By Susan Field
Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Chief Steve Pego on Wednesday denounced the chief financial officer of a telecommunications firm after the man left a Tribal employee a voice mail filled with racial slurs and a veiled threat that is under investigation by the Department of Homeland Security.
Pego also asked all Natives and minority groups to stand with the Tribe in denouncing Kirk Shewchuck of Lansing-based ACD.net, a telecommunications firm that offers fiber optic service, metro ethernet, telephone, hosted phone service, DSL, Datacenter and web hosting services.
Shewchuck left a voice mail May 20 for Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Planning Engineer Donald Seal regarding an easement in which ACD.net wanted to erect a cell phone tower, Tribal Spokesman Frank Cloutier said.
Because the land is in federal trust, the Tribe’s legal department instructed ACD.net to contact the planning department, Cloutier said.
Shewchuck apparently failed to properly hang up his phone after leaving a message for Seal, and racial slurs and vulgarity can be heard on the lengthy voice mail.
On the voice mail, the speaker, identified as Shewchuck, called Tribal members f**king Indians and said “let’s call them red men.”
Shewchuck is also alleged to have said “let’s sic the” Sault or Sioux Tribe “on you!” and “Let’s get a good old fashioned Indian war going!”
A man can be heard saying “woo woo woo woo” and laughing on the message, and later “you know what happens to you cell phone signals...I’ll turn it back on in a few minutes after you agree to...maybe they would like that.”
Apology attempts begin
Lansing firm wants to meet with chief over message; Tribe declines
By Susan Field
Joe Ross, who said he is ACD.net’s public information manager, also said the telecommunication firm’s chief executive officer, Kevin Schoen, wants to meet in person with Tribal Chief Steve Pego to discuss “concerns” about the voice mail message.
Recorded after ACD.net Chief Financial Officer Kirk Shewchuck apparently did not hang his phone up properly, the message included racist slurs, swearing, threats to “sic” the Sault Tribe to start a “good old fashioned Indian war” and threats about scrambling cell phone signals at the Tribe’s Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort.
Shewchuck identified himself on the message he left for Tribal Planning Engineer Donald Seal when he called to discuss a proposed cell phone tower that the firm wants to construct on trust land, Tribal Spokesman Frank Cloutier said Thursday.
“There’s no malice on Kirk’s part,” Ross said. “We really want to talk to the chief.”
While Ross said he spoke to Cloutier about setting up a meeting, Chief Pego is not interested in sitting down with anyone from ACD.net.
Cloutier confirmed that he spoke to Ross and said that Tribal Council is currently discussing the issue with the Tribe’s legal department.
Tribal Council members are also contemplating going to Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Police because of the possible criminal content in the message related to jamming of cellphone towers, Cloutier said.
In the CFO's mind, "red men" and "f**king Indians" are synonymous. In particular, "red men" is an inferior subspecies of men. Indians aren't men, they're an odd red-colored variant. They're fake men, like cardboard cutouts, lacking the full-fledged reality of (white) men.
The CFO and his cohorts made this clear when they talked about starting an "Indian war" and made the "woo woo" sound. To them, Indians are warrior thugs who are good for nothing but fighting and killing. They're "red" not only because of their skin but because they paint themselves and end up covered in blood. They're barbarians who lack civilized
beliefs and values.
The same thinking applies to the ethnic slur and team name "Redskins." Indeed, there's a continuum of beliefs from "f**king Indians" to "redskins" to "red men." All are variations on a theme, which is Indians as subhuman savages.
Repeating these slurs instills the corresponding beliefs in people's minds. It's like brainwashing. When you hear "red men," "redskin," and "savage" over and over, you start to believe they're reality. A million people chanting the epithets can't be wrong. Indians must be primitive people of the past because every word and image in our society says so.