By Ruth Hopkins
I’m hardly dazzled by their selection. As a native woman I’m turned off by anything that appears half-hearted or cowardly. By naming “The Protestor” as its Person of the Year, Time attempted to appease the masses by using a nonspecific catch-all descriptor. In reality such a short-sighted, anesthetized, blanket acknowledgement only serves to water down the potency of the historic, meaningful deeds of those it meant to honor. Time pulled this stunt before: most recently in 2006, when it named “You” its Person of the Year, meaning the millions of people who anonymously contribute user-generated web content to Wikipedia, YouTube, MySpace (remember Myspace?), Facebook, and other similar websites, cause you know, we, i.e. “You” use the internet and occasionally buy magazines and stuff. What’s the point of selecting a Person of the Year if millions of people, all with different motives and levels of sincerity, are lumped together into one faceless heap? It’s like giving everyone in class an ‘A’ regardless of whether or not they turned in their homework or studied for the final.
Indian Country presented its own heroes in 2011. Debra White Plume, a Lakota grandmother, has become a prominent figure in the Environmental movement. She protests uranium mining on Tribal lands, and was arrested at the White House during protests against the Keystone XL pipeline this year. 102 years after his death, Geronimo made international headlines after it was revealed that his name was used as a code for Osama bin Laden in the Navy Seal operation to dispose of the terrorist. There was a public outcry throughout Indian country and the world, yet President Obama refused to issue an apology for the slight. If Time magazine intended to honor the spirit of defiance of protestors, they could have done no better than naming Geronimo their 2011 Person of the Year.
Below: An alternate cover for Time magazine's announcement. Since I protest more than almost anyone, I should've been Time's Person of the Year.