April 21, 2007

Dueling views of the Blackfeet

Here's a reservation that's similar to and located near the fictional Prairie Rose reservation in SCALPED. These two articles about it appeared the same day:

Deaths prompt outcry: BIA law enforcement is failing, Blackfeet leaders say"Today, our reservation is lawless," charged Roger "Sassie" Running Crane, vice chairman of the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council.

"It has become a dumping ground for drugs," he said. "We have a number of assaults, sex crimes, spousal abuse, rapes and a lot of murders.

"And we never know if a crime has been investigated," he added.
Event displays Blackfeet cultureThe Days of the Blackfeet kicks off Monday with a native film festival, art show and sale and a presentation on the history of Indian horse racing. Traditional games, a double-ball competition, lectures on language and pemmican-making demonstrations also are part of a packed four-days of cultural events.

Celebrating its 30th anniversary this week, the college began the Days of the Blackfeet festival in the early 1990s as a way of encouraging the community to learn more about the school and the Blackfeet Tribe's history and culture.

"We're really trying to serve as a living memorial for the Blackfeet Tribe and preserve the traditions and cultures of the Blackfeet people," she said.
Comment:  These articles show the balance so evidently missing in SCALPED. Sure, there's a lot of poverty, crime, and despair. There's also a lot of culture, education, and hope. The second part of this equation is missing from SCALPED. Its portrayal is one-dimensional because it portrays only one dimension of rez life.

A note on the first article: Even though the BIA has taken over from the tribal police, the rez is still described as "lawless." But this obscures a key point. No way would the federal government allow the corrupt tribal police in SCALPED to go unchecked. It would intervene long before conditions reached the state of lawlessness shown in SCALPED.

The BIA cops might not do any better than the tribal cops, but the (corrupt) tribal cops would be out of a job. So would the corrupt tribal leadership of Lincoln Red Crow, the tribe's boss. As I said before, the situation in SCALPED could never occur today.

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