the earth if Asians, blacks, Arabs, and Indians owned whole continents? Answer: We had to demonize them as savages, beasts, and devil worshipers so we could justify taking their possessions.

In short, our religious bigotry led us to invent racism as another excuse for subjugating the brown-skinned subhumans. So religious and racial bigotries come from similar sources and exist for similar reasons: to rationalize the rulers' superiority.

Pundit agrees with Rob

The Anatomy of Intolerance

By Robert ReichAmericans who feel economically insecure may even become paranoid, believing, say, that the President of the United States is secretly one of "them."

Economic fear is the handmaiden of intolerance. It's used by demagogues who redirect the fear and anger toward people and groups who aren't really to blame but are easy scapegoats.

It has happened before.

Economic crises animated the pre-Civil War Know-Nothings and Anti-Masonic movements, the Chinese exclusion acts, the Ku Klux Klan in the economically-ravaged South, and the anti-immigrant movements of the early decades of the 20th century.

In different places around the world, mass economic stress has had far worse results. At its most extreme it has spawned genocide.

We are far from that. But it's important to understand the roots of America's growing intolerance. And to fight the hate-mongers and cynical opportunists who are using the fears unleashed by this awful economy to advance their own sordid agendas.
"Economic fear" is another way of saying "fear of losing power and privilege." Because scared Euro-Americans don't just want to be equal with everyone else. They want to be superior, as they have been in the past. That's why they aren't criticizing the military-industrial complex, as liberals do, but are criticizing blacks, Latinos, Indians, gays, and now Muslims.

For more on the subject, see Time's "Brief History of Intolerance" and Religious Freedom for Everyone, Except Indians.

Below:  Religious-based racial bigotry in action.