February 09, 2008

Review of Little Bighorn Remembered

I'd say this 2003 History Channel documentary was good but not great. It quoted enough Indians that I'd say it was balanced. But I wouldn't call it pro-Indian.

The subtitle promised the "Untold Indian Story of Custer's Last Stand." I supposed it delivered that when it reported Edward S. Curtis's unpublished account of the battle. It also delivered this tidbit:

'Little Bighorn Remembered'--reconsidering Custer's last standCuster had made a promise not to fight the Cheyenne. He broke that promise. And "the cosmic meaning of the Indian victory at Little Bighorn," Viola writes, "is the clearest in the often repeated story of Custer's broken vows." To the Cheyenne, "the inevitable outcome--Custer's personal annihilation and all the consequences--was proof of the working of great spiritual power."But the rest of the documentary was standard history. It was less revealing than what you'd read in Dee Bowen's Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. Not to mention James Welch's Killing Custer.

In fact, I detected a subtle anti-Indian bias in Little Bighorn Remembered. For instance, it claimed a single event--the Minnesota Massacre--and not a conflux of political, economic, and cultural factors launched the Indian wars. It reported the glorification of Custer and the outrage over massacres by Indians without editorial comment.

Ultimately, it said the Indians were brave but doomed. A couple of problems with that. One, they weren't doomed, since they didn't die out. Two, they were "doomed" as independent nations only because of the racist and genocidal attitude of American society. With a different attitude, the independent nations might've survived and flourished.

If you believe Native defeat was inevitable, see Was Native Defeat Inevitable? There I present several scenarios in which Indians could've survived as independent nations. The answer to the question I posed is no.

Rob's rating for Little Bighorn Remembered:  7.0 of 10.


dmarks said...

Minnesota Massacre? That is a name I had not seen before for that event. However, I have see it directly connected to Little Bighorn like this.

writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
But the Indians WERE doomed, as their cultures were under assault and their numbers were being reduced to near-extinction levels. Many tribes did not survive and thus many cultures did not survive. As well, the surviving tribes were plummeted to populations where their genetic diversity equalled zero. As they slowly recovered from such genocide, they all were endangered by new assaults by EuroMan's diseases. Witness that almost every Native alive past 1920 was afflicted by Tuberculosis and then you begin to understand the principle. Somehow, Native tribes indeed lived past that terrible time, and now amid a modern resurgence, they find themselves under new assault. Read this, and weep...
Tulsa, OK (AP - Feb. 9, 2008)
Some American Indian tribes that operate casinoes in Oklahoma disagree with an Oklahoma Supreme Court ruling in a lawsuit against a tribe that claims a woman's injuries were caused when an intoxicated casino patron crashed into her.
By a 7 - 2 vote Tuesday, the Supreme Court overturned previous rulings by a Pottawatomie District Judge and the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals. Both of the lower courts had dismissed the case based on tribal sovereign immunity.
The lawsuit stems from an April 2004 car accident along State Highway 9 in Pottawatomie County in which Little Axe teacher Shatona Bittle was seriously injured. Bittle's attorneys argued the driver who caused the crash, Valentine Bahe, had been drinking at the nearby Thunderbird Casino, which is owned and operated by the Absentee Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma.
Bahe died in the crash.
The decision did not address the merits of the case, which was ordered back to the district court for consideration.
Supreme Court Justice Joseph Watt said the tribe's claim to sovereign immunity was waived when it agreed to be bound by a state law that allows for the casino to be licensed to sell liquor by the drink.
Osage Nation attorney Gary Pitchlynn said that reasoning was "juvenile." He said that tribal agreements with governments cannot wipe away a tribe's sovereign immunity.
"A waiver of sovereign immunity has to be clear and explicit," Pitchlynn said. "I can guarantee you that if tribes signed away their immunity when entering compacts, then there would be no compacts by any tribe with the state."
He suggested that Federal Courts eventually could decide the questions raised by the State Supreme Court ruling.
Cherokee Nation spokesman Mike Miller said the Tahlequah-based tribe disagrees with the ruling but that it shouldn't immediately affect its casino operations.
He said that a policy is in place at the Cherokee casinoes to not serve alcohol to visibly intoxicated customers. (End)
The 'Indian Wars' still are underway in 2008, and one of them is being fought right here on this blogsite. The webmaster believes that he knows more about Natives than Natives, simply because of what he has read. He actually believes that US laws concerning Native gaming protect the Natives, but the action stated above makes all of such belief a lie...
All Best
Russ Bates

Rob said...

They were doomed, but they somehow survived? I guess you don't know the meaning of the word "doomed."

No, Russ, I don't claim to know more about Natives than Natives. I claim only to know more than you, an intellectual lightweight who can't provide a source for his claims or even check his mistakes in the dictionary.

Thanks for the news flash about the Oklahoma ruling. I already know about it since I posted some stories on it on PECHANGA.net.

No one has said "US laws concerning Native gaming" don't infringe on tribal sovereignty occasionally. What I've said is that gaming laws generally protect tribal members from getting ripped off by their governments. These are two entirely different subjects, although you may not be clever enough to realize it.

writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
But then again, what's the frequency, Kenneth? What you are saying is that the gaming laws were written to protect Natives against themselves, but NOT to protect them from EuroMen! Or even you, Rob! Wow, the more we are given to listen, the more we learn. Tell us MORE, Rob. Other Federal offices want to hear what you have to say now...
All Best
Russ Bates

Rob said...

I didn't say gaming laws protect only tribal members. Are you really this incapable of reading plain English? Or are you just sniping again because that's all you ever do?

So you're ignorant of gaming laws too? You have to guess what they say because you don't have a clue? Hmm, no surprise there.

The laws--primarily stemming from the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act and the Johnson Act--are designed to protect everyone from crime and corruption. "Everyone" includes customers, employees, vendors, owners and investors, government agencies, and the general public. It includes Indians and non-Indians alike.

Indians may belong to any of the categories I listed. If we're talking about protecting tribal members from getting ripped off by their governments, they'd fall into the "owner" category. Some gaming laws protect tribal members who collectively own casinos; other gaming laws protect other people.

Sheesh, it's like talking to a child with you.

Fortunately, there's no need to take my word for it. Unlike you, I can back up my statements with facts and evidence. Read about the laws, and alleviate your ignorance, here:

NIGC--Laws and Regulations