May 07, 2011

What to do about "Geronimo" codename?

Indians are still outraged by the "Geronimo" codename used to kill Osama bin Laden. They're demanding an apology from Obama or the US government. I'm betting that won't happen. And if it did, it wouldn't do anything more than the previous dozen or so apologies.

A Native journalist posted the following challenge on Facebook:I'm just ranting about our community can't seem to keep focused on these issues--this is what always happens, with no strong leader like Martin Luther King to rally around, or to be the face or faces to lead, the tribes are just going to yell for a couple days and then go back to their usual doings. It's sad but true, the fire in the belly in Indian Country as a whole is not there for this type of fight I'm afraid. Now all of Indian Country, I dare you to prove me wrong!!This led to the following exchange:

I think we need an organization or individual (a czar or "big chief") to handle media representation and stereotyping issues full-time. If I were the NCAI or NIGA, I'd put some time and money into this effort.

Someone like Suzan Shown Harjo could do it. The trick would be to give the person or organization the resources to do the job right.

If another "Geronimo" issue comes up, for instance, the team could respond rapidly with a slew of editorials and interviews. And blanket the media with the Native point of view.

Something like that happened this time, but in an ad hoc fashion. To me that's not good enough. This needs to happen on a regular, consistent basis.

These controversies come up several times a week. I know, because I track them all in my blog. We should respond to all of them, not just to the "big" ones, in this fashion.Yep, now you've got the idea!!Okay! I'll post this idea in my blog to keep the discussion going.Yeah, and while you're at it, make sure that we emphasize that this has to be an ongoing effort, it just can't crop up when this stuff occurs. It's going to have to be just like the Civil Rights struggle, which was an ongoing mission for years. You can't pop up, bitch and then pop back down under the radar again.Sure. Respond to the controversies and continue the ongoing education effort.

For more on the subject, see Advocates Criticize Codename at Hearing and Apaches Demand Apology for Codename.

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