August 31, 2011

Parks evict tribes from "wilderness"

Two Different Approaches to 'Wilderness'

By Joanna EedeThe concept of "wilderness" has long existed, in Western culture, as a place of pristine natural beauty--unpolluted by human life: an Eden sanctuary, an antidote to urban living. During the 19th century such ideas were reflected in art of the time. "In wilderness is the preservation of the world," wrote Henry Thoreau. For naturalist John Muir, communion with nature served to wash his spirit "clean," while the photographer Ansel Adams' photographs of Yosemite national park famously contained no sign of human life.

In attributing other-worldly qualities to nature, however, and in seeing them as sacred spaces where God lives but man must not, ideas developed which were arguably at the root of conservation policies. "For decades, the idea of 'wilderness' has been a fundamental tenet of the environmental movement," wrote the historian William Cronon. Such policies adversely affected the indigenous tribal peoples for whom such "wild" places were merely "home."
And:It was in Yosemite that the world's first national park, which had been cared for by the Ahwahneechee people for generations, was established. Yellowstone National Park was subsequently created in 1872, when the government evicted the Indian tribes who are thought to have lived there for more than 11,000 years.

Today there are an estimated 120,000 protected areas worldwide, covering nearly 15% of the world's land surface. Conservation is undoubtedly vital when the biological diversity of the planet is so threatened. But the sorry backdrop to these statistics--the story that is overlooked in the desire to preserve the "wild"--is one of intense human suffering. For in the creation of reserves, millions of people--most of them tribal--have been evicted from their homes.
Eede's conclusion:Tribal peoples continue to be left out of discussions concerning the protection of their homelands, despite the fact that so often it has been they who, in the words of Davi Kopenawa, "preserve the flood plains, the hunt, the fish and the fruits." Corry thinks that the conservation of biodiversity should only be promoted with the consent of the indigenous. "Protecting ecosystems does not mean protecting them from the people who have always been their guardians," he says. "Conservation rights shouldn't trump tribal rights."

There may also be room for a broader cultural objective; one which lies in reshaping the popular idea of "wilderness" in western thinking, by acknowledging the ancient interrelationship of man and the natural world. For destructive attitudes are born partly of dualistic ideas; in emphasizing the separateness of man and nature. "Any way of looking at nature that encourages us to believe we are separate from it is likely to reinforce irresponsible behaviour," says William Cronon. The world's tribal peoples still intuitively grasp this symbiotic relationship better than most; in the words of Davi Kopenawa, "The environment is not separate from ourselves; we are inside it and it is inside us."
Comment:  This is an interesting essay because it flips the Western notion of wilderness on its head. According to Eede, there's no such thing as "untamed wilderness" and there hasn't been for millennia. There are only well-tamed or badly-tamed "wildernesses." Indigenous landscapes generally belong in the former category and Western landscapes in the latter.

For more on national parks, see Indians Left Out at National Parks, Before There Were Parks, and Maasai Evicted Like Indians. For more on Indians' relationship with the environment, see What a Native Utopia Looks Like, Natives Understand Nature's Value, and Dennis Prager and The Ecological Indian.

4th NB3 Challenge

Hunter Mahan and Cristie Kerr Team Up to Repeat as Champs at Fourth Annual Notah Begay III Foundation Challenge

Latest Edition of Event Thrills Golf Fans and Raises Awareness and Funds to Improve Health and Wellness of Native American YouthThe team of Hunter Mahan and Cristie Kerr outshot a competitive field of stars from the world of men’s and women’s golf and captured their second consecutive title at the fourth annual Notah Begay III (NB3) Foundation Challenge. The duo finished the mixed team, best ball tournament at Atunyote Golf Club course at Turning Stone Resort & Casino 11 under par, one shot clear of the runner-up pairing of Rickie Fowler and Annika Sorenstam. Not only did the NB3 Foundation Challenge provide an entertaining tournament for golf fans, the event also raised $500,000 for the NB3 Foundation, aiding the Foundation’s effort to improve health and wellness for youth in Native American communities across the country.

“Our event provides an incredible platform to raise awareness for the health issues–namely obesity and diabetes–that are affecting Native youth at a startlingly high rate,” said the event’s host and four-time PGA TOUR winner, Notah Begay III. “It’s through the support of great golfers, the Oneida Indian Nation and all those who attend that we’re able to continue our mission of building a sustainable movement empowering these kids to lead healthier, more successful lives. I’m so humbled and grateful for everyone’s contributions.”
Tiger Woods honored by captain's pick

By Bob HarigWoods was at Atunyote Golf Club at Turning Stone on Wednesday as part of the Notah Begay Foundation Challenge, a one-day event featuring eight players. The event was originally scheduled for July 5 but was pushed back due to the knee and Achilles injuries that kept Woods from competing until the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in early August.

Begay is a four-time PGA Tour winner and former teammate of Woods' when they were at Stanford.

"He's been the world to me," Woods said of Begay. "He's been like a big brother."

Woods was paired with LPGA star Suzann Pettersen in the mixed-team best ball format. Others in the competition are tour players Begay, Rickie Fowler and Hunter Mahan, along with LPGA Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstam, Cristie Kerr and Natalie Gulbis. Begay's foundation supports Native American youth.
Comment:  The Woods/Pettersen team came in third and the Begay/Gulbis team fourth.

Perhaps because the tournament was delayed, quarterbacks Tony Romo of the Dallas Cowboys and Sam Bradford (Cherokee) of the St. Louis Rams weren't present.

I don't think I've heard Woods speak so warmly of Begay before.

The event raised $500,000, down from $1.25 million last year and $1 million two years ago.

For more on the subject, see Woods, Bradford to Golf with Begay and 3rd NB3 Challenge Raises $1.25 Million.

Boy Scout dances at powwows

Native American dance interest grew from Tonganoxie Boy Scout experience

By Elvyn JonesKyle Robinson was one of the more elaborately dressed dancers circling the tent during Sunday’s intertribal dance at the Indian Council of Many Nation’s summer powwow.

From the feathered roach that topped his head to the leather fringed moccasins on his feet, Robinson was a moving tribute in color, feathers and beadwork to the Native American warriors of the Great Plains.

But the 20-year-old Basehor man doesn’t consider himself a Native American. Robinson said he had a smattering of Native American blood in his family tree, as do many Americans whose ancestry stretches back through multiple generations. His seven-year interest in Indian dance and culture stemmed from his Boy Scout days and his association with the Mike Henre family of Tonganoxie.

Henre is president of the Indian Council of Many Nations, which sponsored the weekend powwow, and scoutmaster with Tonganoxie Boy Scout Troop 357. Scouting and interest in Native American culture are natural partners with Scouting’s Order of the Arrow national honor society and the regional Mic O Say honor society, he said.

Henre said his son Chester (who rarely dances now because of an injury) taught Robinson the intricacies of the traditional dance performed at powwows.
And:Robinson said his dance regalia was that of a powwow’s traditional dance, which represents a warrior scouting before battle. Other styles include gourd dancers and the more elaborate and athletic fancy dancers.

His regalia wasn’t inspired by any one tribe but instead reflected his personal preference of styles from different tribes, Robinson said.
Comment:  This is another example of the slippery slope from Indians to wannabes. Robinson learned about Natives from the often-stereotypical Order of the Arrow and Tribe of Mic-O-Say. He made his own regalia and, for all we know, his own dances. He performs in an intertribal powwow where, I'm guessing, anyone can participate.

The effect is to dilute genuine Indian cultures. If anyone can dress up and act like an Indian, there's nothing unique or special about being Indian. It becomes like a role or occupation, like a Halloween costume: something anyone can put on and take off at will.

And since people like Robinson greatly outnumber real Indians, they begin to define what an Indian is to the public. So we get everyone from white supremacists and tax dodgers to Johnny Depp and Miley Cyrus claiming they're Indians. Meanwhile, real Indians are marginalized or ignored. They're called savage, heathen, or extinct because no one ever sees them.

For more on Boy Scouts and Indians, see Boy Scout "Indian Dance Teams" and Who Are the Kossa Indian Dancers?

Below:  "Kyle Robinson of Basehor displays his footwork during the intertribal dance Sunday at the Indian Council of Many Nation’s powwow at the Leavenworth County Fairgrounds." (Elvyn Jones)

August 30, 2011

Indians left out at national parks

No Longer Circling the Wagons:  Many National Parks Get Indian Stories Wrong

By Robert PahreBecause American Indians lived everywhere in this country, the NPS could tell Native stories at almost every site. After all, it has chosen to tell the stories of settlers at most park units. Unfortunately, the NPS usually leaves out the Native stories in the parks, letting Indians vanish from most park landscapes.

Too much of the NPS’s interpretation of our history is incomplete, and it usually leaves out the Native stories. And when it does tell a Native story, all too often, it is through the eyes of other people, the way it has been done it in too many movies. In Dances With Wolves, for example, Kevin Costner portrays the Lakota sympathetically, but through the eyes of a white military man who falls in love with a white woman who had been adopted by the tribe. A less benign example of that can be found at Indiana Dunes National Seashore, which tells of the Potawatomi tribe through the experiences of a white man, Joseph Bailly. A sign at the Bailly homestead explains that he bought beaver furs and other items from the Potawatomi in exchange for various trade goods. Another sign says the United States gave Bailly $6,000 for counseling the Potawatomi when they sold their land in the Chicago Treaty of 1833. That was a huge sum of money back then, but the sign doesn’t say what he did in those negotiations that made the U.S. government so grateful. Nor does the sign finish the story—the Potawatomi ended up on a “Trail of Death” westward, across the Mississippi.

That’s just one of many Native stories the NPS leaves out of its narrative. Drive across the Great Plains and visit the park units there. Except for Minnesota’s Pipestone National Monument and Knife River Indian Villages in North Dakota, the national park units on the Plains focus on a short period of settlers’ history instead of the much longer Native histories. They also tend to talk about the deeds of settlers instead of the impact those actions had on American Indians.

Visitors to Nebraska’s Scotts Bluff National Monument see a replica covered wagon along with part of the original Oregon Trail as it heads through Mitchell Pass. Across the parking lot, the Oregon Trail Museum and Visitor Center tells the story of the emigrants who passed this way. The American Indians who lived here appear in an exhibit entitled, “The White Emigrants Met the Mounted Hunters of the Plains.” Again, the Native stories are told in relation to the experiences of the intruders.

That park has 62 documented archaeological sites, but you won’t learn that when you’re there. You also won’t be told how Indians used the site before the white man arrived. An oral tradition dating to Frank Kicking Bear says Crazy Horse chose Scotts Bluff for one of his earliest vision quests. He reportedly saw horses and thunder beings in his vision who told him how to prepare for war. But you won’t hear that story at Scotts Bluff. The people who wanted Scotts Bluff to be a national monument had a one-sided view of what made the site important. Telling the story of Crazy Horse preparing for war against the United States would contradict their story, that of peaceful emigrants on their way to Oregon.
National Parks that Best Tell American Indian Culture and HistoryThere are almost 400 sites in the U.S. National Park system, including parks, monuments, historic sites, lakeshores, seashores and recreation areas. Not all of them have a direct connection to American Indian culture and history, but most do, and most aren’t doing a good job of telling those stories. But some are. Here’s a sampling of sites, roughly from the Great Lakes to the Rockies, that are doing a good—or at least better—job of telling the complete history of their site.


  • Badlands National Park, South Unit (South Dakota)

  • Cook Collection, Agate Fossil Beds National Monument (Nebraska)

  • Effigy Mounds National Monument (Iowa)

  • Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site (Montana-North Dakota)

  • Grand Portage National Monument (Minnesota)

  • Knife River Indian Villages (North Dakota)

  • Nez Perce National Historic Park (Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington)

  • Pipestone National Monument (Minnesota)

  • Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site (Colorado)

  • Trail of Tears National Historic Trail (many states)
  • Comment:  This sounds like a case of stereotyping by omission. Omitting Native stories in favor of pioneer stories reinforces our founding myth: that America was uninhabited except for "wild animals and Indians." That God gave the land to "civilized" Euro-Americans to colonize, settle, and develop. That the "savage" Indians had no right of ownership and were soon to vanish like scared little critters that went into hiding.

    For more on national parks, see AIM vs. Fort Laramie and Uranium Mining at Grand Canyon.

    Below:  Nebraska’s Scotts Bluff National Monument.

    Ridge wrote about Murrieta

    The Ridge family and the Cherokee Blood Law

    By Paul JohnsJohn Rollin Ridge, who was the son of John Ridge and the grandson of Major Ridge, was 12 when he saw his father murdered. Afterward his mother took her sons to Fayetteville, Ark., where he grew up to study law.

    But he didn’t forget his father’s murder and in 1849 he killed one of the murderers. He then fled to Springfield and after a short time joined with a group of young men headed to the gold fields of California.

    John Rollin Ridge didn’t find gold, but he did find lasting fame in California. He worked as a newspaper editor and in 1854 he became the first Native American novelist when he published a popular fictional account of a California outlaw entitled “The Life and Adventures of Joaquin Murieta, the Celebrated California Bandit.” He died in that state in 1867.
    Joaquin MurrietaJoaquin Carrillo Murrieta (sometimes spelled Murieta or Murietta) (ca. 1829–July 25, 1853?), also called the Mexican or Chilean Robin Hood or the Robin Hood of El Dorado, was a semi-legendary figure in California during the California Gold Rush of the 1850s. Depending on the point of view, he was considered an infamous bandit or a Mexican patriot.

    John Rollin Ridge, grandson of the Cherokee leader Major Ridge, wrote a dime novel about Murrieta; the fictional biography contributed to his legend, especially as it was translated into various European languages. A portion of Ridge's novel was reprinted in 1859 in the California Police Gazette. This story was picked up and subsequently translated into French.

    Although biographical sources generally held that Murrieta was born in Chile or Mexico, a few reported that his mother's family were of mixed-Cherokee and Anglo-Protestant ancestry. Her family was said to have migrated to either Mexico or, questionably, Chile from the Southeastern United States and to have adopted European customs, such as private land ownership and a plantation system. (Note: The Cherokee were one of the Five Civilized Tribes in the Southeast United States and had adopted many European-American customs before the 1830s.) His mother was said to have married into the Murrieta family, which was connected to the colonial Spanish landed elite. Many scholars dispute the purported Murrieta-Cherokee ancestral connection.

    Comment:  I don't know if Ridge was really the first Native novelist. After all, Indians had participated in the Anglo-American culture since the mid-1600s. I would've guessed that someone preceded him.

    The connections here are interesting. The Cherokee Ridge joined the Gold Rush, which caused the deaths of many California Natives. And he wrote about Murrieta, who may have had some Cherokee ancestry.

    For more on the Ridge family, see Aftermath in Trail of Tears and Removal in Trail of Tears.

    Indians displayed in "human zoos"

    Human Zoo:  For Centuries, Indigenous Peoples Were Displayed as Novelties

    By Sara ShahriariIn 1893 a group of indigenous Aymara Bolivian men traveled to the United States so that they could be put on display at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair Columbian Exposition, which celebrated the 400th anniversary of Columbus’s arrival in the Americas. While researching their story, Nancy Egan, a doctoral student in Latin American history at the University of California, San Diego, delved into the history of indigenous people brought to the United States and Europe and put on display in what she calls “human zoos.”

    ICTMN:  Indigenous people from all over the world were brought to the United States and Europe and displayed at fairs and circuses during the 1800s and 1900s. Why were these displays so popular?

    Egan:  Most historians who study these exhibitions agree they were a way of reinforcing or illustrating the racist notions of white supremacy that seemed to be built into the logic of empire and colonialism. Most nations took great care to try and mold the people they put on display into images that justified their own colonial power. In some cases this meant trying to create “savages.” In other cases, they tried to use these displays of human beings to illustrate how the colonial presence was “civilizing” people. These exhibits also played into other forms of popular entertainment. They were a mix of imperial ambition and circus.

    How was what Mamani and his companions went through similar to the experience of other “imported” indigenous people who came to the United States?

    Their story definitely sounds exceptional, but what’s really shocking about the history of these “human zoos” is that it isn’t. One study I read estimated that more than 25,000 indigenous people were brought to fairs around the world between 1880 and 1930. These people struggled under harsh and changing conditions. Many of them had to change their hair, their clothes, their entire appearance to fit the expectations of the organizers and the audiences they were supposed to perform for. Some people were the targets of racist violence while they were on display, while others experienced more subtle forms of violence and were used as subjects of scientific study on racial differences during the exhibition. And, like Mamani, many people died during these exhibitions.
    Comment:  For more on the subject, see 19th-Century Cartoons About Indians and Heartsong Lectures and Concert.

    Below:  "A group of Iroquois Native Americans pose at an exposition in France c. 1905.

    The I Believe Guy

    Brian Jackson, the ‘I Believe Guy,’ Strikes a Blow for Positivity

    By Brian DaffronAs the “I Believe Guy,” Jackson still offers an inspirational Christian message, but clowning has been replaced by achievement. He breaks world records.

    At five-foot-five inches tall and 200 pounds, Jackson says he doesn’t have a lot of physical gifts. But one thing he does have from his days as Hallelujah the Clown is lung power. “Even though it looks like I’m having a lot of fun making balloon animals—and I am—it also is helping me train,” Jackson says. “The more balloons I blow up to make animals out of, the more I’m training my lungs.”

    That training has placed him in the Guinness Book of World Records five times and in the Record Holders Republic (“The Registry of Official World Records”) three times.

    Guinness Book confirms that Jackson currently holds two world records. The first is for the fastest time to burst three hot water bottles: His mark is 1 minute 8 seconds, set in an appearance on Lo Show Dei Record in Milan, Italy on April 19, 2008. The second record is for the most balloons blown up in an hour by an individual. On this occasion, Jackson blew up 370 balloons during the Bluejacket Public School Spring Carnival in Bluejacket, Oklahoma, on April 12, 2011. Jackson said there is a third record pending confirmation for lifting a car with his lung power, which occurred in July of this year.

    Jackson’s feats have earned him multiple television appearances, including an early episode of this season’s America’s Got Talent and international editions of the Guinness Book of World Records show in Spain and Italy. In September, Jackson is scheduled to appear live in the UK on the Simon Cowell-created game show Red or Black?, and he will also be on an episode of the History Channel’s Stan Lee’s Superhumans in January 2012.
    Comment:  For more on the subject, see Cherokee World-Record Holder.

    Below:  "How do you set a world record with a hot water bottle? Just put your lips together and blow. Brian Jackson demonstrates his talent at the Elevate Youth Summit, in Muskogee, OK."

    First Native NASCAR team owner

    Auto racing:  Naples' Osceola becomes NASCAR's first Native American team ownerIt could be said O.B. Osceola Jr. was born with racing in his blood.

    The lifelong Naples Seminole finally claimed his birthright in early August when he and Bob Germain of Germain Racing formed a new NASCAR national series team, Germain-Osceola Racing.

    With the move, Osceola becomes the first Native American team owner in NASCAR.

    Plans for G-OR are to field an entry in 2012 on the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Nationwide or Camping World Truck Series in 2012 for a still unnamed driver, with backing projected to come from a number of Native American tribes.
    Comment:  For more on the subject, see First Native Female NASCAR Truck Owner and Mohawk NASCAR Driver.

    August 29, 2011

    Acting-class experiment reveals biases

    An acting-class experiment shows how people think about minorities:

    Step into my film school!  The importance of casting in breaking open movie stereotypes

    By Captain AwkwardIt works like this: I bring in my giant file of head shots, which include actors of all races, sizes, shapes, ages, and experience levels. Each student picks a head shot from the stack and gets a few minutes to sit with the person’s face and then make up a little story about them. I wanted to know:

  • What kind of story or genre do you think of when you see this person?

  • What character are they playing in the story?

  • Is there a specific role or type that comes to mind?

  • What is their job?

  • Maybe describe an environment, or period, or style of dress that you associate with the person.

  • The students then show off their actor’s photo and pitch their stories to the class and then we talk about the results. I’ve run this experiment a few times, and the students are very excited and creative with stories/genres and have a lot of fun with it. “I picture him in a Western. He’s the lone cowboy who rides through town and gets caught up in the trouble that’s going on there.”

    However, some troubling shit always occurs.

    Namely, for white men, they have no trouble coming up with an entire history, job, role, genre, time, place, and costume. They will often identify him without prompting as “the main character.” The only exception? “He would play the gay guy.” For white women, they mostly do not come up with a job (even though it was specifically asked for), and they will identify her by her relationships. “She would play the mom/wife/love interest/best friend.” I’ve heard “She would play the slut” or “She would play the hot girl.” A lot more than once.

    For nonwhite men, it can be equally depressing. “He’s in a buddy cop movie, but he’s not the main guy, he’s the partner.” “He’d play a terrorist.” “He’d play a drug dealer.” “A thug.” “A hustler.” “Homeless guy.” One Asian actor was promoted to “villain.”
    Learning to overcome stereotypical thinking:Once the students have made their pitches, we interrogate their opinions. “You seem really sure that he’s not the main character--why? What made you automatically say that?” “You said she was a mom. Was she born a mom, or did she maybe do something else with her life before her magic womb opened up and gave her an identity? Who is she as a person?”What the experiment tells us:The students aren’t stupid or malicious or evil for automatically slating the actors they way they did. They aren’t doing anything that casting directors don’t do every day. They are just reflecting the world they’ve seen on screen since they were born, the one where white men with strong jaws are the default human and everyone else is “other.”

    The casting director and the studio will say “It’s just business. We’re trying to do what sells and give people what they want.” Let’s say you get to direct a big budget studio action film. Daniel Craig is interested in starring in the project. But you would love to cast Chiwitel Ejiofor, who is also great-looking and athletic and brilliant and who can definitely carry a film and even has a British accent! Both would do a bang-up job with the role, but with one actor you are guaranteed a certain box-office return and with one actor you are not, so you now have to talk your investors and the studio into shouldering more risk (and probably cutting your budget significantly or even un-greenlighting your movie or firing you, because what kind of idiot would turn down such a proven moneymaker?) So you think, I know! I’ll cast Craig as the lead but Ejiofor can be the partner (the one who dies horribly and inspires Daniel Craig to punch everyone in the world as revenge). The film will be good, everyone will make their money, no one is trying to be evil. Problem solved, right?

    The problem is that actors carry our dreams onto screens with us, and those dreams have power. More than one person (including Dennis Haysbert) has said that Dennis Haysbert’s portrayal of the president on 24 paved the way for the Obama presidency, by making it something routine and normal for us to see.
    Comment:  We can just imagine what people would say about a Native actor in modern dress. "Angry veteran," "alcoholic," "criminal," "casino owner," "environmentalist," "shaman," "wise spiritual type," etc.

    Worse, they'd say he was a Latino, Asian, or Middle Easterner because "Indians don't exist anymore."

    How many people would say he's a doctor, lawyer, executive, astronaut, or leading man? One in ten thousand? One in a million? Something like that, I'm sure.

    For more on casting decisions, see TV Grows Whiter in 2011-2012 and Adam Beach on Hollywood Stereotyping.

    Below:  Try the experiment yourself. What's this person's story?

    "Wild Man Caught"--August 29, 1911

    California Museum opening exhibit on 100th anniversary of day Ishi was found

    By Stephen MagagniniExactly 100 years ago, a starving Indian who spoke no recognizable language was captured near an Oroville slaughterhouse.

    Here's how The Bee described the incident in its Aug. 29, 1911 edition: "Wild Man Caught In Suburbs of Oroville–Evidently Last of Savage Tribe of Deer Creek Indians."

    The Indians–members of the Yahi and Yana tribes–had been massacred in 1865, 1866 and 1871. A few survivors hid out near Mill Creek east of Red Bluff.

    Sheriff's deputies fed the rangy, famished native doughnuts and beans–he preferred doughnuts–and turned him over to San Francisco anthropologists T.T. Waterman and Alfred Kroeber, who called him "Ishi," meaning man in Ishi's Yahi dialect.

    Today, the California Museum unveils a new exhibit honoring Ishi, California's most famous and misunderstood Indian.

    The sensational headlines–and his reputation as a noble savage–made him one of the most beloved American Indians, celebrated in books, plays and film.

    Kroeber, one of the fathers of modern anthropology, proclaimed Ishi "the last wild Indian of North America." His story has been taught to generations of California schoolchildren. But he wasn't the last of his tribe, and likely was not a full-blooded Yahi.

    The exhibit helps unravel the mystery of Ishi, who learned some English but never revealed his real name.
    Speeches, receptions mark 100th anniversary of the discovery of Ishi

    By Robin EpleySunday's 100th anniversary of the discovery of the last Yahi Native American known as Ishi was a day of both celebration and respectful remembrance for the town of Oroville.

    A day of speeches, receptions, museum visits and gatherings marked the anniversary, hosted by the Butte County Historical Society.

    Starting at 10 a.m. at Bicentennial Park, a reception with local historians, artists and researchers was held in a sort of question and answer session for the community. Many new facts have been found about Ishi in years past, and much of the legends surrounding his life before he was found in Oroville are untrue. Richard Burrill, a local author and historian, was also there to speak about his book on the subject, "Ishi's Untold Story."

    Afterwards, a walking tour of Oroville as it was in 1911, and how Ishi would have seen it during his first week in modern society, was provided. A reception at the Ehmann Home, across the street from what was the Oroville Jail cell where Ishi was held, provided a chance for Oroville residents to share their memories of the man who made their town famous.
    Comment:  For more on Ishi, see 100th Anniversary of IShi's Emergence and Ideas for Ishi Statue.

    Republican Jesus™

    Republican Jesus™

    By Justin "Filthy Liberal Scum" RosarioWho the hell is Republican Jesus™?

    Republican Jesus™ is very different than the Jesus you and I are familiar with. First off, he is White. Not just white, but White. Republican Jesus™ has a special place in his heart for America. Specifically, White America. Do you doubt this? Ask yourself why anyone who believes in a colorblind Jesus would even conceive of praying for the death of Obama? No, only those who follow Republican Jesus™ would even think that such a prayer could, or should, be answered. If you are currently thinking that racism has nothing to do with the unprecedented hatred of Obama, go away, I’m talking to the grownups.

    Republican Jesus™, by the way, is a big supporter of the Confederacy. Why he let them lose the War of Northern Aggression is a mystery. But all “real” Americans know that the South will rise again and Republican Jesus™ will lead the way back to glory. Or something like that. How the Northern and Mid-western Red states fit into this Southern revival is also a mystery.

    Republican Jesus™ loves guns. Loves them! Never mind all that silly talk of beating swords into plowshares! Every good member of the church of Republican Jesus™ should have, at minimum, enough armament to hold off an invasion by those commie Nazi liberal hordes that are coming any day now. Or the ATF, whichever shows up first. Or maybe just enough to wipe out a schoolroom filled with kids when their excellent parenting skills manifest themselves in the next Columbine tragedy.

    Remember, conservatives, to complain about anti-bullying programs being government overreach afterwards!

    Republican Jesus™ loves the rich. Ignore that whole “camel through the eye of a needle” garbage. Republican Jesus™ wants you to be prosperous! It’s called “prosperity theology” and it percolates throughout the conservative religious fervor. God rewards the faithful with material wealth. Very spiritual stuff. If your idea of spiritual is a McMansion.

    But Republican Jesus™ is not just about love. Republican Jesus™ also hates and, boy, does he hate!

    Republican Jesus™ hates the poor. This is the flip side of “prosperity theology.” If God rewards the faithful with riches, than the poor are obviously NOT of the faith and deserve what they get. This is, in part, why conservatives hate the social safety nets of welfare, food stamps and Medicaid. Those (and by “those” I mean those) people don’t worship Republican Jesus™ and are unworthy of being helped. Besides if you feed them, they’ll just breed!
    Comment:  If Jesus returned to Earth today, right-wingers would crucify him for his heresies.

    For more on the subject, see:

    Rubio:  Entitlements "weakened" us
    Whites think they're discriminated against
    David Duke speaks to teabaggers
    Teabaggers seek white Christian rule
    Rick Perry promotes Christian bigotry

    August 28, 2011

    Rubio:  Entitlements "weakened" us

    Rubio’s Reagan Speech:  Entitlements “Weakened” Us

    By Thomas LaneWith a tone that suggested he spoke more in sorrow than in anger, Rubio said that though the creation of a welfare state "was well-intentioned, it was doomed to fail from the start."

    "These programs actually weakened us as a people. You see, almost forever, it was institutions in society that assumed the role of taking care of one another. If someone was sick in your family, you took care of them. If a neighbor met misfortune, you took care of them. You saved for your retirement and your future because you had to. We took these things upon ourselves in our communities, our families, and our homes, and our churches and our synagogues. But all that changed when the government began to assume those responsibilities."

    Of course, one might argue that the reason welfare programs were created--with great popular demand--was precisely because in all too many cases "communities," "families," and "churches" weren't doing an adequate job. That hasn't prevented paeans of praise from flooding in from the right. The influential blog site RedState was fairly typical, headlining their take, "Marco Rubio speaking at the Reagan Library. OH HECK YEAH."
    Comment:  Who are these people who aren't taking care of each other? Who aren't tending to the sick or helping their neighbors? Who aren't saving for the future and their retirement?

    Well, obviously they're the people living off "entitlement" programs, according to Rubio. You know, the people "mooching" off health and welfare programs. The lazy, good-for-nothing welfare queens and cheats who won't get off their duffs and get a job because government pays them to be unemployed.

    Brown-skinned animals

    If Rubio doesn't say who "those people" are, other conservatives have let the secret slip. They're America's brown-skinned poor: blacks, Latinos, Indians, and others. You know, the people conservatives compare to animals.

    Nebraska AG Jon Bruning Compares Welfare Recipients To Scavenging Raccoons

    By Benjy SarlinNebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning, a frontrunner to win the GOP nomination against Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE), compared poor people to scavenging racoons in a speech this week.

    In a video captured by the liberal group, American Bridge 21st Century, Bruning makes the comparison as part of an elaborate metaphor originally focused on environmental regulations. He describes a requirement that workers at a construction project gather up endangered beetles by luring them into a bucket with a dead rat in order to release them elsewhere. But the plan is thwarted when hungry raccoons then eat them straight out of the rat-infested bucket. Which, according to Bruning, is a perfect image to illustrate how welfare recipients receive their benefits.

    "The raccoons figured out the beetles are in the bucket," Bruning said. "And its like grapes in a jar. The raccoons--they're not stupid, they're gonna do the easy way if we make it easy for them. Just like welfare recipients all across America. If we don't send them to work, they're gonna take the easy route."

    In Republican America, welfare recipients are no better than animalsWhile Bruning’s comments comparing welfare recipients to animals are absolutely disgusting, he’s not the only Republican who apparently thinks welfare recipients are no better than animals.

    Take the case of South Carolina Lt. Governor Andre Bauer, who during a speech in January 2011 said his grandmother told him “as a small child to quit feeding stray animals. You know why? Because they breed.” Doubling down on his comparison of welfare recipients to animals, Bauer continued, saying that receiving assistance from the government is “facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. They will reproduce, especially ones that don’t think too much further than that. And so what you’ve got to do is you’ve got to curtail that type of behavior. They don’t know any better.”

    Welcome to Republican America, where welfare recipients are no better than animals scavenging for food, instead of being real people who just need a hand up.
    Critics rip Rubio

    Back to Rubio's comments. Here's what people had to say about them:Wonder if his parents received any government help when they arrived from Cuba as exiles? Wonder if they're collecting Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid?

    Even better: Ask Mr. Rubio why programs like Social Security and Medicare weaken us a society, but subsidies to his backers (e.g., Big Sugar) don't.

    So, now that he and his family have safetly taken avantage of the "entitlements" that America has to offer and have given him a safe journey thru school, a good start on a career he now has the obligation to deny that to you or your brother or sister or friend or mother....He got his, so the hell with you.

    The precise reason why wage standards, unemployment insurance, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid were established was because people did not have the means. Keeping a sick, elderly relative at home meant waiting for that person to die (more or less since the average life expectancy before 1930 was under 60 yrs. of age for both sexes). How do you take care of someone with cancer or other serious ailments at home? In a church??? Our communities responded by electing representatives who went to Washington and acted in the interests of the public, not the monied interests gobbling up all the wealth and making people work/live in substandard conditions. They were fed up with the fact that before 1965 approx. half of the nation's seniors had no health insurance, 1 in 4 avoided treatment because of cost concerns, and 1 out of every 3 was living in poverty.

    "The right is not attacking safety net programs. We are saying they cannot continue as they are currently structured." That's just a lie, Rubio is clearly saying that the guarantees we make to old people are evil in principle.

    Read Rubio's speech (even just the extended quote in this story). "These programs actually weakened us as a people." Etc. And read your guy Perry's book--he was telling us to read it as recently as a few days ago, until his campaign told us it was no longer operative. Questioning these programs' constitutionality, which he clearly does in the book (and elsewhere), doesn't exactly make him sound like a guy who wants to propose a sustaining fix for them. If you sincerely want what you describe, you're in the wrong party.

    RighTeas want their entitlements (because, they're honestly entitled to them, of course). What they want is to prevent those who, in their Far White minds, are not honestly entitled to entitlements to be entitled to them as well. They simply don't want government to waste money that should go to them on all the undeserving, non-entitled people who are darker-skinned than themselves.

    Please, please, GOP, take your cue from Rubio and make sure you, a) continually talk about how bad entitlements are and demonize the lazy brown people who take advantage of them, and b) continually coddle the mega-rich and corporations by refusing to tax them reasonably and refusing to regulate them in any way. Please continue those extremist policies, and in due time even the dumbest hick in this country will have seen through your self-serving lies. And that is no small feat.
    For examples of Rubio's "blame the victim" mentality, see:

    Beck ridicules Lumbee woman
    Aboriginals to be "weaned from government teat"
    Commissioner:  Indians should get off the rez
    Roger:  Let Indians commit suicide
    Fox special on Indian "freeloaders"
    Mines minister blames the victim

    For more on the subject in general, see Why Americans Hate Welfare.

    Indians in Ace in the Hole

    Kirk Douglas stars in this 1951 movie with a Native subtext:

    Ace in the Hole

    By Christopher NullBilly Wilder made Ace in the Hole as a follow-up to the acclaimed Sunset Boulevard, essentially writing his own ticket in Hollywood. The story he opted to make was a cruel indictment of the American media, one which has only become more accurate and biting over the years. The film opens with reporter Chuck Tatum, a refugee from big city newspapers who's now stuck in a desolate New Mexico town. Desperate to get back on top (and earn enough money to feed his drinking habit), he stumbles upon the perfect story after toiling away for a miserable year in the sticks: A treasure hunter (a looter, if you will) has gotten stuck in a cave-in in some old Indian caves. Guy in a well: That'll sell papers, right?

    What follows is genius, as Tatum engineers the story to be far bigger than it really is: He colludes with a rescue engineer, a smarmy sheriff, and the wife (Jan Sterling) of the trapped caver to ensure that he's kept in the earth as long as possible. Rather than simply shore up some of the cave passages (Tatum can actually crawl to within a few feet of the guy), he convinces everyone to dig a new tunnel all the way to our poor trapped victim. This gives Tatum time to write more stories, sell them at top dollar to other newspapers, become a major celebrity in his own right, and land piles of cash.

    Naturally, he's going to lose his soul in the process. The only question is how soon, and how badly.
    Ace in the Hole

    By Ed GonzalezThe film's genius is the metaphoric impact the pressure outside the cave has on the inside; as the immorality escalates, Leo inches closer to death. And as the drill moves in on the man, its incessant sound serves to punish the people who've deliberately prolonged his suffering. "Why shouldn't we get something out of it," says someone at one point. This is the film's mantra of greed, and Ace in the Hole allowed Wilder to question the very nature of human interest stories and the twisted relationship between the American media and its public. More than 50 years after the film's release, when magazines compete to come up with the cattiest buzz terms and giddily celebrate the demise of celebrity relationships for buffo bucks, Ace in the Hole feels more relevant than ever.The Native aspects

    Ace in the Hole (film)The film set constructed outside Gallup was the largest non-combat set ever constructed at the time. It measured 235 feet (72 m) high, 1,200 feet (370 m) wide, and 1,600 feet (490 m) deep and included the ancient cliff dwelling, collapsed cave, roadside stands, parking lots, and the carnival site. More than 1,000 extras and 400 cars were utilized in the crowd scenes. After the film was completed, Paramount charged admission to the set.The cave extends from the rear of a Puebloan-style ruin into the mountain behind it. This ruin looked real to me. I was half-wondering if they'd drilled a hole through an old ruin.

    I ruled this out because 1) I figured Indian ruins were protected even in 1951, and 2) the ruin was sitting out in the open, at ground level. Most ancestral Puebloan ("Anasazi") ruins are in hidden alcoves or halfway up cliffs.

    The rest of the premise--that ancestral Puebloans dug tunnels into mountains and hid treasure there--is phony. So is the claim that the peak, called the "Mountain of the Seven Vultures," is cursed. But no one in a position of authority confirms these claims. We can believe the white man invented them after the Indians were gone.

    Tatum certainly doesn't believe there's a treasure or curse. He exploits the legends to write his ticket out of Albuquerque and back to the big leagues.

    Other Indian bits:

  • A couple of Navajos appear in the background as Tatum arrives in town.

  • Tatum passes a man who appears to be an Indian working a newspaper press. He calls the man "chief" initially but later treats him like anyone else.

  • Tatum asks a couple of locals--Indians or Latinos--if they'll enter the cave and rescue the trapped man. They say no because of the curse.

  • As tourists show up to see the spectacle, it turns into a "big carnival" (the title the film was released under). Hucksters set up teepees and pose for pictures dressed as Plains chiefs. Boys "play Indian" and shoot toy arrows. It's plausible that this would happen in a circus-like situation where Indians were involved.

  • Reviews

    More from Wikipedia:At the time of its release, critics found little to admire. In his review in the New York Times, Bosley Crowther called it "a masterly film" but added, "Mr. Wilder has let imagination so fully take command of his yarn that it presents not only a distortion of journalistic practice but something of a dramatic grotesque . . . [it] is badly weakened by a poorly constructed plot, which depends for its strength upon assumptions that are not only naïve but absurd. There isn't any denying that there are vicious newspaper men and that one might conceivably take advantage of a disaster for his own private gain. But to reckon that one could so tie up and maneuver a story of any size, while other reporters chew their fingers, is simply incredible."

    The Hollywood Reporter called it "ruthless and cynical...a distorted study of corruption and mob psychology nothing more than a brazen, uncalled-for slap in the face of two respected and frequently effective American institutions--democratic government and the free press."
    I guess the media couldn't handle the idea of a corrupt and venal media in 1951. Modern audiences and critics are more open to the idea, and thus the movie:Nathan Lee of The Village Voice wrote, "Here is, half a century out of the past, a movie so acidly au courant it stings."

    Time Out London wrote, "As a diatribe against all that is worst in human nature, it has moments dipped in pure vitriol." TV Guide called it "a searing example of writer-director Billy Wilder at his most brilliantly misanthropic" and adds, "An uncompromising portrait of human nature at its worst, the film . . . stands as one of the great American films of the 1950s."
    Ace in the Hole has a few flaws, but overall it's a fine movie. Rob's rating: 8.5 of 10.

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

    First Native female NASCAR truck owner

    Behind the scenes at the Mods race

    By Allen GregoryCrum’s mother Sabrina has played a pivotal role in her son’s path through the hype-competitive ranks of karting to trucks. According to a team source, Sabrina is the first Native American female truck owner in NASCAR history. She’s also the only female named as the World Karting Association Mechanic of the year.

    “We’ve been doing this as a family since Jake was five, and I’m always nervous when my son is on the track,” Crum said.
    Comment:  For more on the subject, see Mohawk NASCAR Driver and Mohegan NASCAR Champion.

    August 27, 2011

    Keystone XL pipeline protests to continue

    54 More Arrested at White House as Environmental Community Excoriate New State Department Report

    By JamieAs almost the entire environmental community condemned the final State Department report on the environmental impact of the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline released this morning, another 54 Americans were arrested at the White House today to push President Obama to stand up to Big Oil and deny the pipeline the permit necessary for construction.

    “The U.S. State Department’s final report on the Keystone XL today is an insult to anyone who expects government to work for the interests of the American people,” said the Sierra Club in a press release this morning. “The Sierra Club and our 1.4 million members and supporters are looking to President Obama for bold action and we urge him to reject this abomination.”

    NASA scientist Dr. James Hansen will join a large delegation of interfaith leaders for next Monday’s sit-in. Actor and natural gas fracking activist Mark Ruffalo will join Tuesday’s demonstration before a large contingent of former youth organizers for Obama risk arrest Wednesday morning.
    Native American and Canadian First Nations To Take Part In Largest Act of Civil Disobedience to Stop Keystone XL Pipeline

    By Clayton Thomas-MullerThe Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) is a national environmental justice and indigenous rights organization taking part in the largest act of civil disobedience in decades taking place at the White House in Washington DC from August 20 to September 3, 2011.

    The purpose of these actions is to send a direct message to President Obama to deny approval of the 1,702 mile Keystone XL pipeline. The pipeline would be transporting pollution from the tar sands (also known as oilsands) of Canada to the United States by carrying 900,000 barrels per day of thick, corrosive, toxic, synthetic crude oil for refining in Texas and the Gulf States. If approved, the Keystone XL would lock the US into a dependency of energy intensive, hard-to-extract dirty oil and create a massive expansion of the world’s dirtiest and most environmentally destructive form of oil development currently taking place in northern Alberta Canada. These operations are already producing 1.5 million barrels per day and having horrendous environmental justice and human rights impacts on the way of life and health of the local Native communities of Cree, Dene and Métis.

    The proposed pipeline threatens to pollute freshwater supplies in America’s agricultural heartland and grasslands with increased emissions in already-polluted communities of the Gulf Coast. The Keystone XL would cross Indian Country; States of Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas encompassing Indian-US treaty territories crossing water aquifers and rivers, grasslands, cultural sites and ecological sensitive areas. Leaks and spills are common occurrences from such pipelines that could result in disproportionate impact to Native Nations and thousands of tribal members. A spill from the Keystone XL poses an even greater threat, given that the pipeline would run directly through the Ogallala aquifer, which supplies one-third of our nation’s ground water used for irrigation, and drinking water to 2 million citizens.
    Comment:  For more on the subject, see Report Backs Controversial Oil Pipeline and Cardinal Arrested at White House Protest.

    Whites think they're discriminated against

    How Conservative Myths Stoke Racial Fear

    In the twisted right-wing version of history, whites are bias victims. Meanwhile, the poor get stiffed.

    By Jeffrey O.G. Ogbar
    I am also struck by how much the right has relied on outright fabrication of the country's history by insisting that institutionalized racism hardly ever existed. The right generally insists that white racism has no real effect on people's lives in the U.S., while exploiting racial fears and pernicious racial stereotypes with coded and not-so-coded language. The only "discrimination" is that directed against whites, pundits often argue. In fact, white Americans in general believe that whites suffer more discrimination today than African Americans do, according to a study released this May.

    Many whites believe that blacks are hired and promoted and get home loans easier than whites because of "racial preferences." Some even argue that the criminal justice system is soft on black people. One white nationalist website complains that because of the civil rights movement, "all [black criminals] have to worry about is a slap on the wrist from a judicial system that couldn't care less about White victims."

    What is remarkable about these "facts" is how far they are from the truth. Studies find that with identical résumés, those with "white sounding" names have a 50 percent higher response rate from prospective employees than do those with "black sounding" names. Whites on average outearn Latinos and blacks, with or without controlling for education.

    Since the Great Recession, average white net wealth has increased to 18 times that of Latinos and 20 times that of African Americans. The Latino unemployment rate is about 40 percent that of whites, while the African-American rate is 100 percent higher. Whites and blacks consume illegal drugs at similar rates, but whites are less likely than blacks to be stopped by the police, arrested or convicted--or to receive prison time once convicted--even for first-time offenders of the same crime.
    Comment:  For more on the Tea Party movement, see David Duke Speaks to Teabaggers and Teabaggers Seek White Christian Rule. For more on white fears in general, see Whites "Sick of the Race Card" and Whites Feel Like a Minority.

    Below:  Something teabaggers don't mention when they talk about returning to the past. I wonder why not?

    Cherokee pro bowler

    Talking with Bowler Mike Edwards, the Lone American Indian to Win a PBA Tour Title

    By Brian DaffronMike Edwards is part of a small club whose members include Notah Begay, Sam Bradford, Joba Chamberlain and Tahnee Robinson—Native Americans currently involved in professional sports.

    Edwards, an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation who is also of Chickasaw and Choctaw descent, has been an active participant in the Professional Bowlers Association tour since 1981. Residing in Tulsa, Oklahoma, he grew up around the sport, watching his parents play in league games.

    “I would just tag along,” Edwards said. “It was something for me to do. I wanted to try it. I played other sports growing up, but bowling was pretty natural for me. I was a natural athlete to start with—I had pretty good hand and eye coordination. It was just a natural talent that I had. I got better with age and technique.”

    As he grew into the sport, Edwards started hanging around higher average leagues and players, himself averaging 200-215 at age 10-11. In his teens, he grew away from bowling to pursue baseball and football. Around age 19, Edwards picked up the bowling ball again, playing in leagues around Tulsa and outside of Oklahoma.

    “It’s sort of a long transition,” Edwards said about his rise to the professional ranks. “I only dreamed about bowling on tour. I used to watch it on Saturday afternoons. Just until you get to a certain point, talent wise, you’re really not sure how good you are.”

    Since beginning professional bowling, Edwards is the only Native American to win a PBA Tour title and also holds six PBA Regional titles. But to Edwards, these alone are not the greatest achievements. Instead, Edwards said that his ability to stay in the sport for over two decades is a greater accomplishment.
    Comment:  For more on the subject, see Cherokee Nation Bowling Teams.

    August 26, 2011

    David Duke speaks to teabaggers

    The White Supremacist Roots Of The Tea Party’s Obama HateThe racial bigotry against President Obama began before he was inaugurated and has continued unabated to this day. The hatred against Obama cannot be for his policies because he is a Centrist who has enraged many on the Left for not acquiescing to their demands that he pursue a Progressive agenda. Teabaggers complained from the start of the president’s term in 2009 that he was taxing them too much even though the tax rates were from George W. Bush’s term. The president cut taxes shortly after taking office and the teabags still claimed Obama was overtaxing them. The teabaggers have complained about all of President Obama’s policies regardless that they benefited from his agenda, so the only explanation for their opposition that makes any sense is his race.

    David Duke made a video-taped speech for teabaggers that laid out bigoted reasons for the tea party’s desire to return America to the Founding Fathers’ days when African slaves were considered 3/5ths of a person and the predominant race was white. The racial bigot Duke told teabaggers that African Americans, Jews, and other minorities were interlopers trying to change America from a white man’s country into a diverse nation of ethnicities and that it will be the undoing of our country. No-one is surprised that David Duke is still a bigot, but his dysfunctional logic supporting ethnic cleansing gives one pause and informs why teabaggers want America to return to its original European, white roots set at the country’s founding.

    Duke accused Jews in the media of promoting President Obama, and throughout his speech refers to “real Americans” as European-American people who overwhelmingly did not vote for President Obama and reject him as the country’s leader. Duke claimed the original Boston tea party was a rejection of foreign intervention in America’s government and he goes on to insinuate that the president, Jews, and non-whites are a foreign power who are robbing European Americans of their freedom to rule themselves. To further his argument for white supremacy, he referred to the Founding Fathers’ first immigration policy that limited immigrants to “free white people.” The racial rant quotes Thomas Jefferson and cites his reason for opposing slavery as a “danger to our posterity,” and that Jefferson said “unless African slaves were repatriated to their motherland, he shudders for America’s future.” Duke also said Jefferson’s writings on the slavery issue have been “completely censored in the popular media” and that it is a despicable plot to fool the American people.
    There are many problems with Duke’s supremacist rant, and besides being sickening on many levels, it gives a clue to why teabaggers cite the Founders’ original intent at the nation’s beginning as being a golden age. Teabaggers and Duke have idealized the late 1700s as the model for 21st Century America as if the past two-hundred years of progress did not improve America. Duke’s racial tirade explains the Black voter suppression being supported by teabaggers as well as the attacks on women’s rights. Duke kept referring to the Founders’ and the Constitution, but never acknowledged the multitude of amendments that were necessary to keep pace with the changing landscape in this country.

    Teabaggers have opposed the 14th Amendment’s Citizenship Clause as well as the Equal Protection Clause that are part of the so-called “Reconstruction Amendments” that include the 13th and 15th Amendments that abolished slavery and granted voting rights to people of colour respectively. If America was constrained to the original 10 amendments in the Constitution, the country would be no better than a third-world country and anyone who was not white would be little more than property.
    You can watch the video here:

    David Duke Addressing the Tea Party

    Comment:  Note that Dukes is upfront about saying the Tea Party isn't a political movement, it's a racial movement. He's also upfront about stating it was a response to Obama's election, even though Obama has reduced our taxes even more than Bush did.

    Let's reiterate a key point:Teabaggers and Duke have idealized the late 1700s as the model for 21st Century America as if the past two-hundred years of progress did not improve America.Note that teabaggers never say, "Let's go back to 1900--after slavery ended but before the income tax was passed." They never talk about freeing the slaves and guaranteeing their rights as if that were a good thing. Indeed, they never talk about the Founders' bigoted belief that only white male property owners could govern the country.

    In short, their talk about returning to the Founders' Constitution and values means eliminating the rights of women and minorities. It means returning to white Christian rule.

    For more on the subject, see Teabaggers Seek White Christian Rule and Whites Feel Like a Minority.

    Below:  He killed Indians and enslaved blacks. That must be why he's the father of our country and so many people revere him.

    Report backs controversial oil pipeline

    Obama administration backs oil pipeline from Alberta to Texas

    Campaigners disappointed as White House says 1,700-mile pipeline will not cause significant environmental damage

    By Suzanne Goldenberg
    The Obama administration has given an important approval to a controversial pipeline that will pump oil from the tar sands of Alberta to the Texas coast.

    In a blow to campaigners, who have spent the last week at a sit-in at the White House, the State Department said the proposed 1,700-mile pipeline would not cause significant damage to the environment.

    The State Department in its report said the project–which would pipe more than 700,000 barrels a day of tar sands crude to Texas refineries–would not increase greenhouse gas emissions. It also downplayed the risks of an accident from piping highly corrosive tar sands crude across prime American farmland.

    Campaigners accused the State Department of consistently overlooking the potential risks of the pipeline.

    "The State Department…failed to acknowledge the true extent of the project's threats to the climate, to drinking water and to the health of people who would breathe polluted air from refineries processing the dirty tar sands oil," Friends of the Earth said in a statement.
    State Department to Allow Canadian Pipeline

    By John M. Broder and Clifford KraussIn reaching its conclusion that the Keystone XL pipeline from the oil sands deposits in Alberta would have minimal environmental impact, the administration dismissed criticism from environmental advocates, who said that extracting the oil would have a devastating impact on the climate and that a leak or rupture in the 36-inch-diameter pipeline could wreak ecological disaster. Opponents also said the project would prolong the nation’s dependence on fossil fuels, threaten sensitive lands and wildlife and further delay development of clean energy sources.

    The State Department said in an environmental impact statement that the pipeline’s owner, TransCanada, had reduced the risks of an accident to an acceptable level and that the benefits of importing oil from a friendly neighbor outweighed the potential costs.

    Final approval of the $7 billion project will not come before the end of the year, after public hearings and consultation with other federal agencies. But the State Department report Friday gave every indication that the administration was prepared to see Keystone proceed. The pipeline is expected to open in 2013 unless delayed by lawsuits or other challenges.

    For many in the environmental movement, the administration’s apparent acceptance of the pipeline was yet another disappointment, after recent decisions to tentatively approve drilling in the Arctic Ocean, to open 20 million more acres of the Gulf of Mexico for oil leasing and to delay several major air quality regulations. The movement is still smarting from the administration’s failure to push climate change legislation through Congress.
    Comment:  For more on the subject, see Tantoo Cardinal Marches Against Pipeline and 10-Year-Old vs. Oil Pipeline.

    Below:  "The proposed pipeline will carry oil from the tar sands of Alberta (above) to the Texas coast." (Jeff McIntosh/AP)

    Cherokee Supreme Court expels Freedmen

    Cherokee Tribe Kicks Out Slave Descendants

    Court stands by native American tribe's decisionThousands of black slave descendants who had the rights of Cherokee tribe members have now been stripped of these rights.

    Their rights, received because the native American tribe had owned their ancestors, were revoked on Monday (August 22) when the Cherokee Indian Supreme Court in the US upheld the tribe's decision to formally remove their membership.

    The court sustained the 2007 regulation made by the Cherokee nation to kick the so-called 'Freedmen' out of the tribe, overruling a previous vote made after the Civil War, which allowed the Cherokees to admit nearly 3000 African American slave descendants to the tribe.

    In the 1830s, the Cherokee nation, which was driven out of much of the east coast by land grabbing white settlers, headed south in what is known historically as The Trail of Tears. Many of the tribe brought their slaves with them on the commute.

    The news comes several months after a district court gave equal tribal citizenship rights to descendants, reportedly allowing the "Freemen" to be eligible for free health care and education in the US, amongst other benefits.

    Reacting to the ruling, Freedman leader and plaintiff, Marilyn Vann, told the Daily Mail : "This is racism and apartheid in the 21st Century."

    A spokesperson for the Cherokee's has not yet responded to the ruling.
    This issue probably isn't over yet. Besides a federal lawsuit and an act of Congress, there are other potential challenges.

    ‘Preparing for the worst’

    The Cherokee Nation is unsure whether Freedmen will sue to counter a ruling that strips their voting rights.

    By Teddye Snell
    Councilor Tina Glory-Jordan said she’s concerned that in the past, when the court disenfranchised Freedmen, the federal government triggered an automatic stoppage of housing funds.And:Cowan-Watts asked Stewart about the covenants the tribe holds with a number of banks, specifically the Bank of America, and asked what sort of impact the act could have on those covenants.Comment:  For more on the Cherokee Freedmen, see Court Grants Freedmen Citizenship and IndiVisible Responds to Freedmen Issue.

    New episodes of Navajo Cops

    'Navajo Cops' filming 6 new episodes on rez

    By Bill DonovanThe National Geographic Channel can't get enough of seeing Navajo Nation police officers in action.

    So after airing a one-hour documentary on the subject in May, the cable channel has now ordered another six episodes of the reality series "Navajo Cops."

    Crews from Flight 33 Productions, which did the first show, are now on the reservation and will spend the next several weeks filming Navajo police in the Crownpoint and Tuba City districts as they go about their duties.

    "National Geographic was happy with the response of the first show," said producer Sam Dolan. "It really held its audience and the word-of-mouth attracted people to watch it."

    What made that first show so unique, he said, was that it gave the audience a look at a different type of police operation, showing Navajo officers dealing with typical problems while at the same time being true to their culture.
    And:The popularity of the original show may have been helped by the fictional careers of Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee, the Navajo police protagonists of the late Tony Hillerman's best-selling crime novels set in Dinétah.

    "That show gave Hillerman fans a chance to see a police officer in action," Dolan said.

    Reality shows based on law enforcement are very popular right now and the National Geographic Channel has seen good ratings with shows like "Border Wars," which shows the U.S. Border Patrol in action.

    Dolan said that when he was growing up in northern Arizona, he was a fan of the Hillerman books and when his father, who also works with the production company, were trying to think of a program that would fit in with NatGeo, the discussions soon focused on a program showing the Navajo police in action.
    Comment:  This article doesn't mention that some people didn't like the first episodes. For more on the subject, see Navajo Cops Stereotypes Indians and Navajo Cops on National Geographic Channel.

    Below:  Wes Studi as Joe Leaphorn.

    What would Crazy Horse do?

    Passion River Films Releases "Questions for Crazy Horse," Native American Film Exploring History and Current Issues of the Lakota

    Called “Imaginative, fearless” by MovieMaker Magazine Editor-In-Chief Tim Rhys, “Questions For Crazy Horse” is available on DVD 9/20/11“Questions for Crazy Horse” presents a thorough look at how the Lakota (Sioux) of South Dakota have been impacted by the life of Crazy Horse. Featuring American Indian icons Russell Means (Last of the Mohicans) and Jay Red Hawk (Deadliest Warrior), this Native American film releases on 9/20/11.

    Filmmaker Oliver Tuthill travels to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, as well as the Black Hills of South Dakota, to film and research his documentary “Questions for Crazy Horse: Hypothetical Conversations with the Strange Warrior of the Oglala Lakota.” He speaks with tribe members who comment on how Crazy Horse might have felt about adversity facing the Lakota today. The most notable issue is also the longest running legal case in U.S. history: the Lakota versus the United States concerning their confiscation of the Black Hills, considered holy ground by the Lakota.
    Comment:  For more on Crazy Horse, see Crazy Horse Memorial Highway and White Buffalo = Marauding Indian.

    August 25, 2011

    Teabaggers seek white Christian rule

    The latest studies on the Tea Party philosophy confirm what previous studies have shown: that the movement is primarily about reinforcing white Christian power at the expense of minorities.

    Crashing the Tea Party

    By David E. Campbell and Robert D. PutnamOur analysis casts doubt on the Tea Party’s “origin story.” Early on, Tea Partiers were often described as nonpartisan political neophytes. Actually, the Tea Party’s supporters today were highly partisan Republicans long before the Tea Party was born, and were more likely than others to have contacted government officials. In fact, past Republican affiliation is the single strongest predictor of Tea Party support today.

    What’s more, contrary to some accounts, the Tea Party is not a creature of the Great Recession. Many Americans have suffered in the last four years, but they are no more likely than anyone else to support the Tea Party. And while the public image of the Tea Party focuses on a desire to shrink government, concern over big government is hardly the only or even the most important predictor of Tea Party support among voters.

    So what do Tea Partiers have in common? They are overwhelmingly white, but even compared to other white Republicans, they had a low regard for immigrants and blacks long before Barack Obama was president, and they still do.

    More important, they were disproportionately social conservatives in 2006—opposing abortion, for example—and still are today. Next to being a Republican, the strongest predictor of being a Tea Party supporter today was a desire, back in 2006, to see religion play a prominent role in politics. And Tea Partiers continue to hold these views: they seek “deeply religious” elected officials, approve of religious leaders’ engaging in politics and want religion brought into political debates. The Tea Party’s generals may say their overriding concern is a smaller government, but not their rank and file, who are more concerned about putting God in government.
    "A low regard for immigrants and blacks." "Concerned about putting God in government." In other words, racial and religious bigots. That teabaggers have no prejudices and care only about the size of government is a bald-faced lie they've somehow perpetuated. And many naive, gullible voters have bought it.

    Study:  Tea Party Members Cultural Dispositions ‘Authoritarianism, Fear of Change, Libertarianism and Nativism’

    By Kyle LeightonWhat are the four primary characteristics most associated with those Americans sympathetic to the Tea Party? "Authoritarianism, ontological insecurity (fear of change), libertarianism and nativism." So says one of the many findings in a study presented to the American Sociological Association on Monday.In our follow-up poll, 84% of those positive towards the TPM [Tea Party members] said the Constitution should be interpreted "as the Founders intended," compared to only 34% of other respondents. Other respondents were also three times more likely not to have an opinion on the issue, highlighting the salience of the question for TPM supporters. Support for Constitutional principles is not absolute. TPM supporters were twice as likely than others to favor a constitutional amendment banning flag burning; many also support efforts to overturn citizenship as defined by the Fourteenth Amendment. That TPM supporters simultaneously want to honor the founders' Constitution and alter that same document highlights the political flexibility of the cultural symbols they draw on.Nativism translates to hatred of brown-skinned "foreigners" such as Latinos and Muslims. As does "original intent," which means restoring power to white property owners at the expense of women and minorities.

    And "political flexibility" is a euphemism for hypocrisy. You can be sure teabaggers are hypocritical on their so-called libertarianism too. They want a strong defense, Social Security and Medicare benefits, bans on abortion and gay marriage, and government promotion of Christianity.

    The fact that teabaggers even mention Christian is proof of their hypocrisy. True libertarians should be absolutely opposed to any religion in government. They shouldn't care whether America's leaders and principles are Christian, Muslim, or Buddhist as long as the government is small and weak. But teabaggers care very much about which religion governs America. They strongly prefer a white Christian government (George W. Bush) to a brown "Muslim" government (Barack Obama).

    What teabaggers really want

    What I Learned in Two Years at the Tea Party

    By Abe SauerThe Tea Party is no longer about economics, not that it ever solely was. At the larger rallies and for the cameras (CNN or laptop), they hold forth about founding fathers, liberty, spending, deficits, TARP, kicking cans down roads, taxes, living within means and fiscal responsibility. But when the lights are off, it's all about Jesus, with "God" thrown in, on occasion for Israel.

    Back in 2009, the movement appeared genuinely stumped with a conundrum of its key documents. Subservience to the Constitution of the United States of America was paramount, but then what to do about the Bible?

    So they've engineered a backstory that essentially proves the nation's founders were just conduits for God. Essentially, the Constitution is just the word of God passed down through guys who wore wigs and snazzy cuffed jackets.

    That the Tea Party is just a way to repackage the religious right has no better proof than Ralph Reed. In 2009, Reed took the tenets of his 90s-era Christian Coalition for his "Faith and Freedom Coalition," which is now a major player at Tea Party events.

    In April, in the high din of the Wisconsin budget debate, I attended a full day's meeting of the northeast Wisconsin Manitowoc Tea Party (now officially called the "Manitowoc County TEA-Movement"). It began with a prayer that included the statement that "we have neglected...the only nation founded on Christian principles."

    Held in a local hotel ballroom, the meeting consisted of info sessions and speakers. The "training" sessions were largely civic and cartographical—who's your rep, where to vote, that kind of thing. The day's speakers were a mix of community organizers and preachers. American Majority operatives did sessions on "The System" (smaller-government, term-limit doctrine) and "Social Media" ("How many here have a Twitter account?"). These info sessions were balanced by Jake Jacobs and Kyle Desjarlais.

    Jake Jacobs (Ph.D!) is the head of FreedomProject Education, which, not to get too into it, provides “a classical education in the tradition of America’s Founders." It is, essentially, as Jacobs out it in his exhaustive address, a curriculum about America's Judeo-Christian founding. (They are an arm of the American Opinion Foundation.) Jacobs' hour-long rant mixed historical evidence of the founding father's Christian intentions for America with conspiracy theories about Barack Obama and Columbia University, Bill Ayers, Sharia, Hitler, the Kentucky and Virginia acts of 1789, Sean Penn, his former students' persecution in college "for their Christian conservatism" and "how to refute the argument that Jesus was a socialist." (Which, by the way, is to note that "thou shall not steal" is a direct rebuttal to how "socialists despise private property." Jacobs' lessons (available online) are set up especially for home-schoolers.

    "Let's emulate our pioneering forefathers who cheated and killed the Indians because God told them to."

    Minuteman to Tea Party:  A Grassroots Rebranding

    By David HolthouseGrinning on the sidelines behind mirrored sunglasses was Glenn Spencer, the leader of the border vigilante group American Border Patrol and the owner of the Tea Party Nation rally site.

    Spencer informed Media Matters that he travels almost weekly to speak at Tea Party events, and that his ranch, the onetime vigilante outpost where Forde took shelter, is now a Tea Party rallying point. "Plans are for Tea Party groups to come to the ranch every week from now on," he said. "They are really fired up over the border issue."

    Despite his association with Forde and his well-documented history of bigoted ranting and "reconquista" conspiracy mongering, Spencer is a rising star in the Tea Party movement.

    He's not alone.

    Over the past two years, more than a dozen former border vigilante leaders have taken on key roles in the Tea Party movement. Some, like Spencer, continue to maintain their hard-core nativist personas. Others have sought to separate themselves from their Minuteman identities in pursuit of mainstream political legitmacy.
    Comment:  Minutemen want to stop immigration by any means necessary. They're one step away from militia men who talk about armed revolution and "joke" about killing Obama. These Klansmen, Neo-Nazis, and Christian "patriots" form the core of the Tea Party movement. Their goal is a Christian theocracy where white men rule.

    For more proof of the Tea Party's racism, see:

    Another poll proves teabaggers are racists
    Poll proves teabaggers are racists
    The evidence for teabagger racism

    For examples of this racism, see:

    Rick Perry promotes Christian bigotry
    Stossel:  Indians are biggest moochers
    White supremacists outnumber Muslim extremists
    Whites feel like a minority
    Fischer defends pro-genocide column
    Bachmann fibs about America's founding
    Obama's UN "coup" is "chilling"

    TV grows whiter in 2011-2012

    Concerns about lack of minorities in NBC's family

    Latino groups raise an issue with KNBC, and NBC's fall schedule shows a reversal from characters' ethnic diversity last season.

    By Greg Braxton
    Then-diversity chief Paula Madison maintained in a February radio interview with noted sociologist Michael Eric Dyson that Comcast's NBCUniversal was committed to increasing diversity "in all facets of our business.…Those commitments are in writing, and they are on file with the FCC. There is no likelihood that we would revert. We're not going to put shows on the air that are devoid of diversity."

    But little more than six months after the approval of the merger by the Federal Communications Commission, and three months after Madison retired, some of NBCUniversal's units have come under fire as advocates claim that the company is not honoring promises that helped pave the way for the merger's approval.

    KNBC Channel 4, NBCUniversal's Los Angeles station, has been targeted by two Latino journalist groups who say the newsroom is discriminating against Latino anchors. And NBC's upcoming fall schedule shows a marked reversal from last season, when the merger was still pending and the network developed "Undercovers" as well as other shows with minorities in major roles, such as "Outlaw," "The Event" and "Outsourced." Those series were all casualties of low ratings, and the new pilots show few people of color in leading roles.
    And:Among the six new series in the fall, only one—"The Playboy Club"—has a minority in a leading role (Cuban-American actor Eddie Cibrian). The cast of the romantic workplace comedy "Free Agents" is predominantly white. In "Prime Suspect," a New York-based police drama starring Maria Bello, the detective squad has only one person of color while the criminals are black and Latino. (The same scenario parallels NBC's 2009 pilot of "Southland," an LAPD drama that was yanked after one season on NBC but found a new home—and more ethnic cast members—on TNT.) The new comedies don't reflect the multicultural flavor of veteran NBC comedies "Community," "30 Rock," "The Office" and "Parks and Recreation."

    NBC is not the only network struggling with the issue this season; new shows on rival networks feature few people of color in prominent roles. CBS has only one person of color in its new fall lineup, Oscar nominee Taraji P. Henson ("The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"), playing a supporting role on "Person of Interest." Fox and ABC fare slightly better: Shelley Conn stars in Fox's "Terra Nova" while ABC's revamp of "Charlie's Angels" stars Annie Ilonzeh, an African American actress, as one of the Angels, while their protector Bosley is played by Ramon Rodriguez.
    Less Color in Your TV:  Onscreen Diversity in DeclineBack in the spring, before the fall lineups were set, representatives of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists’ Equal Employment Opportunities Department and the National Association of Latino Independent Producers spoke hopefully of the pilots being developed. But a promising pilot season has led to an unpromising fall. That’s not just unfortunate for actors of color. It’s also poor representation of an American population that is growing less white. In the 2000 U.S. census, 77.1 percent of Americans listed their race as “white.” In 2010, that number fell to 72.4 percent. Meanwhile, the percentages of Hispanics, African Americans, and Asian Americans all grew.

    For working actors of color, more diversity on network television means more jobs. More diversity in lead roles means more awesome jobs. But to convince the network executives who make programming decisions that diversity is a more worthwhile goal than they apparently think it is, advocates must hammer away at the notion that in order to reach a more diverse America, the networks must present a more diverse face. AFTRA, the Screen Actors Guild, and others have already been making that argument for some time now. Sadly, it looks like they’ll need to make it again come pilot season 2012.
    Comment:  Actor Zahn McClarnon is in the pilot of the new CW series Ringer, but that's the only TV casting news I've heard about Natives. Even at 1-2% of the population, they're underrepresented again. As usual.

    For more on the subject, see Tyler Blackburn in The New World and Asian Indian Cast as Navajo.

    Below:  Boris Kodjoe as Steven Bloom and Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Samantha Bloom in the short-lived show "Undercovers." (Frank Ockenfels/NBC)