February 28, 2013

Phony pro-gun Indian image

Perhaps because of the 40th anniversary of Wounded Knee II, this image was floating around Facebook recently. I didn't pay attention to it until someone asked me about it. Then I reposted it with the following comments:

1) Wounded Knee wasn't a school shooting. 2) The massacre happened while the troops were disarming the Lakota, not after. 3) More guns wouldn't have made a difference since the US had more or less won at that point. 4) Gun nuts are stupid.

Also, no one's proposing to take away people's guns. The right-wing hysteria on this point is...hysterical.

Let the discussion begin

This posting led to the following discussion with a Facebook friend:I don't get it. Is the claim of this a stretch, a misleading half truth, is that what you're saying? Confusing. Why then the wording "the US gov shot 290 unarmed Indians at School," emphasis on "at School"?? Context here would be good as the words Wounded Knee are absent from the message, and so is anything that would indicate a school. Then the comparison to Sandy Hook which is named, though the location of this pic is not. Very confusing. And yet being 'shared' like crazy, as usual on Fb, so it's appealing to people for some reason. Why do you think that is?

Let me guess: there was a school at the site of WK in 1890?
The year and the number dead makes it clear this refers to Wounded Knee. No, there was no school involved in the massacre. The Lakota were camping in a field, not at a school. I doubt any of the people killed had ever attended a white man's school.

The massacre did occur while the Army was taking the Lakotas' guns. Gun fanatics are using this fact to argue against gun control.

I presume they're trying to arouse liberal sympathy by pretending that gun confiscation was behind Wounded Knee and other Indian massacres. As far as I know, a lack of guns wasn't a significant factor in any battle or massacre, so the claim is false.Why then is this being 'shared' by people, NA people and supporters, with sentiments like "Aho!" and "Never forget, and seemingly without thinking what this meme really says??They aren't as sharp as I am. They're probably not paying attention to the final line. Superficially, the message is, "You think Sandy Hook was bad? Wounded Knee was much worse." But the real message is, "The government kills people after taking their guns, so don't support gun control."A person doesn't have to be sharp to realize this pic is USING Indian people in a message, yet Indian people are sharing it like crazy. It's insidious.If they're sharing it without thinking about or commenting on it critically, they aren't that sharp. The "290 unarmed Indians at school" line is patently false.

I'm pretty sure the picture isn't from Wounded Knee either. The two guys in front look like white men leading a prayer service. Why would people be lined up to pray just before a massacre when they were surrounded by machine guns?You saying people can't read? Can't see the distortion of facts here? To me, there'd be nothing wrong with posting the pic alone with "never forget (WK)" and sharing/reposting that. But the text part of this, the message re guns and schools or is CLEARLY out of context. And false.I've told you my theory. People are missing the obvious because Facebook encourages mindless sharing. They may do things mindlessly, but I don't.

If you disagree with this theory, what's your explanation for why people are sharing it? You think they know something about the Wounded Knee massacre that I don't? What, exactly?

Image = propagandaSo why the association to WK? And why this week / today when the 40th anniversary of WK is being observed? INSIDIOUS is what I'm saying. Native people sharing this shit all over Fb breaks my heart, it really does. So much for the "respect" NA people are fighting so hard for, and by not THINKING a simple thought... i.e. "Hey, was there even a school at WK?" or "Where was this pic taken?" In essence, NA people--mostly Democrat leaning people--are sharing R-wing propaganda....against themselves and against credibility. *SMH. Insidious.As I said, you theoretically arouse liberal sympathy for guns by painting the government as an evil killer of innocent unarmed people. Of which Wounded Knee is the most famous example.

Never mind that this same government used force to integrate the schools and safeguard other civil rights. It's silly to think the government still wants to massacre civilians 123 years later.

As for why now, it could be just a coincidence. It's a little farfetched to think anyone's making a connection between Wounded Knee II, which happened in 1973, and this image. Wounded Knee II happened in the same area but it wasn't about the massacre 83 years earlier. Not directly, anyway.

People may be sharing this because everyone's talking about Wounded Knee II today, and it reminds them of Wounded Knee I. But I doubt someone created it to be shared today. I bet it's been floating around for weeks or months, and just gained currency today.Yea "reminds" of WK (insidious) but is this not obvious distortion to ANYONE who reads it? A school has nothing to do with WK, ought to be the first clue. And this to Indian people who are so proud of KNOWING their history. This is bullshit.The sepia-toned photograph of Indians is meant to remind you of Wounded Knee. But pictures of mangled bodies might not arouse the same sympathy. Perhaps more important, you couldn't pretend Wounded Knee involved a crowd gathered at a school. Showing the poor defenseless "school shooting victims" before the gun-taking government slaughtered them increases the propaganda effect.

As for whether it's obvious, ask people who shared it without commenting on the pro-gun message. Let's see what they say.

P.S. This is a good case for your Word of the Week "insidious." <grin>Yea har har W.O.D= insidious, I'll laugh later, right now I'm just stunned at the stupidity of people.The photo's origin

Another Facebook friend found the original photo online:

It's labeled "Kamloops Indian Residential School Priest Parents Indian Children."

Kamloops is in British Columbia. And what exactly is this school? Wikipedia provides the answer:

Kamloops Indian Residential SchoolThe Kamloops Indian Residential School was part of the Canadian residential school system and one of the 130 schools for First Nations children that operated in Canada between 1874 and 1996. The Kamloops School was opened in 1893 (initially as the Kamloops Industrial School) and continued operation until 1977. Hundreds of Secwepemc children attended the school, often forcibly removed from their homes once attendance became mandatory by law.I thought those were tipis in the background of the cropped version. But they may be planks from a cedar house, and pine trees, in the Pacific Northwest. Had I seen the original photo, I might've guessed that.

Not a bad choice for a fraudulent photo. You have Indians from the right era--the 1890s. They're dressed in the clothing of the times. There are no clearcut cultural identifiers such as tipis or totem poles. And the people look like innocents before the slaughter.

So the photo is from a residential school. Most of the people look like parents, but a few may be children. In any case, it has nothing to do with Wounded Knee or any massacre with 290 dead. As I thought.

My correspondent was so upset by Natives sharing this image that she posted a plea asking them to stop. Perhaps they heeded her, because the image stopped showing up. Or perhaps it ran its course and people moved on to the next Internet meme.

For more on gun control, see Gun Nuts Fear "Race War" and America's Culture Based on Violence.

VAWA passes over conservative objections

NCAI Praises Passage of Protections for All Women; Tribal Courts Gain Jurisdiction over Non-Indian Domestic Violence Perpetrators

Bill represents major advance for public safety in Indian Country; Legislation headed to President for SignatureToday, in a historic vote the House of Representatives passed S.47, the Senate reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), sending the legislation with the tribal provisions supported by the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) to President Obama’s desk to be signed into law. NCAI is praising the efforts of the House and the Senate to reauthorize VAWA and the bipartisan support of the Senate version of the legislation in both chambers with resounding votes of 286-138 in the House and 78-22 vote in the Senate earlier this month.

“It is with a glad heart and soaring spirit that I celebrate the passage of VAWA. Today the drum of justice beats loud in Indian Country in celebration of the reauthorization of VAWA and we stand in unity with all of our partners and leaders who were unrelenting in support of protections for all women, including Native women,” said Juana Majel Dixon, First Vice President of NCAI, and co-chair of NCAI’s Task Force on Violence Against Women. Juana Majel serves as a Traditional Councilwoman Pauma Band of Mission Indians located within the state of California. “500 plus days is too long to not have a bill for all women in America. For an unimaginable length of time those who have terrorized our women in our most sacred places, in our relationships, in our homes, and on our land, have gone unprosecuted. Now that time has come to an end and justice and security will flourish in these specific instances. We celebrate the protections for all women included in VAWA, including those for Immigrant and LGBT women,” added Juana Majel.

“With this authority, comes a serious responsibility and tribal courts will administer justice with the same level of impartiality that any defendant is afforded in state and federal courts,” said Jefferson Keel, the President of NCAI and Lt. Governor of the Chickasaw Nation, speaking about implementation of the new law. “We have strong tribal courts systems that protect public safety. The law respects tribal sovereignty, and also requires that our courts respect the due process rights of all defendants. My hope is that this new law is rarely used. Our goal isn’t to put people in jail. It is to create an effective deterrent so that our people can lead safe lives in our communities and nations.”

The constitutionally sound tribal jurisdiction provisions in VAWA authorize tribal governments to prosecute non-Indian defendants involved in intimate relationships with Native women and who assault these victims on tribal land. Current federal laws do not authorize tribal law enforcement or tribal courts to pursue any form of prosecution or justice against these perpetrators.
A Proud Day for Tribal Advocates of the Violence Against Women Act

By Rob CapricciosoThe Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization passed the U.S. House on February 28 by a vote of 286 to 138. In a major victory for Indian country, it mirrored the already passed U.S. Senate provisions that allow tribal courts to prosecute non-Indians who commit violence against women and families on Indian lands.

To tribal and Native American advocates who have spent many long days and nights working through bleeding heels, seasonal sicknesses, and missed holidays with loved ones, the vote represented the end of a journey that sometimes seemed impossible.

“I’m so excited—this is overwhelming,” cried Deborah Parker, vice-chair of the Tulalip Tribes, who was out of breath and in tears immediately after the House passage.

Parker’s daze was understandable. Still catching her breath, she noted that some legal experts have said that there hasn’t been major tribal legislation that grants inherent tribal authority since the historic days of treaty times. “We’ve had other successes,” she said, “but this will have a substantial impact on our sovereign ability to govern.”
Comment:  For more on violence against women, see Grassley: Indians Can't Be Fair and Natives Criticize NCAI's Annual Address.

The Big Cypress Shootout

Fight on the Florida frontier: Big Cypress Shootout brings Second Seminole War to life

By Lance ShearerBefore Mao Zedong, before the Viet Cong, long before Iraq and Afghanistan, the Seminole Tribe of Florida showed the United States how frustrating and costly asymmetrical warfare can be.

The tribe, still known as the “Unconquered Seminole Tribe” for good reason, will host a re-enactment of the skirmishes of the Second Seminole War on Saturday, March 2, and Sunday, March 3, at Billie Swamp Safari in an event called the Big Cypress Shootout.

As a Neapolitan, you could be forgiven for assuming something called the Big Cypress Shootout is a golf tournament, but this shootout will feature rougher roughs, “shootin’ irons” instead of nine irons, and musket balls rather than golf balls. Actually, the muskets carried by the re-enactors, will be fired repeatedly but won’t be shotted, and if all goes according to plan, the battles over the weekend will end with Army and Indian participants shaking hands and perhaps sharing a cold one.

But from 1835 to 1842, the fighting was deadly, in what was the longest, costliest and bloodiest of the wars fought by the Army against the native peoples. The re-enactments will feature colorful costumes and uniforms, mounted soldiers, musket fire and booms of cannon detonations.
Comment:  For more on the Seminoles, see Seminole Tree Proposed as Historic Place and Indians, Terrorists = US Enemies.

Below:  "The Seminole Tribe will present a re-enactment of the Second Seminole War at the Big Cypress Shootout at Billie Swamp Safari from March 2-3, 2013. The Seminoles’ struggle to remain on their homeland will be re-enacted and will feature authentic weapons, attire and tactics typical of the war."

February 27, 2013

40th anniversary of Wounded Knee II

Gunfire, Chants Mark Wounded Knee Anniversary

By Kristi EatonA Pine Ridge Indian Reservation resident who found herself in the middle of the 1973 Wounded Knee occupation said Wednesday amid ceremonial gunfire and chants that little has changed since the fatal standoff.

Faith White Dress was on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation 40 years ago when about 200 members of the American Indian Movement and their supporters huddled in houses, some with guns, to protest alleged corruption within the tribal government. Two Native Americans were killed, an activist went missing and a federal agent was wounded.

White Dress and others gathered Wednesday to remember the fatal 71-day standoff. During gunfire to mark the anniversary of the start of the occupation, she said the Oglala Sioux Tribe is still struggling.

"Unemployment is so high and the oppression is still so bad," she said. "I don't think it's going to take violence. It's going to take a gathering to determine how to bring jobs here. We need libraries. We need more of our children to have a better future."

Hundreds of people walked from nearby villages to the site of the occupation, drumming and chanting. Once at the site, the same place where in 1890 soldiers slaughtered an estimated 300 Native American men, women and children, AIM and their supporters continued to drum and chant and fire off gunshots into the air.

This year's events include memorials for AIM's charismatic leader, Russell Means, who died in October at age 72 after batting throat cancer. This is the first anniversary of the occupation since Means' death.

About 200 people gathered at a high school on Pine Ridge for the second of four planned ceremonies to honor Means. Friends, family and colleagues recalled Means as a man who taught his people how to stand up for themselves.

"He was articulate ... a proud Lakota," said Oglala Sioux president Bryan Brewer. "Today he is a version of our modern day Crazy Horse."
Ceremonial Walk Commemorates Wounded Knee Anniversary

By Derek OlsonForty years ago, the American Indian Movement took over the village of Wounded Knee. Protesters spoke out against what they called a corrupt tribal government and discriminatory federal practices. On Wednesday, a number of events marked the anniversary including a walk to the spot where it all took place.
Shortly after 9 a.m. on Wednesday, a group of people gathered in the village of Porcupine on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

"Today, we are here to commemorate the activities that occurred in 1973," AIM supporter Edgar Bear Runner said.

It's one of four groups walking to Wounded Knee. For those in Porcupine, it's an eight mile journey in a wind making it feel much colder than 30.

"Despite the cold temperatures, we walk in their honor and in their memory," Bear Runner said.
Pride and heartbreak in anniversary of occupation

Why Wounded Knee II matters

AIM–Wounded Knee II, 40 years later

By Chase Iron EyesSo, AIM is not a legacy; AIM is living. AIM is because of the Native Youth Council, NYC was because of Treaty Councils, Treaty Councils were because of Warrior Societies, Warrior Societies were because of great men like Sitting Bull and Tecumseh and the Peacemaker, great men were because of great women. Since contact our spiritual movement has taken many pan-Indigenous forms and will never die. When we come together we literally shake the world. Tribal Colleges are because of AIM, Language revitalization is because of AIM, Indigenous Education is because of AIM, Ceremony is out in the open because of AIM, Native Youth Movement, HonorEarth, IEN, LRI, Owe Aku, IdleNoMore, and all the grassroots movements we rely on are because AIM fired warning shots to the world that Indigenous peoples are on the rise. All of our movements are constantly evolving into other forces.

It is clear to me that Indigenous peoples should take their place in leading and working with all of humanity. Race is of course a human construct as we are surely all indigenous meaning coming from the universe with spiritual covenants to the land and each other. We are in a state of emergency right now with the Keystone XL pipeline, the petro-backed banking system bound to collapse, drinking water being wasted and poisoned for the benefit of the greedy carbon economy. uranium mining in our territories, sacred sites facing destruction and so on. This I believe to be our role as Indigenous peoples: to share our beautiful world with that of the purported colonizer. They came here to feed an insatiable greed for riches and self but I think they were sent to learn how to respect sacred sites, the land, the water, other humans, other world views, other beings, to learn what true civilization looks like. So let’s honor today and make the most of every day. We are all seeking a spiritual revolution.
Comment:  For more on AIM, see Russell Means Was a Fighter and AIM Leads March for Traversie.

Baseball team abandons "Tomahawks" name

Ottawa’s first professional basketball team will be called the Tomahawks

By Farhan DevjiOttawa’s first-ever professional basketball franchise will be called the Tomahawks.

The expansion National Basketball League of Canada team’s name and logo was unveiled at a 3 p.m. press conference Tuesday at city hall.

The name was one of 10 possibilities that had been listed on the team’s “Guess the Name” Facebook contest.

The team is set to begin play this year as the ninth team in the NBL, which launched in 2011.
Mayor says he warned Ottawa TomaHawks about name

New team announces it's changing its name after public outcryOttawa Mayor Jim Watson says he warned the city's new basketball team about the controversial TomaHawks name and advised them to consult with the First Nations community.

"Obviously they did not do the kind of consultation that they should have done, and they certainly spoke with me and spoke with my office before the launch, and I strongly suggested that they have proper consultations with First Nations, and particularly the Algonquins of Ontario," said Watson.

"That didn't happen, and the issue blew up on them, and I'm glad they made a decision as quickly as they did to reverse themselves," he said.

Watson's comments came the same day the basketball team's co-owner announced on CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning that the name TomaHawks will be changed after an outcry from Ottawa's aboriginal community.

The new basketball franchise had unveiled its team name and logo Tuesday but withdrew the name after criticism.

Bytown Sports and Entertainment president Gus Takkale told Robyn Bresnahan he wants his fledgling sports team to respect the community they represent.

"Yes, we are changing the name," said Takkale. "At the end of the day, we want to do the right thing for our community."
And:Takkale had defended the name, saying it was not meant to appropriate First Nations culture. He said they took the name from a type of slam dunk in basketball, not from the axe used by First Nations people, and noted that the logo was a basketball with wings.

Takkale said he had consulted with aboriginal groups before unveiling the logo and name, but declined to specify on Ottawa Morning with whom he had consulted.
Comment:  It's pretty damn stupid to think people would associate "Tomahawks" with a little-known type of slam dunk and not with the world-famous Native weapon.

It's also pretty damn stupid not to anticipate a public outcry over this stereotypical name. Activists didn't even have time to organize a social-media protest before the owner realized his mistake.

And it would good to know which "aboriginal groups" approved the name. Something about "Uncle Tomahawks" comes to mind.

For more on Indian mascots and tomahawks, see Hockey Team Chooses "Tomahawks" Name and Origin of the Tomahawk Chop.

Jewish defender dresses in blackface

Blackface-Wearing New York Politician Says he Won't Dress as an IndianThere's a consensus in the United States of America that the wearing of blackface is a racist act. It's something you just don't do, and if you do it you can expect to be rightly pilloried. For American Indians, it's often frustrating that racism toward Native Americans that feels very overt is somehow harder for the mainstream to detect.

With some ill-advised costume choices, and a thoroughly unapologetic apology, a New York State Assemblyman is doing his part to connect the dots.

Dov Hikind of Brooklyn is being rightly pilloried for hosting a Purim party wearing blackface. Costume parties are a tradition of the Jewish celebration of Purim, and Hikind had decided to host his in the costume of "basketball player," which necessitated an orange jersey-ish garment, an afro wig and dark makeup.

Hikind's getup earned him plenty of press. His initial response was a shrug of acknowledgement in a post to his blog entitled "It's Purim. People Dress Up." "I am intrigued that anyone who understands Purim--or for that matter understands me--would have a problem with this," he wrote. "This is political correctness to the absurd." Hikind was fixated on the idea that the costume only seemed racist because people didn't understand Purim. Also on Monday he held a news conference to address the criticism--but didn't. He explained again that costumes are part of the Purim celebration. (The "it's not racist, it's a costume" argument is one Natives hear every Halloween.) In addition to explaining what a costume is, he offered a classic first-draft non-apology: "Anyone who was offended--I'm sorry that they were offended, that was not the intention."

Hikind posted a more genuine apology to his blog on Tuesday. Unfortunately for him, the New Yorker and the Daily Show were still reacting to Monday's news.

African Americans have plenty of cause to be incensed by Hikind's ignorance--but so too do American Indians. On Monday, when Hikind was still trying to defend himself with the "political correctness to the absurd" argument, he told a New York Times reporter that the outcry was making him rethink his plans for next year's Purim.

"Next year I was thinking I’d be an Indian," he said. "But you know, I’ve changed my mind about that. I don’t think that’s a good idea. Somebody will be offended."

Of course, it's hard to know whether (or to what extent) he was joking about dressing as an Indian. (It is also hard to know exactly which kind of Indian he had in mind, but that's beside the point.) If he didn't know blackface was a no-no, there is really no telling how unenlightened his thinking may be when it comes to Native stereotypes. Many have seen a unique irony that it is Hikind who would be in this position--Hikind is well known as a zealous, perhaps overzealous, defender of the Jewish community against anti-Semitism or perceived anti-Semitism.

"Dov Hikind is the first person who will holler about something when he thinks or hears a whisper that it might be anti-Semitic," said Assembly member Annette Robinson, according to the Wall Street Journal, "but does not recognize something is disrespectful to another community."
Comment:  For more on blackface, see Mummers Parade in Redface, Blackface and 1491s on Redface and Blackface.

February 26, 2013

Mike and Molly insults Indians

I didn't watch the 2/25/13 episode of Mike and Molly, but I read about it on Facebook:[On the] Mike and Molly sitcom on CBS, Mike's mother said, "Arizona? Why would I move to Arizona? It's nothing but a furnace full of drunk Indians."

That is the last time I will watch that show!
Gray Wolf adds:She went on to say the state was full of a bunch of Comanches. This statement should be retracted by CBS, because many people find that comment offensive. Not only to Native Americans, but it implies that the state of Arizona has only one race in it. The comment also refers to the state being full of nothing but a bunch of drunks.A Native Facebook friend posted this comment to the Mike and Molly page:Thank you, CBS, for granting your viewers more time with their families by promoting a boycott of Mike & Molly due to the racist comment on your show. "Arizona is a furnace full of drunk Indians." Really? Who approved of such stereotypical, negative promotion of Native people? As we are right now fighting in the House of Representative for the Violence Against Women Act with the Native Provisions attached, CBS is promoting negative stereotypes of our people on national television? What does that say about how you view us as Indigenous people who welcomed, fed, clothed and helped your ancestors to survive on our continent where you enjoy great prosperity today due to us agreeing to give up millions of acres of land and resources. Does your network really think it's appropriate to treat us with disrespect through the promotion of negative stereotypes? Please issue an abject apology and support the VAWA with Native provisions immediately since the sexual objectification of our women is symptomatic of the violence we continue to suffer with 1 of every 3 Native women being raped or sexually assaulted in her lifetime. Shame on CBS! You can do so much better!

Deconstructing Mike and Molly

I saw and reposted the image above, which led to a discussion with some Facebook friends:Are they really that privileged, though? I don't really watch the show, but I thought the characters were supposed to be blue collar? Don't get me wrong, it was awful if this is what was said on that show, but isn't it also a stereotype that all white people are privileged. I mean, have you been to Oklahoma or West Virginia lately?

If I'm not mistaken, he's a cop and she's a waitress.
I don't know how privileged the characters are. But even blue-collar whites are somewhat privileged.

"Privileged" probably wasn't the best word to use in this context.Privilege isn't a matter of being rich or upper-class. It's a matter of being the "societal default setting" and getting the benefit of the doubt in situations where others don't.

Yeah, but as Rob pointed out, that wasn't what was conveyed in this. I mean the whole discussion about "white privilege" as a general societal concept and and whether someone is "privileged" are two different things. Also, I don't think whites in Appalachia, for example, get the benefit of the doubt all that much.

Fair enough.
The producers and writers have the real privilege here. White people can say whatever they want about Indians and not face repercussions.

Imagine the character saying, "Move to New York? The greedy Jews control everything there." Or using any other ethnic stereotype. The firestorm of protest would be instantaneous.

The actors could've and should've refused to film the scene with those lines. But they don't bear the primary responsibility. The producers and writers do.

Therefore, I'd say replace "fat privileged" in the image with "ignorant." Then it's fine.

For more on "drunk Indians," see Indians Testify About Negative Images and Drink's "Sexy Pilgrim & Indian Party."

Dahmen the first Native supermodel?

Reclaiming Her Identity: A Conversation With Native Adoptee and Author Susan Fedorko

By Anne MinardSusan Fedorko was 40 years old when she found her birth family—or rather, when a long-lost sister found her. Her first book, Cricket: Secret Child of a Sixties Supermodel (Outskirts Press, 2012) chronicles Fedorko’s journey from Native American adoptee-turned “white” mother and wife, to a person reunited with her extended family. That family hails from the Grand Portage Indian Reservation people on her mother’s side and the White Earth Nation on her father’s, both Chippewa/Ojibwe. In an unexpected twist, Fedorko discovered that just a few years after her birth, her birth mother—Cathee Dahmen—had become an immensely popular supermodel, probably the first Native American woman to attain that status.

How did you react when you first realized who your birth mother was, and how do you look at it now?

As an adoptee, you fantasize about who your birth parents could be. What did they look like? What were they like? What types of jobs did they have? You imagine that you may get photos of them someday, normal photos. Perhaps they would be blowing out birthday candles, sitting on the couch with a sibling, standing near a Christmas tree. Some of the very first images I saw of my birth mom were on the cover of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. I was flooded with new images of Cathee for the first few months; she was photographed by some of the very best fashion photographers in the world. The very first images that I saw, I studied them intensely. I could see myself in those photos.… I could also see her in both my daughters.
Comment:  I posted this article just for the claim that Cathee Dahmen was the first Native supermodel. I never heard of her, so I doubt most people would call her a supermodel.

Wikipedia seems to concur:


In February 1968, an article in Glamour described 19 models as "supermodels," of whom were: Cheryl Tiegs, Verushka, Lisa Palmer, Peggy Moffitt, Susan Murray, Twiggy, Susan Harnett, Marisa Berenson, Gretchen Harris, Heide Wiedeck, Irish Bianchi, Hiroko Matsumoto, Anne DeZagher, Kathie Carpenter, Jean Shrimpton, Jean Patchett, Benedetta Barzini, Claudia Duxbury, and Agneta Frieberg.

Iman is considered to have been the first supermodel of color.
No mention of Dahmen in this posting.

Twiggy, Verushka, and Cheryl Tiegs are the ones I think of when I think of the first supermodels in the 1960s. And Iman is who I think of as the first supermodel of color. I don't think there's been a Native supermodel yet or we'd have heard of her.

For more on the subject, see Watchman the First Native Supermodel?

"Hallucinatory fish" painter's Native influences

Fish Puns and Fog Woman: The Indian Influence on Alaskan Artist Ray Troll

By Lee AllenYou don’t have to actually carry Native blood to think like an Indian…especially when you’ve lived for decades amongst indigenous peoples like Alaska’s Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian tribal members.

Ray Troll, dubbed the "Artist Laureate of Hallucinatory Fish Images" and proprietor of a Ketchikan art studio called Soho Coho, has lived among, learned from, and collaborated with Alaskan Native artists for 30 years. “Native American art, specifically Alaskan Native artists, is important to me. This is a town where there’s a lot of Native folk art and when I moved here, I began to hang out with Native carvers, incorporating some of their cultural themes into my work and frequently collaborating with someone of Native origin,” he says.

He refers to the amalgam as ‘culture jamming,’ an olio of observations taken from fish, fishermen, seascapes, and Native American imagery. “We’re all drinking from the same water here and the craftsmanship of indigenous peoples can’t help but seep into the creativity found in this place.

“When it comes to art with an indigenous influence, the old logging-fishing village of Ketchikan is the place," he says. "There’s a connection with this creative group, and since my penchant is to iconify fish, that resonates with the form-line design images of Northwest Native American artwork.” When he needs a break from his own creativity, he’ll drive to the Native village of Saxman and hang out at the carving center where coastal clan artists make totem poles out of massive red cedars.
Comment:  For more on Native-influenced art, see Dale Chihuly's Native Influences.

Below:  "Inside Ray Troll's Soho Coho art studio in Ketchikan, Alaska."

February 25, 2013

Sexism at the 2013 Oscars

Seth MacFarlane, misogynistic Oscar host

But strange hatred was everywhere. From the boob song to Twitter-bashing, the Oscars' gender politics were a mess

By Willa Paskin
It is the nature of the world we live in that less than 12 hours after the Academy Awards finished, it has been widely noted that Seth MacFarlane made a whole lot of misogynistic jokes at this year’s Oscars. (In the long opening number, in which William Shatner was sent from the future to help MacFarlane avoid being called the worst Oscar host ever, a number of headlines were flashed on-screen: with just a smidge more foresight, they probably could have predicted the one on this story too.)

The show began with a song called “We Saw Your Boobs,”about all the actresses who have shown audiences their tops at one time or another. The women name-checked in the audience didn’t seem pleased (though that was agreed upon in advance). And when Channing Tatum came out a few minutes later to dance with Charlize Theron, he didn’t even strip away his pants at the end of the number. There was no reciprocity last night.

The lady-dissing jokes didn’t stop with the ode to breasts: MacFarlane cracked that Jennifer Aniston was a stripper. He sexualized the young Quvenzhané Wallis: “It’ll be 16 years before she’s too old for Clooney,” which is, somehow, only the second most offensive thing someone said about the adorable 9-year-old last night. He also described Jessica Chastain’s character in “Zero Dark Thirty,” the ultra-driven women who through sheer force of will made the raid on Osama bin Laden possible, as “a celebration of every woman’s innate ability to never ever let anything go.”

In this context, the more standard, easy-target knocks—the kind of joke almost any host would make in our tabloid era—about Rihanna and Chris Brown’s ongoing train-wreck relationship and the hairiness of the Kardashians seemed even more mean-spirited. More remarkable than all undercutting remarks, is that without them, MacFarlane had barely anything to say about women at all: they were either boff-toys or nothing. He introduced Sandra Bullock by her random credit in the movie “28 Days,” just so he could make a joke about getting drunk himself.
Seth MacFarlane saw your boobs

And then couldn't avert his eyes from women's chests—via his vile jokes—for the rest of the night

By Elissa Schappell
It was pretty staggering. On a night meant to honor and reward the best performances of the year, MacFarlane let the female Oscar nominees in on a secret: We don’t see the work you’re doing. We’re too busy staring at your tits. Giggle, giggle. Boobies. It wouldn’t be funny if he sang, “We saw your dick” because men aren’t expected to strip down in order to sell a movie, and it would be super gay. Want to peek at Bradley Cooper’s grade A beef dart? Dream on. Long to ogle Samuel L. Jackson’s heat-seeking-moisture-missile? As if. Get a load of Hugh Jackman’s wee little Jackman? Not in this lifetime.

Despite MacFarlane’s fondness for rape jokes on “Family Guy,” I am sure that it was pure stupidity that led him to name-check Halle Berry in “Monster’s Ball,” Hilary Swank in “Boys Don’t Cry” and best actress nominee Jessica Chastain in “Lawless”—as the scenes in which we see their breasts are ones in which they’re being raped or gang-raped.

Shame is played for laughs, though. When actresses such as Charlize Theron’s names were called, they mugged humiliation, shrinking down in their seats in complete mortification. Slap a big Scarlet B on Charlize. B for Boobs. B for Bad Girl. Because what woman would choose to show her breasts unless she was forced to, right? Charlize, that slut, liked it.

When MacFarlane sang about seeing 2012 best supporting actress winner Anne Hathaway’s boobs in “Brokeback Mountain” it felt like the gleeful taunting of the snotty little brother who proudly announces at his sibling’s graduation party, “My sister’s got pubes!” Most creepy, perhaps, was that the focus on the actresses’ boobs wasn’t just on the silver screen, but little screens too. He reminded Scarlett Johansson that “We saw them on our phones,” because hacking someone’s cellphone and putting the pictures on the Web is just so funny.
Amy Davidson: Seth MacFarlane and the Oscars’ Hostile, Ugly, Sexist Night

Don’t blame Seth MacFarlane!

“The Oscars” hired a host to shower contempt on the nominees, the industry and the audience

By Joan Walsh
In the golden age for Oscar stability, 1939 to 1967, Bob Hope hosted or co-hosted 17 of 28 shows. In between, they’d go with ensemble casting that combined glamour and humor. Between 1955 and 1997, three dominant hosts—Hope, Johnny Carson and Billy Crystal—combined to do 20 shows, and each of them had at least one stint of four consecutive years, a mini-era, if you will. Since then, it’s been 16 consecutive auditions.

What are they looking for? Well, it’s obvious they want younger viewers, a quest that hit bottom when Anne Hathaway was teamed up with James Franco, who didn’t show up. But the job description also comes with a sadism quotient: They have to needle the nominees expertly, but without drawing (visible) blood. Of course the winners participate, as if to appease vengeful gods, who would take away their cheekbones and glossy hair and paychecks and overall great good fortune if they didn’t allow themselves to be mocked for one national night of all-in-good-fun.

When it works, it is good fun, with just enough admiration, affection and mockery. Mockery is essential to the formula; the host has always been a comedian except in those ensemble years. But because they’ve changed hosts so many times, the meta story—and to insiders, the only story that matters—is how did the host do, or how badly did he bomb. To an extent, MacFarlane gave the academy exactly what it deserved. (And let’s remember, people, his script was pre-approved, probably by many layers of powerful vetters.)

We’ll be talking for a long time about what it meant that MacFarlane’s nastiest humor came at the expense of women, gays, blacks and Latinos, Jews, Quvenzhané Wallis and Abraham Lincoln. Maybe his appalling John Wilkes Booth joke was intended to get into our own heads and say: Yes, this is just as awful as you think it is. And it’s supposed to be.
The Onion’s hipster misogyny

Being ironic and self-aware and knowing something is offensive doesn't make it funny--or OK

By Falguni A. Sheth
That was bad enough. This morning, I woke up to the news that the Onion decided to take up MacFarlane’s “humorous sexism” prompt and notch it up to ironic racist misogyny with a tweet on its official account about 9-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis, the heart of the film “Beasts of the Southern Wild.”

Notice that at least 515 people found this tweet “funny” enough to retweet before the Onion deleted it sometime later. Who gets a tweet retweeted over 500 times unless it seems so overwhelmingly insightful—or so overwhelmingly funny and untroubling? Add to that casual acceptance some part of the 413 who favorite—favorited?—a racist and misogynist tweet about a 9-year-old African-American girl.

It’s a blaring example of how casually racism and misogyny, even about young children, can be accepted and even celebrated by some percentage of the public—especially when it is couched in the form of humor. So many kinds of hostility—racial, sexual, homo- and trans-phobic humor—gain an easy acceptability, precisely because it plays into the ironic hipster self-aware racism of “being so cool that we know it’s racist that it’s ok to participate in it. We’re above it.”

Someone on Twitter suggested that “no one believes that Quvenzhané is a c—.” What does it even mean to say that someone “believes” or “doesn’t believe” this? Others will respond that it’s just an offhand comment. Nope. It’s a sexual and racial epithet.
And:For a girl-child to be referred to in such a way, and to have the remark be repeated in such a widespread fashion, shows the casualness with which the decency and dignity of young people of color can be violated without a second thought. It is a message that will be picked up, spread and reinforced in other venues, much like a wildfire in a dry forest.

Twitter may be prone to this, especially in the urgency of the moment of “live-tweeting”—the urge to be faster, smarter, quicker, sharper, more acidic, in order to have one’s “thoughts” (if we can call it that) shared quickly and widely. But it also has the unwitting implication of removing most filters to thought. It has a limited use, as in this case, in that it reveals the unacceptable thoughts that many would think quietly. Hiding those thoughts don’t make them go away; at least we get to know and have proof of the easy vileness that those in public “spaces” can promulgate concerning young vulnerable targets. It’s also evidence of the casual verbal hostility that is acceptable to direct toward women—and women of color—and young black girls on a daily basis.

Seth MacFarlane to Rush Limbaugh: Now I understand why conservatives hate the media

Rush says he sent MacFarlane a mash note, and compares Michelle Obama's Oscar appearance to something out of Orwell

By David Daley
Limbaugh was fired up about the Oscars, and saw evidence of a liberal conspiracy to create a totalitarian world, and also a political tug-of-war between Steven Spielberg and Harvey Weinstein.

Speaking of Michelle Obama’s appearance via video link to hand out the best picture Oscar with Jack Nicholson, Limbaugh said:When I saw Moochelle Obama on that giant screen, I mean, she dwarfed Nicholson. If you look at that, if you saw it, that screen on that stage, Moochelle and the military people, gosh, they weren’t even referenced, those military people. I don’t know what that was. Was it a cocktail party? I think they were props. Anyway, she looked bigger than life. I mean, she looked like anybody would have, don’t misunderstand, but just one bite and swallow that whole room, that’s how big. The optics, of course, are what matters. And I thought of 1984, the Macintosh ad from the Super Bowl in 1984, exact type of scenario, except Michelle Obama was actually the Dear Leader of this, obviously a totalitarian state. And the Dear Leader was making some giant speech and fist pounding and robotic citizens were sitting there nodding, everybody in total agreement, and a lone person runs down the center aisle and obliterates and destroys the screen.
Comment:  So we have a ton of sexist and racist "jokes"--approved by the producers and uttered to an audience of millions. We have the Onion's sexist tweet. We have McFarlane whining because the media called him on his sexist and racist performance. And we have Limbaugh calling the First Lady "Moochelle" and accusing her of a conspiracy.

This is the "hipster" attitude we've talked about so many times with regard to Indian headdresses, costumes, and mascots. It's commonplace in our culture. "Jokes" and tweets show our "unfiltered" prejudices, as do the anonymous comments on the Internet. Below the surface of alleged equality, people are seething with resentment at women and minorities.

Nice try, Americans. You think it's okay to be racist and sexist if they wink to themselves or others, say it's "ironic" or "satirical," and didn't mean to offend anyone. Here's a news flash, bigots: Your invisible and imaginary intent doesn't matter. If you say and do the same things as a racist or sexist, you're a racist or sexist also.

Our culture's racism and sexism hasn't gone away. It's just morphed into a slightly more subtle form. We don't prevent Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton when they run for president, we just sneer at them when they do. And then we say it's a "joke," because if these actions were done seriously, they'd be pure bigotry.

Hipster bigotry = bigotry

One more posting makes it clear what's wrong with the Onion tweet, McFarlane's jokes, and laughing about women and minorities in general.

David Carr On Quvenzhané Wallis And The Onion: The Worst Possible Response

By Maureen RyanWell after The Onion apologized for the statement about Wallis (which had already been deleted), here's what David Carr of The New York Times had to say: "Onion to writers: Tweet incredibly edgy, funny stuff. If you go over the line, we'll just slide you under the bus."And:Carr is not dumb. As a media columnist, he's proven in other situations that he understands how power dynamics work. Why is he so blind to the hierarchies and power imbalances here? Why isn't he using his power to excavate and examine them, even a little bit?

A lot of comedy comes from playing around with and commenting on status and power, and one of The Onion's best-known gags involves taking Vice President Biden--an icon of Establishment power--and re-imagining him as a lovably foul-mouthed, working-class dude. It's funny because Biden is famous and important in real life, but The Onion writers give him a narrative in which he appears to have less power--but their version of Biden is actually more likable and memorable than the real thing. That's clever.

There was nothing clever, witty or perceptive about the Wallis comment. The tweet that invoked her name--and the treatment of women at the Oscars in general--was about putting less powerful people in their place. When a more powerful entity attacks a less powerful entity--especially a more vulnerable group that has been historically marginalized and demeaned--why should we worry about how the more powerful feel? Shouldn't we just expect them to take their lumps when criticized?

As Emily Hauser pointed out, "Humor rooted in demeaning & belittling those who are routinely demeaned & belittled is a) lazy & b) part of the problem." It's true. Carr's comment smacks of siding with bullies, and we already have enough of that kind of exclusionary thinking floating around. Yes, we can "take a joke," whether those jokes are from McFarlane or The Onion, but not when they're "an ostensibly gentler way of saying, 'I don't think you belong here'" or when, in "the process of trying to satirize the media's cruelty towards women, they actually [end] up accidentally perpetuating it."
For more on hipster racism, see Conservatives Deny "Black Jesus," Genocide and Gap's "Manifest Destiny" T-Shirt.

Racism at the 2013 Oscars

5 Racist Things at the 2013 Oscars

By Andrea Quijada and Malkia Cyril1. 9 Year old black actress of Beasts of Southern Wild, youngest nominee ever, called a cunt by the Onion.

2. There Was No Band to Drown Out Seth MacFarlane's Racist Comments

Come on! Some people had Jaws theme music attack them just because they were saying a long-winded thank you! Yet not even one lonely flute interrupted Seth. Over and over again we were abandoned by a symphony of musical bystanders who forced us to listen to comments like:

"[Django Unchained] is the story of a man fighting to get back his woman, who's been subjected to unthinkable violence. Or as Chris Brown and Rihanna call it, a date movie."

"If you bumped into Don Cheadle in the studio lot, would you try and free him?" (on Daniel Day Lewis and his method acting)

"We’ve reached that point where Javier Bardem, Salma Hayek, or Penelope Cruz takes the stage and we have no idea what they’re saying but we don’t care because they’re so attractive."

“Denzel has a great sense of humor. He did all those Nutty Professor movies.” (on Denzel Washington/Eddie Murphy)

3. White Directors Win Oscars for Movies About Race, but Don't Use Their Platform to Address Racism

Yay! There’s a private club for white men who make movies about people of color (or star as them, too). It’s called the Academy Awards. Between the awards won for the movies Lincoln, Argo, and Zero Dark Thirty, the white directors of these films about African American slavery, Iran, and the U.S. led-war on terror failed to grasp that the white supremacy that was so useful in creating their winning dramatic storylines is the very same white supremacy that stuffed the Academy ballot box to begin with. Why can't these directors be more like Marlon Brando?

4. Invisible in Memoriam: The People of Color the Academy's Memorial Missed

In case you watched the Memoriam, you might not be aware that people of color live, work, and die in Hollywood, too. Here are some people we wanted to say goodbye to:

Guadalupe "Lupe" Ontiveros (September 17, 1942 – July 26, 2012) was an American film and television actress. Ontiveros acted in numerous films like Selena and television shows. She was nominated for an Emmy Award for her work on Desperate Housewives.

Russell Charles Means (November 10, 1939 – October 22, 2012) was an Oglala Sioux activist for the rights of Native American people and libertarian political activist. Means was best known for his roles in films such as The Last of Mohicans; Natural Born Killers; and Pocahontas.

Sherman Alexander Hemsley (February 1, 1938 – July 24, 2012) was an American actor, who starred in several movies and television shows. He is best known for his role as George Jefferson on the CBS television series All in the Family and The Jeffersons, and as Deacon Ernest Frye on the NBC series Amen.

Donna Summer (December 31, 1948 – May 17, 2012) was an American singer and songwriter who gained prominence during the disco era of the late 1970s. She won the Best Original Song Academy Award for "Last Dance."

5. They Didn't Tell Us the Oscar is Mexican!
Oscar Snubs Provide Fruitful Lesson

The awards show's failure to memorialize more black stars reminds us why Black History Month is vital.

By Nsenga K. Burton
During February, there has been a lot of discussion about whether Black History Month is still relevant or needed, particularly because of the "racial progress" that blacks have made over the last few decades. In the Huffington Post, Trudy Bourgeois writes that "Black History Month Needs to Go" for a variety of reasons, including the fact that there isn't a "White History Month," and black history should be incorporated into classrooms and event programming throughout the year.

Bourgeois' comments demonstrate a profound lapse in judgment by failing to recognize how white privilege and power operate in this country, like the ability to eliminate ethnic-studies courses even in states where white students are the minority, and by promoting the far-fetched idea that those in power would believe it's their responsibility to incorporate Black History Month programming year-round. Call me crazy, but if black folks waited for nonblacks to take care of our needs, which actually benefit all of society (civil rights, black history), we'd still be in shackles and having separate and unequal access to pretty much everything.

One need only look at the 2013 Academy Awards to understand why Black History Month is needed, along with a concerted effort by all Americans to ensure that black history is included in course curricula, event programming and major publications throughout the year. At the Oscars, while there is a lot of uncertainty about who will go home with a golden statue, one thing is certain every year: the "In Memoriam" section of the show, which highlights actors who have passed away in the previous year. Each year, like clockwork, the producers of the Oscars know it is coming, and they fail to remember important black actors who not only have had commercial and critical success but also have made great contributions to the acting community.
And:The academy didn't just forget black folks; it also forgot Latina actress Lupe Ontiveros, who starred in numerous films, including Selena (1997) and As Good as It Gets (1997). Native American actor-activist Russell Means starred in films like The Last of the Mohicans (1992) and Natural Born Killers (1994) and was the voice of Powhatan in Walt Disney's Pocahontas (1995). Ontiveros and Means starred in major Hollywood films--some Academy Award-winning--yet they were forgotten.Comment:  Natives were wondering if the Oscars would acknowledge Russell Means. The answer was no. Once again there were no Indians in view at the Oscars.

I don't know if Helmsley and Summer belonged there. They were well-known but not as movie people. But Ontiveros and Means arguably belonged.

For more on the problems with this year's Oscar ceremony, see Sexism at the 2013 Oscars. For more on the Oscars, see Blackface at the Oscars and No Indians at the 2011 Oscars.

February 24, 2013

Conservatives deny "black Jesus," genocide

Anti-racist activist blames Catholic Church for slaughtering American Indians in speech at Catholic University

By Timothy DionisopoulosRenowned anti-racist activist Tim Wise claimed that the Catholic Church is in part responsible for the slaughter of Native Americans in a speech funded by and hosted at a Catholic university on Wednesday.

“The Church was directly implicated in slaughtering the indigenous people on this continent,” said Wise, in his speech at Providence College, a catholic university in Providence, Rhode Island.

“The Church was directly implicated in the conquest of the Southwest,” he continued. “It was directly implicated in sending indigenous children to boarding schools to strip them of their culture, to cut their hair, to kill the Indian and save the man for Jesus.”

In the same speech entitled, “Beyond Diversity: Challenging Racism in an Age of Backlash,” Wise argued the church should render images of Jesus Christ as black for one-year in order to help Christians consider the notion that [humans] “are not race.”

“I will consider this notion that we are not race when we decide to make Jesus black for a year,” said Wise. “Just a year.”

Naturally, Tim Wise himself offers more on the story:

Hearing No Evil: The Amazing Obtuseness of Campus Conservatives

By Tim Wise[H]er friend and conservative colleague’s question—actually it was a statement—was even more interesting. She claimed that I was “anthropologically reductionist” (one of those word casseroles that we learn in college and that some sadly deploy just to show how smart they are), for even noticing something like race. She, on the other hand, in the throes of a deeper (and Scriptural) enlightenment merely saw “people” when she looked around, not colors, and especially “people made in the image of God.” Cue the harps and Vienna Boy’s Choir.

In response, I told her first that such a sentiment was lovely, but, I thought naive. Mostly because even if we accept the notion that we are all merely individuals made in the image of God, the fact is, our identities as whites or people or color, men or women, straight folks or LGBT, have mattered, and have resulted in advantages for some and disadvantages for others. In other words, we can’t treat people as abstractions, removed from their social context and consider that justice. If racism has had consequences—which of course her black friend refused to admit, so no doubt one can understand her confusion—then one must deal with that, and attempt to rectify the injustices that have brought us to this point, not merely gloss over them in the name of some colorblind ecumenism, thereby leaving in place all the unearned advantages obtained by some and unearned disadvantages visited upon the rest. She was, in short, guilty of viewing individuals using a dictionary definition of the term, when what we actually experience in this world in the lives we lead, is an encyclopedic version of ourselves, far more complex than either the dictionary, or certainly the Bible might lead us to believe.

But what I also said—and which apparently created such a firestorm—was the part where I noted that however nice it was to prattle on about people being made in the image of God, that even there, we have a problem in this culture, given how we have created the image of that God to match whiteness. In other words, we have made God white, and Jesus white, as could be seen on any number of crucifixes (or is it crucifi?) around this Catholic campus, including one that was hanging right behind my head while I spoke: a lily-white, Europeanized savior, devoid of any relationship to what first century Jews would have looked like. Until my questioner was prepared to deal with that, and why we had done that, and what it meant, she really was in no position to lecture me about my anthropological reductionism or anything else.

One would think that any reasonably educated person would realize that the whitening of Jesus was an act of white supremacy, undertaken down through many centuries for the purpose of inculcating western and European domination. Constantine, after all, said that the cross was the sign under which he would conquer, not liberate, the world. My comments are not remotely contestable by rational people. But in the eyes of Providence College conservatives, they were heresy of the highest order.

And so today I discovered that someone in the crowd apparently provided a video of my talk to well-known white nationalist (as in, openly so), and Providence resident, Tim Dionisopoulos, and that he had written about it and uploaded it to the web. Therein, Dionisopoulos took special umbrage at my discussion of the white Jesus issue, as if my comments were the height of craziness. And he made special note of the part where I joked that the school should make Jesus black for a year, just to show that his color “really doesn’t matter” (which is what white Christians always tell me when I bring up his whitening, as if to suggest I shouldn’t make a big deal of it). Apparently, some folks think I was being serious and that my comment (obviously intended to lampoon their own unblinking devotion to his pasty whiteness on their campus crosses) suggested some kind of anti-Catholic bias.

The videographers also found it shocking, just shocking that I would suggest the Catholic Church (and really, Christendom more broadly), had been deeply implicated in the genocidal mistreatment of indigenous peoples throughout the Americas. This revelation comes as no surprise to anyone who has studied the history of native peoples, or the church for that matter; indeed, even the Church no longer denies it, though they rarely deal honestly with its implications. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, for instance, has itself noted the history, however bloodlessly as such:Catholicism’s spread to Native people across the United States resembles in many ways the settling of the country itself. From the earliest days French and Spanish missionaries who came to this world newly discovered by Europeans came as extensions of the colonizing powers. The approach was, in many cases, to force the Natives to accept the faith as part of the process of servitude…The history of the Alta California missions are instructive here. These were settlements established by Spanish colonizers so as to rapidly assimilate native peoples there into both European culture and Catholicism, under the belief of the Church that it had a moral right to evangelize and that the Spanish crown had a legal right to land. The missions operated by forcibly resettling indigenous persons around the mission itself so as “convert them” not only from so-called heathens into Catholics, but from savages to civilized peoples, in European terms. Once Indians were Baptized they were disallowed the right to move about the country; rather, they were forced to work at the missions, under the rigid control of the Friars. Indian women, in particular, were housed in such unsanitary conditions at the missions that diseases spread rapidly, resulting in the deaths of thousands. Contemporaries writing at the time noted without compunction that the labor conditions at the missions resembled slavery, and since the native peoples were unpaid for their work—work that ultimately enriched the Catholic Church and the colonial powers with which the Church was entwined—such an analogy is obviously warranted.

Elsewhere the Church contributed directly to the cultural and even physical evisceration of indigenous Americans, in ways that any truly educated person in this country would know, were our schools dedicated to the teaching of anything remotely comporting with truth. For a comprehensive accounting of the evil done in the name of God to indigenous peoples, one need only read George Tinker’s Missionary Conquest: The Gospel and Native American Cultural Genocide, or David Stannard’s meticulously documented, American Holocaust, to see that my comments at Providence, far from indicating a bias against Catholicism, fully dovetail with historical fact, however inconvenient those facts may be for a school that has chosen “Friars” as its sports mascot.

That today’s campus conservatives think challenging the phony whiteness of Jesus, or noting the history of the church’s role in racism makes one a radical is instructive. It speaks to what an utterly sheltered, provincial and fundamentally ignorant world view these persons have been given heretofore, by their parents, high schools, priests and preachers, and by a larger society that has no room for any understanding of America and Christianity that isn’t laudatory. Their inability to hear of evil, let alone address it, is rendered all the less likely by such a sheltering, and their ability to engage in even the simplest rational dialogue with others, or even with history, is made almost impossible.
Comment:  Good job linking ignorance about black Jesus to ignorance about the Euro-Christian genocide of indigenous people. We also could link these things to the hatred of Obama, immigration, and the "welfare state." Or the love of mascots, hipster headdresses, and other forms of casual racism and sexism. Again, it's all about asserting white male privilege over everyone else.

For more on conservative racism, see Conservatives Fear Minorities and White Men Lose to Demographic Change.

Below:  Fictional Jesus vs. real Jesus.

Gun nuts fear "race war"

Republicans Have Created Racist Frenzy With Baseless Obama Gun Confiscation Talk

By RmuseAn outburst characteristic of, or resulting from, a mania fit or spell of violent mental excitement is considered frenzy, and regardless the subject, it can be used to drive a group of like-minded people frantic with the right motivation. Hitler used anti-Semitism to drive good Germans into frenzy to advance the Holocaust, and in the Dark Ages, the Vatican used fear of witchcraft to incite superstitious Europeans into frenzy that resulted in innocent men and women being burned at the stake. In America, the NRA, Republicans, and so-called patriots are driving gun fanatics and racists into frenzy by asserting President Obama is on a mission to confiscate guns, invalidate the 2nd Amendment, and establish a dictatorship.

Ever since the tragic slaughter of twenty children and 6 adults in Newtown Connecticut, the NRA and so-called uber-patriot gun fanatics have ratcheted up fear that President Obama’s appeal for gun safety laws is the first step toward outlawing firearms that elicited threats of a civil or revolutionary war against the government. Many of the same people advocating for rebellion have also trumpeted a “coming race war” because an African American man occupies the White House. Over the past month, a plethora of right-wing maniacs began warning gun owners and racists the President’s gun safety proposals are a precursor to all manner of fallacious scenarios, but none as disturbing as the contention the President is raising a private black army to massacre white Americans, or that gun control is a devious plot to make it easier to massacre hundreds-of-thousands of unarmed citizens.

These allegations would be laughable except that with a large segment of the population fearful of losing their guns and freedom to a Black President, coupled with escalating calls for a race war, the prospect of frenzied, angry, and fearful Americans mobilizing and opening fire is becoming worrisome. The common thread in antagonizing gun owners to action is the result of over four years of NRA propaganda the President will seize Americans’ guns, and it provoked a tea party “Day of Resistance Rally” held yesterday, 2/23 to signify the .223 caliber round used in the Sandy Hook massacre, and to show their assembly was “against President Obama.” The rallies were scheduled to take place in 100 cities across America, and in at least one Pennsylvania city, the special day included an “open-carry walk.”

Last Tuesday, Larry Pratt, president of Gun Owners of America, asserted President Obama will start confiscating guns to provoke a violent response to justify further oppression, and incarcerate hundreds-of-thousands of gun owning patriots. Pratt also said the President is acting like King George III and will use his authority to “wipe those people out to set an example.” Another right-wing maniac concurred with Pratt and said “I believe they will put together a racial force to go against an opposite race resistance, basically a black force to go against a white resistance, and then they will claim anyone resisting the black force they are doing it because they are racist.” Pratt concluded the meeting of the minds with a warning to President Obama that “a lot of people resolved, that if Obama starts playing the massacre game the way you did at Waco, well, you’re going to get surrounded, you won’t be able to go home safely, your family won’t be safe.”

Last month, Buster Wilson of the American Family Association warned that President Obama was ready to establish a dictatorship and “start killing conservatives and Christians who oppose his administration” based on nothing more than an overactive imagination. However, all of these attempts to whip up armed resistance against President Obama, although insane, are in part because he won re-election, and like Republicans, right-wingers see their power and influence waning as more Americans understand the President is doing the job he was elected to do and looking out for all Americans. It is appalling that conspiracy theorists, disaffected evangelical maniacs, and gun fanatics incite fear and opposition to the legally elected President, but it has been a longstanding Republican practice. Last month Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell sent out a frantic letter to gun owners warning that the President was “coming to get your guns” to provoke opposition to the President, and not just gun safety laws.

The Republicans, teabaggers, and neo-conservatives are like dying, critically wounded beasts who will lash out at anyone, even if they are attempting to help them, and it explains conservatives voting against their own interests, and supporting Republican policies that benefit the wealthiest Americans and their corporations. Republicans have spent over four years portraying the President as a foreigner, and not one of us “real Americans” that Willard Romney propagated during his failed run for president, and it demonstrates the desperation of a minority of Americans whose opposition to the President is founded in racial animus and little else.
Comment:  For more on the conservative fear of brown people, see the Tea Party movement, the 2012 presidential campaign, and about half my recent postings. For more on gun control, see America's Culture Based on Violence and Mass Shooters Think They're Victims.

Italian pre-Easter celebration stereotypes Indians

Pre-Easter Celebrations an Insult to American Indians

By Julianne JenningsWhile strolling with friends through the busy streets of Spoleto, an ancient Italian city in the province of Umbria, we stepped into the start of celebrations or carnivals called, Quaresima. This is the time that precedes the celebration of Easter or the Great Feast, and according to the Roman Rite, had 44 days (starting from Ash Wednesday), while, according to the Ambrosian practice, it lasts 40, from the Sunday after Shrove Tuesday. This period is characterized by the call to conversion to God with typical practices of Lent fasting, ecclesiastical and other forms of penance, more intense prayer and the practice of charity. It is a journey of preparation to celebrate Easter, which is the culmination of the Christian holidays.

This year’s carnival theme happened to be Cowboys and Indians. Italian actors wearing cowboy hats and bandanas, shooting shiny silver toy guns loaded with confetti into the air. While other performers were decked out in face paint, brightly colored headdresses, beads and offering war cries to on-lookers, seemed like the equivalent to blackface in minstrel shows; gives this pre-Easter holiday season an entirely new platform for immature, morally depraved, suburbanite and ignorant individuals to get away with obvious hatred and bigotry towards American Indians.

When trying to explain to the actors and my friends how disrespectful the carnival is in perpetuating Indian stereotypes, they told me I was being overly sensitive and that it was just entertainment as a means of making ME look stupid for calling them on their foolishness, when you know I was completely in the right for doing so. A few minutes later, a comment was made based on my appearance, “You don’t look Indian,” as I stood there in my wool Calvin Kline red winter coat, sneakers and short black hair.

I cut off my long black hair to protest against stereotyping. I felt my hair chained me to this country’s racialized notion of what it is to be an Indian—stoic, admired for heroism, along with the ideological construction of romanticism that evoked classic images of the noble savage, seductive squaw or the blood-thirsty Redskin. These descriptions serve as weapons in our continued subjugation ensuring our status as “backward” and “primitive.” The same perceived notion of how we should appear. Historically, American Indians have always been cosmopolitan, as a result of contact with various groups of people through travel, trade, out marriage, migration; and later slavery.

From the making of Hollywood’s Indian to race-based holidays like Columbus Day, Thanksgiving, and now Easter, only creates resentment and raises racial tensions given the number of individuals, who may not even realize, fuel stereotypes when dressed up as someone of another race for an occasion. Halloween is a good example. They will tell you, “We love Indians.” If you love us, then learn the truth.

The whole idea of using Native Americans as a foil for Eurocentric or Catholic Church-centric public displays of “religion” only accentuates the depravity of the Catholic so-called “missionaries” who thought, taught, and preached violence and hatred against Native Americans and authorized the whole-sale murder of an entire group of humanity. And don’t even get me started on the destruction of Native American records and medical or astronomical treatises; thus consigning to oblivion the accumulated wisdom and knowledge of millennia of Native medicine, Native astronomy, Native surgical methods, Native religions, Native legal practices, and Native cultures or worldviews.

I find the Catholic Church’s attitude toward their extermination practices of Native cultures in the Americas just as despicable as the Nazi exterminations of Jews, Gypsies, mentally impaired people, all of the non-white people of the world, and anyone else they deemed “undesirable.” They (Nazis and medieval or renaissance Catholics) are all in the same category of hate-mongers. From this experience, it is clear that the current-day Catholic Church has changed none of its stance toward the indigenous peoples of the Americas, the canonization of Kateri Tekakwitha (Lily of the Mohawk) notwithstanding.
Comment:  The comment "You don’t look Indian" kind of says it all. People expect Indians to look like the stereotypes in a million movies, TV shows, plays, comic books, video games, product packages, advertisements, etc. They don't recognize modern Indians or even realize they exist.

How do you uphold tribal rights or pass tribal legislation when you think Indians have vanished? Answer: You don't. So again, there's a direct connection between how we portray Indians, how people perceive Indians, and how that hinders problem-solving re Indians.

For more of the innumerable examples of "cowboys and Indians" stereotypes, see "Cowboys and Indians" Beauty Showdown and "Cowboys and Indians" in Toronto Bar.

Below:  Not an image from Quaresima but the same idea.

February 23, 2013

Michelle Shining Elk on Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp & The Never Ending Hollywood Indian 

By Michelle Shining ElkHow we (as American Indian people) are described or portrayed, even this day in age, has a significant impact on how we are perceived, taken seriously, or respected.

Thanks Johnny Depp for perpetuating a grossly erroneous stereotype of how Indians speak–then and now. You brought NOTHING to the table in so far as your usually amazing acting skills.

Like teachers influence their students throughout their scholastic programs, so do people in all forms of media and entertainment who misrepresent us as American Indian people and continue to perpetuate the stereotypes as they influence their fans, readers, listeners, followers and viewers. Thus…the perpetual cycle of stereotypes and misinformation continue seemingly without end.

Popular culture, which is predominantly members of the majority constantly propagate misinformation, skewed perspectives and inappropriate depictions of who we are as First Nation American Indian people. This misinformation always ends up being internalized by those who don’t know any better or how to decipher the difference between fact and fiction.

I get this movie is a “period piece”; however, never was there a time when our ancestors or our elders spoke the way Depp portrays Tonto in the upcoming Disney release “The Lone Ranger.” Thanks Johnny Depp for not exercising your gifts of being an amazing actor who is typically able to bring amazing life to your characters using that talent. Sadly and so disappointing is seeing that all you have done here is simply mimic the pathetic speech patterns created and always depicted in the ridiculous stereotype plagued lot of Hollywood Spaghetti Westerns films.

Of course, those who don’t get it, will argue or tell me to lighten up because this is a remake of “The Lone Ranger” which was shot in the 1930s-40s or that I “should just get over it.”

But here is the deal…while this may be a remake of a 30s-40s television show, the technology and special effects used to make this movie will surely remind audiences throughout the 90 minute process that it is anything but a true “period piece” and that it’s a modern day flick. As such, I don’t think it’s cockamamie that I would have expected Depp to deliver his lines in a more modern and realistic manner and not like a caricature from a John Wayne movie, or 1920s cartoon.
More on the story

Michelle elaborated in a comment she posted on Facebook:Perhaps I would not have expected more from Depp had he not said he wanted to play the role of Tonto to counteract stereotypical images of American Indians that have pervaded history. Specifically, stating he wanted “to [mess] around with the stereotype of the American Indian that has been laid out through history, or the history of cinema..."

Or, had he not announced to the world that he would deliver a more well-rounded version of Tonto unlike the original one dimensional character of the 1930s television series. Leaving us to believe he was going to deliver something fresh, new and devoid of the damaging "Injun" speak stereotype created by Hollywood.

Or, had he and the filmmakers not made promises that in this role as "spirit warrior" Tonto, he would uphold the integrity of American Indian people. Which, reluctantly, many believed...even though he fashioned the look of his character after a painting by non-Native artist Kirby Sattler stating he saw the photo and thought to himself "Tonto's got a bird on his head. It's his spirit guide." Really? SMH

The list goes on, and I'm sure you get the point.

For so many years we've managed to go farther and farther away from the "How!" Indian. So much so that our young people 16 and under have likely not experienced anything like this, until now. Imagine the confusion and embarrassment this is going to instill upon these young people as they wonder "why is he talking like that?" It can't be argued that this won't be confusing or damaging.

It is bad enough that our American Indian youth watching prime time television never sees frequent or true reflections of themselves because we as American Indian people seem to be non-existent but now "Jack Sparrow" is delivering them this...a Comanche Indian Tonto.

Sadly, whether we like it or not the perception is the reality and films shape perceptions that our young people have of the world they live in, and of themselves. Research on identity development has shown lack of representation AND damaging images and stereotypes make young people painfully aware of why we are viewed--or not viewed--as human beings. Much the same way that Holloween costumes dehumanize who we are as Indian people--turning us into non-existence caricatures.

I had accepted Johnny Depp as Tonto, but I didn't expect him to take us so far back in time we'll need to explain, or undue this stereotype.

How soon they forget the promises they make...
Comment:  For more on Johnny Depp, see Depp Too "Pretty" to Play Natives?! and 2nd Lone Ranger Trailer.

Heliographs helped capture Geronimo

Trail Dust: Army used 'talking mirrors' to help track Geronimo

By Marc SimmonsDuring the last campaign against Geronimo in 1886, the U.S. Army introduced a heliograph system for the rapid transmission of messages across the Southwestern deserts.

The heliograph was a small, round mirror mounted on a movable bracket and a tripod. By catching the sun, it could flash coded signals great distances.

The British had pioneered military use of heliographs in India during the 1860s. When Gen. Nelson A. Miles was chasing Montana Indians in 1878, he had six of the devices and found them very effective. Upon his transfer to Arizona, he decided to use them there.

By the time Geronimo and his handful of warriors made their final raid, the telegraph had been strung from Tucson to El Paso.

The trouble was, the Apaches had learned to cut the wire and then false-splice it with rawhide, so that repair crews could not see the break from the ground.

The heliograph, which flashed from mountaintop to mountaintop, was far more reliable. In a short time, Miles saw to the establishing of a series of signal stations from Robledo Peak above Fort Fillmore in the Mesilla Valley, westward to the main forts of Arizona.
And:Scholars have long argued over just how important the heliograph was in bringing about Geronimo’s final surrender in September of 1886.

Gen. Miles was convinced that it played a key role, and he stated that on more than one occasion. He may also have started a story saying that when the wily Geronimo came to understand how the white men were communicating his movements by the talking mirrors, he realized that his cause was hopeless and sent orders to his scattered warriors to give up.

Said one historian: “The heliograph was a decisive factor. Flashing all day from mountain summits, the mirrors kept the soldiers fully informed of Indian movements. The Apaches had not a moment’s rest.”

But other, skeptical writers declare that the case on behalf of the heliograph has been badly overstated. Geronimo, they say, grasped the nature of the signals right away—for after all, it was not unlike his own smoke signaling.
Comment:  A couple of points worth noting:

1) Cutting the telegraph wires and then false-splicing them with rawhide is a nice sabotage technique. I'm not sure I heard about the fake-wire twist before.

Regardless, it shows how clever and adaptable the Apache were. They weren't just circling the wagons and whooping--as every old Western showed them doing. They were using modern guerrilla warfare tactics.

2) The US Army relied on communications similar to the Indians' smoke signals. What about all the cartoons showing "primitive" Indians using smoke signals while "civilized" white men used the telegraph or, well, nothing?

In reality, the white man was hardly more advanced than the Indian. Take away his telegraph and he had few advantages other than numbers.

So much for the stereotypical cartoons that lampoon Indians as savages.

For more on Geronimo, see Code Name: Geronimo to Be Released and Beyond Geronimo at the Heard.

Navajo "anime-core" band

'Is this us?'

5 Cellars Below reorganizes as Rei-Gurren

By Shondiin Silversmith
Out with the old, in with the new is the motto for members of Rei-Gurren since they dropped their former band name, 5 Cellars Below, and reestablished themselves early last year.

When 5 Cellars Below disbanded after working together since 2004, the remaining members wanted to keep going, and that's how Rei-Gurren—the names of two of their favorite animated characters—was born.

"What makes us different is we put a lot more effort into our writing," said front man Raemus Catron, 25. "Basically we matured in our instruments."

The Window Rock-based, self-proclaimed "anime-core" band lashes out their sound with a faster tempo, a lot more melody, and longer solos.

Rei-Gurren band members said the songs they are creating now are more energetic, and more fun to play, because they create music based around the things they enjoy the most: anime, video games, and Japanese bands.
Comment:  For more on Navajo musicians, see Navajo Nation Band at the Inauguration and Radmilla Cody Nominated for Grammy.

Below:  "Rei Gurren band members, from left to right, include Jeffery Curley (drummer), Reamus Catron (front man) and Reuben Begay (basset) are happy to get back in the music scene as a new band with a new sound." (Donovan Quintero)

February 22, 2013

100th anniversary of buffalo nickel

On Its 100th Anniversary, a Look at the History of the Indian-Head Nickel

By Rick HerediaSo why all this press for a slaughtered beast? Black Diamond was, at the time of his slaughter, one of the most famous animals in the United States. Just two years earlier, in 1913, his image was stamped onto the reverse side of the Indian head nickel. The nickel—75 percent copper and 25 percent nickel—made its debut on Washington’s birthday, February 22, 1913, 100 years ago. In the decades that followed, it became an Indian country icon.

At least one newspaper, the National Labor Tribune, believed Black Diamond had been dealt a great injustice. “The buffalo which served as a model for the nickel coin has been put to death,” it said. “Republics are notoriously ungrateful.”

The occasion for the nickel’s debut was the groundbreaking for the National American Indian Memorial, the dream/scheme (and it turns out, pipe dream) of Rodman Wanamaker, scion of the Wanamaker department store chain. Plans called for the memorial to have a colossal bronze statue of an Indian, 60 feet high on a 70-foot base, one arm raised, two fingers forming a V, greeting ships carrying immigrants and others arriving in New York. A museum and a warrior on horseback were also part of the design. The statue and all the rest were to be erected at Fort Wadsworth on New York’s Staten Island, just south of the Statue of Liberty. Staten Island, named for the Dutch parliament, the Staten-General, originally belonged to Lenape Indians, who repulsed the Dutch three times before the invaders were able to establish a settlement there.

Now, in 1913, the island was being invaded again. On a cold, bleak, wet day, just after noon, the fort’s batteries fired a 21-gun salute announcing the arrival of President William Howard Taft. Waiting to greet Taft were members of his cabinet, New York’s governor, New York City’s mayor, naval and military detachments and officers, including Lieutenant General Nelson A. Miles, who had taken part in many of the U.S. Army’s campaigns against Plains Indians, had forced the surrender of Chief Joseph and spent exhausting months in the field chasing Geronimo.

On hand, too, patiently waiting in the mist, were more than 30 Plains Indian leaders and warriors, many of whom who had fought Miles and the U.S. Army. They were dressed in beaded buckskin and wore eagle feather headdresses. They included Plenty Coups, Drags The Wolf, Crane In The Sky, Little Wolf, Black Wolf, Wooden Leg, Red Arrow, Hollow Horn Bear and Two Moons.
And:A few months later, in July 1913, Wanamaker sent out the last of three expeditions to Indian reservations promoting citizenship and fealty to the U.S. At the time, many Americans—even those who said they respected Indians, such as Wanamaker—thought American Indians were a vanishing race. Wanamaker believed that assimilation was their best hope for survival. (This, despite the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) findings that the Indian population was increasing. In 1890 the BIA counted 243,000 Indians. In 1900, that figure jumped to 270,000. In 1910, it stood at 305,000.)

Speaking at a press conference held when the citizenship expedition returned to New York in December 1913, Henry Roe Cloud, Winnebago, a Yale graduate known for his speaking skills, asked the question that must have been on the minds of many Indian leaders of the day. “Today, the American Indian finds himself in the midst of a great, complex civilization, and it is a national question whether this complex civilization will bear him down or be the means of his salvation,” Roe Cloud said, as quoted in The New York Times.

Once the nickel went into circulation, it was hammered. Critics complained that it lacked the grace and beauty of previous coins, including its predecessor, the Liberty nickel. But after 25 years, that coin had run its course, and treasury officials wanted to change the design. The New York Times said the new nickel was a “striking example of what a coin intended for wide circulation…should not be.” It said the coin was not pleasing to look at when shiny and new and “will be an abomination when it is old and dull.” One Times reader, H.P. Nitsua, said, “The new nickel is certainly a travesty on artistic effect,” and called the Indian’s feathers “barbaric headgear.”

The New York Sun called it an ugly coin.
Fortunately, the nickel had a happy ending:The coin had a run of 25 years, from 1913 to 1938, when it was replaced by the Jefferson nickel. More than 1.2 billion Indian head nickels were minted; their total currency value was more than $60.5 million.

The National Indian Memorial never did get built at Fort Wadsworth. Wanamaker couldn’t come up with the money and soon enough, World War I grabbed the headlines. But the Indian head—or buffalo—nickel, outlived its critics to become one of the most admired coins the U.S. ever produced. Many have called it beautiful, and it has become iconic. In the early 1970s, an image of the nickel, Indian head showing, appeared on a protest poster that read the only Indian America ever cared about.

It has been incorporated into many types of jewelry, from earrings to belts. It adorns T-shirts, jackets and other clothing and is the logo for coin shops and other businesses. It has been made into guitar picks and used to decorate the bolt-action rifles and rifle slings. The image has been tattooed onto backs and shoulders. One artist, Peter Rocha, created a striking four-foot-by-four-foot image of the nickel in Fairfield, California using more than 9,500 jellybeans provided by Jelly Belly (see Rocha’s work at JellyBelly.com).

Many of the nickels are sold on eBay. The American Numismatic Association displayed Black Diamond’s mounted head at its 1985 convention, writes author David Lange in his book, The Complete Guide to Buffalo Nickels. The ANA, headquartered in Colorado Springs, will celebrate 100th anniversary of the nickel during National Coin Week, April 21 to 27. Its theme will be Buffalo Nickel Centennial: Black Diamond Shines Again.

Perhaps the greatest testament to the nickel’s popularity and endurance has come from the U.S. Mint, which resurrected the nickel in the form of the $50 American Buffalo gold bullion coin. When it was first sold in 2006, the mint’s price was $800. As of January 2013, the cost was $960.
Comment:  This posting links the buffalo nickel to other bits of history: the proposed Indian statue on Staten Island, and the Wanamaker expeditions mentioned in my interview with Steven Lewis Simpson. All involved Rodman Wanamaker. It was a smaller world back then; anything involving America's Indian policy probably involved the same few people.

Let's discuss these items.

1) The Indian-head or buffalo nickel is much like a modern-day mascot. Twenty-three years after Wounded Knee, it was a way to "honor" Indians after their defeat. Americans came close to exterminating both Indians and buffalo, so this was a way to salve their consciences. "Look how brave and noble the Indian (and buffalo) was," the coin seemed to say. "Think about how they symbolized the strength and majesty of America. And not how we were slaughtering them just a few years ago."

2) The Staten Island statue would've served a similar purpose. "Look at the Indian welcoming people to America," observers might say. "The Europeans weren't invaders, they were guests. White men and Indians lived in peace and harmony (see our Pocahontas and Thanksgiving myths) until something went tragically wrong."

It would've been interesting if we'd had a giant status of an Indian instead of Liberty. I'm not sure if that would've been positive or negative. On the one hand, it would've become the most iconic Indian in the world. On the other hand, it would've whitewashed the white man's responsibility for breaking the treaties and stealing the land.

3)The Wanamaker expeditions did explicitly what the coin and proposed statue did implicitly. Namely, seal off the past and make America feel good about its conquests. People like Wanamaker wanted the Indians to assimilate and vanish from our history. We could remember them as noble warriors, but we were to forget they were sovereign entities with legal rights and natural resources. Indians were to become a comforting myth (again, like Pocahontas and Thanksgiving): the friendly guides who helped us "tame the wilderness." We wouldn't have had to trouble our consciences anymore.

Most of the Native stereotypes in our culture today--and there are millions of them--serve the same purpose. Whitewashing the past...salving our consciences...erasing our crimes. In other words, maintaining the status quo in which broken treaties and stolen land are the norm. It's all about confirming the white man's power and privilege to rule according to Euro-Christian standards.

All that from one little nickel.

For more on the buffalo nickel, see Indian Head Gold Dollars and Sports Logos = US Coins?

Below:  "Chief Two Guns White Calf, nickel model."