April 29, 2013

Natives criticize pro-gun billboard

Pro-gun Native American billboard draws criticismTwo billboards in which images of Native Americans are used to make a gun rights argument are causing a stir with some residents who say the image is offensive and insensitive.

The billboards in this northern Colorado city show three men dressed in traditional Native American attire and the words "Turn in your arms. The government will take care of you."

Matt Wells, an account executive with Lamar Advertising in Denver, said Monday a group of local residents purchased the space.

"They have asked to remain anonymous," he said.

He also refused to disclose the cost, but said the billboards are only appearing in the Greeley area. Wells said he has not received any complaints so far.

"I think it's a little bit extreme, of course, but I think people are really worried about their gun rights and what liberties are going to be taken away," Wells told the Greeley Tribune (http://tinyurl.com/cdtkgj2).

Greeley resident Kerri Salazar, who is of Native American descent, said she was livid when she learned about it. She said she doesn't have a problem with the gun rights message, but she's offended the Native American people were singled out, apparently without their consent.

"I think we all get that (Second Amendment) message. What I don't understand is how an organization can post something like that and not think about the ripple effect that it's gonna have through the community," she said.

Irene Vernon, a Colorado State University professor and chairwoman of the ethnic studies department, said the message on the billboard is taking a narrow view of a much more complicated history of the Native American plight. She said it's not as if Native Americans just gave up their guns and wound up on reservations.

"It wasn't just about our guns," said Vernon, a Native American.

Fox Defends Controversial Pro-Gun Billboard Despite Native American Complaints

By Thomas BishopFox News defended a billboard that uses images of Native Americans to push a pro-gun agenda, claiming the message is not offensive despite widespread reporting of condemnation from Native American groups.

Fox's The Five defended a billboard purchased in Greely, Colorado by an anonymous group that depicted three Native Americans with the message "Turn in your arms, the government will take care of you."

After guest host Juan Williams claimed Native Americans found the billboard insensitive, Eric Bolling replied "I can't find what's insensitive... others think it was accurate." Bolling added that if you read the Denver Post article "the comments by Native Americans were hey I'm not offended by this." Co-host Dana Perino agreed, saying "I am not offended by this at all, I think it's effective advertising."

But reporting on the billboard has highlighted the concerns of several Native Americans from the area. FoxNews.com reported on the billboards in an article titled "Native Americans incensed over pro-gun rights billboard in Colorado." The article included statements from three Native Americans from the area who expressed anger over the billboard. One resident, Maureen Brucker felt "the billboards are making light of atrocities the federal government committed against Native Americans. Kerri Salazar, also a Native American said she was "livid when she learned about it."
Secretive gun group uses Native Americans to push against gun safety measures

By Arturo GarciaLamar Advertising, the company that owns the billboard, said the two-week ad was bought by a group that wishes to remain anonymous.

“I think it’s a little bit extreme, of course,” said Matt Wells, an account executive with Lamar. “But I think people are really worried about their gun rights and what liberties are going to be taken away,

But while Wells said he had not heard any complaints, some residents, like Kerri Salazar, are indeed upset about the billboards.

“You don’t do this,” Salazar said. “You don’t take something that is indicative of an ethnicity and use it to prove your point. It is just not acceptable. No matter what the ethnicity, no matter what the point, you don’t do it.”
Natives respond

I posted this on Facebook, which led to a brief discussion:Indians had more to fear from those "well-regulated militias," didn't they?

This picture is [the] aftermath of centuries of abuse well before Natives had European weapons. Too little too late for pro gun morons not wanting any logical regulation.
Right. In fact, Indians had guns for much of their resistance. It wasn't a lack of guns that hurt them. It was the diseases, the dirty tricks (broken treaties, etc.), and the overwhelming numbers against them.

"It wasn't just about our guns," said Vernon, a Native American. Which is putting it mildly.

In reality, hordes of gun-toting settlers forced Indians off their land. Guns were part of the problem, not the solution. If guns had been limited to well-regulated state militias, as the Founders intended, Indians would've been much better off.

For more on gun control, see Why White Men Worship Guns and Phony Pro-Gun Indian Image.


Anonymous said...

The fun part is, I don't mind the idea of people having guns (so long as they don't have a criminal past and aren't insane). But this billboard is just...

I'm sure there's a Godwin's law corollary here.

Rob said...


Controversial Greeley billboards replaced with blank space

Two controversial Greeley billboards on which images of American Indians were used to make a pro-gun rights statement are gone, and the space on one of the billboards is posted as for sale.