July 31, 2013

Indians in The Lost Colony

I searched for some critical reviews of The Lost Colony. Most fans seem to love the Roanoke play, but you can find some discouraging words:

The Lost Colony“A dramatic interpretation of the Lost Colony”
5 of 5 stars--Reviewed July 29, 2013 NEW

This is one of America's longest running outdoor productions. You will enjoy seeing a huge cast--some who are wearing award winning 16th century costumes, Elizabethan choral music, and lots of special effects, including some fireworks. The setting is against he picturesque Roanoke Island sound. This is a must see for the whole family.

“2013 Show Much Improved Over Previous Years”
5 of 5 stars--Reviewed July 27, 2013

We did the pre-show backstage tour--$7 per person. Great experience. Highly recommended! The performers are much more professional than in the past. Dancers and dances, especially the Indian dance in Act I, were very entertaining. The singing is really excellent as are the fight scenes. Sound and light definitely first class! The dialogue is as corny and memorable as ever....

“Outstanding, Lively Drama. Wonderful for families!”
5 of 5 stars--Reviewed July 23, 2013

We made a special trip coming up from the south to detour over to Manteo and see the Lost Colony Outdoor Drama. All I can say is wow! We enjoyed it and really learned alot. Wonderful setting, excellent acting and singing and dancing. Gunshots and action for the kids. Real drama and poignant moments. It spurred us to learn more...

“Entertaining, Too Long & History(?)”
3 of 5 stars--Reviewed July 19, 2013

We took a group of 18 folks from 10 to 70 years old. The play was entertaining with action for the youngsters and music for the oldsters. However, at 2 1/2 hours it was too long. The portrayal of the Native Americans was inaccurate, and the conclusion was historical speculation presented as fact.

“A bit disappointing”
3 of 5 stars--Reviewed July 18, 2013

I have always been a fan of all types of theatre and at one time or another I have participated in all areas of it: as an audience member, stagehand, and as an actor. And I have seen numerous shows ranging from amateur to professional productions. So when I saw all the advertisements for "The Lost Colony" and all the rave reviews, I was intrigued and decided to check out a performance with my parents. That said I was disappointed. The show was not at all up to the standards I expected of a show that has been running for so long.

The show starts with a confusing scene where a group of the actors enter stage left singing a low, and very hard to understand song (which was a surprise to me because I enjoy that style of music and am usually able to understand the lyrics). Halfway through the song a narrator enters and begins to offer some explanation but his explanation developed quickly into a sermon and I found it almost impossible to follow by the end. The second scene moved to a Native American village where a group of dancers broke into a "tribal" dance, which appeared to have more elements of ballet and jazz in it than tribal elements. That's not to say the dancing wasn't ok, I just wish there had been more tribal dancing.
A presumably more professional reviewer has nothing bad to say about the latest production:

[Theater Review] 'The Lost Colony' 2013 Season Opens [Photo Gallery]

By Matt ArtzDirected this year by Ira David Wood III, the 76th production of The Lost Colony is an exciting adventure through the earliest history of our country and the defining moments of these Outer Banks.

The opening ritual sequence shows off the sleek athletic bodies of the Native Americans, effectively introduced entirely by their striking dance movements, to the sound of beating drums that evoke an early tension foreshadowing what’s to come.
And:When the Native Americans attack Fort Raleigh, chaos reigns across the stage, as fires burn, women scream and cry, children flee in fear, and arrows seemingly fly right past your head, thanks to effective use of the Waterside Theatre’s surround sound system. The choreographed fights are as good as anything you’ll see in a blockbuster movie this year, and the swelling recorded soundtrack heard just under the live sounds of battle adds fuel to the action.

The most violent moments in the play are often juxtaposed with the more celebratory events of the colonists, none more grand than the much anticipated birth of England’s first child in the New World, baby Virginia Dare.
Below:  "Gary Gatling II is Uppowoc in The Lost Colony." (photo: OBXentertainment.com)

A book on the play provides more details:

The Lost Colony
A Symphonic Drama of American History

By Paul Green[F]rom the perspective of 2000 the play in its early years retained vestiges of the stereotypical Indian associated with dime novels and B-movie westerns. When the Algonquians reassembled and met the English after the interruption of the harvest dance, they made themselves objects of audience laughter by the way they carried on over the trinkets distributed as gifts by the English (the Algonquian chief wore a cooking pot as a hat, and so on). When the chief was murdered by the English, the surviving medicine man expressed his grief through shrieks and wails and the flinging about of sand—actions that to the audience would seem strange, even outlandish, expressions of grief. In her single-minded pursuit of Old Tom, Agona was a parody of the lovesick female, and, as such, a frequent object of ridicule. And the Algonquians with speaking parts in the play spoke a pidgin English now called Tonto (in honor of a well-known practitioner, the Lone Ranger's faithful Indian companion), saying things like: "Wanchese have no brother. Wanchese brother Wingina—white men kill. Wanchese never forget. When moon come big white men be gone" (where Wanchese was the speaker, Wingina the chief killed by the English [1937, p. 69]).

With a rising acceptance of the humanity of Native Americans in the larger society, the stereotypical streak in The Lost Colony weakened the impact of the play on contemporary audiences. Realizing this, Drew Harris set out to do something about it. In his three years as artistic director, he eliminated the gift-giving, hence the clowning, when the Algonquians and English first meet. Audiences can now empathize with the grief of the medicine man as he cradles the head of the dead chief in his lap and moans, calling out Wingina's name in a voice of lamentation. Simply by casting her as a pretty young woman and eliminating her slapstick gestures, Harris transformed Agona from an object of ridicule to a strong positive character, whose presence adds believability to the spiritual growth of Old Tom (an important development in the play). He even created a tender moment between the two when, building on the artistic talent she always possessed (she makes candles for the colonists' chapel), Agona brings out a necklace she has made, places it over Tom's head, and gently arranges it on his shoulders.
And the play's Facebook page:

The Lost Colony

Comment:  I haven't seen this play, but we can note several problems in these reviews:

  • There's no mention whatsoever of Native actors playing the roles or Native advisers helping with the script. The actors don't look Native. In fact, a couple appear to have their skin darkened with makeup. That's called "redface."

  • The Algonquian characters are all scantily clad. The Indians may have gone naked in the summer, so that much is accurate. But the play could put them in warm clothing for winter scenes. And the women all have bikini-style tops, short skirts, and bare midriffs. That's called portraying Native women as sex objects.

  • We don't know what dances the Algonquians performed, but the combination of half-naked dancers, pounding drums, and acrobatic moves suggests pure physicality to me. It suggests savagery. The Indians seem to be defined by their animalistic side--by bodies in motion.

    Many tribes had gatherings where people recounted histories or told stories for hours. Does the play convey that the Algonquians could be as intellectual as the Europeans? I doubt it.

  • Despite hints of antagonism and an occasional killing, we don't know what happened to the colonists. I don't think there's any hard evidence that the Indians attacked and killed most of them. Yet the play portrays the outcome as a veritable war.

    A peaceful alternative seems just as likely to me. The colonists were hungry, or another tribe threatened them, so they sought the Croatons' help. In other words, the colony was in jeopardy, so the colonists begged the Croatons to take them in. They quietly abandoned the colony and disappeared into the forest.

    It sounds like the play offers a worst-case scenario: one that makes the Indians responsible for the colony's failure. Along with everything else, the overall message is savagery. It may have been that way, but again, there's no hard evidence for it.

    The Lost Colony should say something like that in its program or on stage. Present the alternative theories about what happened. If you portray Indians as deadly warriors without evidence, you're stereotyping them.

    For more on the subject, see History of The Lost Colony and 76th Production of Lost Colony.

  • Scooby-Doo meets Navajo "shaman"

    Someone alerted me to this comic-book story featuring a Native character:

    Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?The Case of Carlsbad's Creepy Caverns finds the Mystery Gang on vacation in New Mexico when a spooky scare at one of America's greatest natural wonders drags them into yet another caper. Before it's over they summon the Pueblo clown spirits with desert shaman Navajo Windfeather, run from a giant trilobite, and find themselves neck-deep in the most devilish force of all--show business!You can see the art for the ten-page story here:

    The Case of Carlsbad's Creepy Caverns

    My contact added:The story and artwork showcase themes, historic facts, and artistic motifs from the Pueblo, Hopi, and Zuni nations. I know the writer personally and he took great pride in putting as much native culture into the story as possible without being didactic. Here's a preview and a link to all of the artwork. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoy the posts on this site. --SComment:  Judging by the wordless art, the story goes like this: Scary things happen in cavern, gang consults Native "shaman" about who might be playing pranks, incidents are revealed to have a non-supernatural origin...as usual.

    Based on what we know, the story already has a few problems:

  • "Shaman" doesn't mean any Native who performs magic. It's a particular kind of priest or medicine man. Shamans are mostly found in Siberian tribes, although there are some in Pacific Northwest and Alaska tribes.

  • I don't know if the character is a shaman Navajo named Windfeather or a shaman named Navajo Windfeather. Either way, the Windfeather part sounds like a name for a New Ager, not a Navajo.

  • Assuming a "shaman" can summon spirits, why would a Navajo summon Pueblo "clown spirits"? The Navajo and Pueblo tribes have different religions and cultures. A Navajo would have no more power over Pueblo spirits than he would over the Greek gods.

    Even if the shaman is just describing Pueblo clown spirits, not summoning them, it doesn't quite make sense. His attitude seems to be: "I'm here and the Pueblo tribes are way over there. Let's blame their spirits even though my tribe's spirits are presumably here with me."

  • I'm not sure the koshares (clowns) and mudheads qualify as tricksters who play pranks in general. They may do so during Pueblo ceremonies, or in the Pueblo villages. But I don't think they roam all over the Southwest causing mischief. Coyote or Kokopelli might be more appropriate for that role.

  • For more on Scooby-Doo, see Scooby-Doo vs. the Ogopogo.

    Below:  A Navajo "shaman" explains Pueblo "clown spirits" even though the Carlsbad Caverns aren't claimed by either tribal group. Nice artwork, at least.

    Tall ships escort Quinault canoes

    History Sails Full Circle as Tall Ships Escort Northwest Native Canoes

    By Richard WalkerNext month, during the annual Canoe Journey, history will come full circle when the tall ships Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain escort up to 100 canoes—from First Nations in Washington and British Columbia—as they travel along the open coast from Neah Bay in Makah Nation territory to Taholah at the Quinault Indian Nation, which hosts the journey, August 1 to 6.

    The Canoe Journey has “made a tremendous contribution to public education about the heritage of Native people and tribes and First Nations of the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia,” Quinault Indian Nation President Fawn Sharp says. “The events have also contributed mightily to the cultural reinvigoration of Native people and the connection between Indian and non-Indian governments and communities.

    “By inviting the Lady Washington and the Hawaiian Chieftain to participate in this event, protocols are being followed which were neglected by tall ships of the past. This could thus be viewed as an opportunity to help make some amends for some past transgressions. Moreover, the participation of these tall ships in this event also helps convey a message that tribal and nontribal communities choose to look forward to and work together on a collaborative basis toward common objectives.”

    The Quinault Nation invited the tall ships to escort the canoes this year because 2013 is the 225th anniversary of first contact between the U.S. and the Indigenous Peoples of the Pacific Northwest. “We are very excited to be able to participate in this important cultural event,” says Les Bolton, executive director of the Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Authority, which owns the Lady Washington and the Hawaiian Chieftain.
    Comment:  For more on Native treks, see 4th Annual Tar Sands Healing Walk and Longest Walk 4 Return to Alcatraz.

    Below:  "The new landing site for cedar canoes hewn by a new generation of Native carvers." (Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission)

    July 30, 2013

    Mexican inspector humiliates Tzotzil boy

    Juan Diego Lopez Jimenez, Mexican City Inspector, Makes Street Vendor Cry: Watch 10-Year-Old Tzotzil, Manuel Diaz Hernandez, Get Humiliated [VIDEO]Video footage of a Mexican inspector making a 10-year-old Indian street vendor cry has gone viral. The footage melted the hearts of Mexicans and has resulted in the firing of the Mexican official.

    The footage shows the poor Tzotzil boy selling candy, cough drops and what looks like cigarettes in Villahermosa, the capital of the state of Tabasco. The boy, identified as Manuel Diaz Hernandez, was trying to make money to buy his own school supplies.

    A city inspector, Juan Diego López Jiménez, is seen in the video spotting the boy, confronting him and taking packs of cigarettes from his basket. For full disclosure, it is illegal in Mexico for minors to buy or sell cigarettes. The inspector forces Manuel Diaz Hernandez to throw the candy onto the pavement and the boy is seen crying.

    After the inspector walks off, another man helps the young boy pick up the sweets and Manuel Diaz Hernandez falls down into a squatting position, covers his face with his arms and begins crying while rocking back and forth.

    It is not uncommon in Mexico for street vendors to sell single cigarettes at double the price to people who need just the one or don't have the money to buy a full pack. The cost of the candies and cigarettes thrown by the inspector is most likely more than what the boy would make in profit in a week, which explains his sobbing reaction. Officials have agreed, after the story hit the news, that the punishment for the boy was too severe, especially since Indians were enslaved a century ago in the region.

    The video, taken last Monday, has been seen hundreds of thousands of times and on Friday, the National Human Rights Commission announced it would investigate the case. The city revealed on Wednesday that it fired the inspector.

    "Any form of violence against children is totally unacceptable, especially when directed against Indians, who are one of the most vulnerable groups in the country," said the National Human Rights Commission said in a statement.
    Mexicans outraged by video of official humiliating Tzotzil Indian boyThe video was viewed hundreds of thousands of times over the last few days, and on Friday the governmental National Human Rights Commission announced it would investigate the case. The city announced on Wednesday that it has fired the inspector.

    It was the latest victory for social media in winning some measure of justice in Mexico. In recent years, social media have exposed a number of scandals and instances of mistreatment that often would have gone overlooked in the past.
    And:The Tabasco state prosecutors’ office said the boy’s aunt, Maria Diaz Diaz, said she had brought Manuel to Villahermosa about 10 days earlier. She said the boy lives with his grandparents in the Tzotzil Indian village of San Juan Chamula, in neighboring Chiapas state, and wanted to work during his summer vacation to raise money for school supplies in the fall. Mexican children get free textbooks, but often have to buy their own pencils, paper and uniforms.

    Tabasco state Gov. Arturo Nunez announced Thursday his administration would give Manuel and his family “a scholarship, as well as all medical and psychological help for the boy.”
    Comment:  There's no clear evidence that Lopez picked on Manuel because he's an Indian, but it's quite possible. As I've noted before, Mexico has a problem with racism against Indians just like the US.

    Once again, we see the power of social media. Because of the online outrage, the inspector gets fired and the boy gets a scholarship.

    For more on prejudice in Mexico, see Indigenous Mexicans Face Prejudice and Mexicans Gyrate in Blackface.

    Studi apologizes to Santa Fe Police

    Actor Wes Studi apologizes to police

    By Bill RodgersAn actor who was arrested last week on a charge of aggravated DWI has apologized for his behavior toward police during the arrest.

    “While I cannot comment on the ongoing legal situation, I want to apologize to law enforcement officers for my behavior that evening,” actor Wes Studi said in a statement through a publicist. “Though it wasn’t apparent, I do have the highest respect for law enforcement.”

    Studi goes on to say that, despite his behavior, the Santa Fe Police officers were professional. He states he “deeply respects” and appreciates that.

    “I know I’ve hurt family, friends and supporters and I’m deeply sorry,” he states.
    Wes Studi apologizes to Santa Fe Police but some fans unforgiving (Video)

    By Roscoe PondAccording to the official website of KOB 4 News. Here are several of the immediate comments from New Mexico individuals after Wes Studi's apology. (Spelling & sentence structure corrected for readers).

    Anthony Robbin--“Of course after the fact. After he has egg on his face. Alcohol does bad things.”

    George Miller--“I am glad he apologized to the police, but he never apologized for his racist remarks he made (watch video!). He was my favorite actor, but no more and until he addresses those comments. I will not watch another of his movies. Again, go to 'www.krqe.com' and watch police video. The media seems to downplay his racist remarks, but it is there for the world to see. I hope he did not mean what he said, but maybe people don't care because he has and never will be a high profile actor like Denzil Washington or John Wayne--and after this he never will be!”

    Carletta Murphy--“Blah, Blah. Blah! We've heard it all before. He's a jerk to everyone, (to) Anglos, Native Americans and always will be. The only thing he cares about is his ego and the bottle in his hand. It will happen again and I won't be surprised.”

    Michael Dietz--“I believe that when any criminal says he/she is sorry. They are really only sorry they got caught.”

    Joseph Sanchez--“It's said (that) when one is drunk the “truth” comes out!”

    Louise Marquez--“I too take issue with Mr. Studi's very racist remarks. As an Anglo you can rest assured, actor or normal citizen, if I had made similar comments about a Native American or any other race. I would've been figuratively crucified by the media. I can't help but think that the only reason for his public apology was to attempt to salvage what might be left of his public (not to mention high-paying) career. Bigotry hurts in both directions. Thank you, Mr. Studi, for proving that racism is alive and well in all races!”
    Comment:  Roscoe Pond should've corrected his own spelling and punctuation as well as the commenters'. <g>

    For more on Wes Studi, see Wes Studi Arrested for DWI and Wes Studi Supports Gay Marriage.

    Tonto costume at Comic-Con

    Wrap Up: The Five Things I Learned At SDCC 2013

    By Kendra James San Diego Comic Con was overwhelming and not for the faint hearted, but also one of the most unique experiences of geekdom I’ve ever had. After taking a week to recover I wanted share a few highs and lows, insights and lessons learned from a first time SDCC attendee. What do you think?

    1. The children are the future.

    After snapping a photo of a kid in a Tonto costume I fell into a discussion with the friends I was with over whether or not it was an appropriate costume for an eight or nine year old. They argued that you can’t blame a parent for allowing a child to dress as a character they admire. I pointed out that if it were my kid they wouldn’t have dressed as Tonto in the first place. I would have used the, “Can I dress as Tonto for Comic Con?” request as a teachable moment–-a teachable moment that would have started before we walked into the theatre. Perhaps it sounds harsh, but isn’t teaching your kids right and wrong the point of being a parent, even if you do have to simplify a bit for age? The outlook for the next generation of geeks won’t be particularly bright if parents of all races can’t begin having these conversations with their children.
    Comment:  As predicted, the mainstreaming of Johnny Depp's phony portrayal continues.

    For more on Johnny Depp and Tonto, see Racist Car Ad Features Tonto Ripoff and Disney Store Sells Tonto Costumes.

    July 29, 2013

    History of The Lost Colony

    Last week I posted an article about the 76th production of Lost Colony. The piece didn't say much about the play's history, so I didn't go into it.

    But someone asked me about it, so I looked into it further. The play has an interesting history that's worth noting.

    The Lost ColonyThe Lost Colony is a historical play by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paul Green about Roanoke, the first English colony in North America. The play is based on the historical accounts of Sir Walter Raleigh's failed attempts to establish a permanent settlement in the 1580s in part of what was then the Colony of Virginia. The Lost Colony has been performed since 1937 in an outdoor theater located on the site of Sir Walter's colony on Roanoke Island in the Outer Banks region near present-day Manteo, North Carolina. The original music for the play was provided by acclaimed American composer and conductor Lamar Stringfield. As of 2012, it is the United States' second longest running historical outdoor drama, behind The Ramona Pageant.

    Longest-running symphonic outdoor drama

    Meant only to last for one season, The Lost Colony has become a North Carolina tradition, produced for over four million visitors since 1937.

    On July 4, 1937, The Lost Colony first opened. The drama underwent many conceptions before July 1937. First, there was as an annual picnic event, then a silent film, a pageant and finally a symphonic outdoor drama.
    And:Roanoke Island and the Outer Banks of North Carolina experienced a boom in tourism: hotels, motels and restaurants thrived despite the bleak economy. The village of Manteo was changed: the town’s streets were named from characters in the drama.

    President Franklin D. Roosevelt saw the production on August 18 of that year and remarked, "We do not know the fate of Virginia Dare or the First Colony. We do know, however, that the story of America is largely a record of that spirit of adventure."

    Many local Roanoke Islanders and North Carolinians have played a part in the drama. Among them, Manteo-born Sen. Marc Basnight (Dem., N.C.) who performed as a colonist child, Marjalene Thomas who first performed with the show in 1938 and throughout the years played every female role—with the exception of one, and Robert Midgette (The Lost Colony’s current fight director) who has been with the show 38 years. Actor Andy Griffith, who performed at Waterside Theatre from 1947 to 1953, liked Manteo so much he decided to live there permanently.
    Below:  "Andy Griffith played the role of Sir Walter Raleigh in The Lost Colony, annual outdoor drama pageant in Manteo from 1947-1953."

    ‘The Lost Colony’ to receive a Tony Honors Award Saturday

    By Brooke CainThis weekend is shaping up to be one of the most significant in the 76-year history of “The Lost Colony.”

    The nation’s longest-running symphonic outdoor drama, which has been in production nearly every summer since 1937 on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, will receive a Tony Award on Saturday.

    The award–the Tony Honors for Excellence in Theatre–is given each year to individuals or organizations who have made major contributions to American theater but aren’t eligible for regular Tony Awards.

    Charles Massey, the marketing director for “The Lost Colony,” emphasized that the award is a big deal for theater in this state.

    “We are the only theater group in North Carolina that has ever won such an honor,” he said. “The Tony is the Academy Award of theater, so we’re in good company. It’s theater people saluting their own.”
    Popularity of 'Lost Colony' could be lost if historians find the answers

    The popularity of long-running production of the ‘The Lost Colony’ could vanish if historians solve the mystery.

    By Roy C. Dicks
    Recent news that a map in the British Museum offers a tantalizing clue to the location of “The Lost Colony” was a boon for historians, but it may be less welcome for producers of the drama about the 1587 English settlement on Roanoke Island.

    That’s because the settlers’ unknown fate is the key attraction in the nation’s longest-running historical outdoor drama, which opens Friday in Manteo for its 75th anniversary season. The mystery of what happened to more than 100 men, women and children, missing when English ships returned in 1590, has captivated audiences since 1937 and has helped cement North Carolina as the capital of outdoor drama. Nine other outdoor dramas ring up a new season in the state this summer, including the 62nd year of Cherokee’s “Unto These Hills” and the 60th of Boone’s “Horn in the West.”

    A key draw for these productions is that most are located at or near the spot where the historical events being depicted took place. At “The Lost Colony,” audience members heading to the Waterside Theatre walk through the area where the missing colonists actually lived. Yet, even with a possible solution pending, the production has many aspects to keep audiences coming.

    “My folks brought me and my brother here and it was a life-altering experience, because it was live and it was history,” said Charles Massey, marketing director for “The Lost Colony,” who remembered leaving the show with many more questions than the show answered. “I think if a family sees it together, they are invested in it and it can be a point of departure for other history lessons, as well as family activities such as reading, research and travel.”
    Comment:  Would they actually rewrite the play if the facts proved its fiction wrong? Somehow I doubt it, but I'd be impressed if they did.

    For more on Roanoke, see Lost Colony of Roanoke Found? and Roanoke Play Must Go On.

    Pledge of Allegiance celebrates Columbus

    Honoring Columbus and the Origins of the Pledge of Allegiance

    By Matt RemleThe Pledge of Allegiance was written in 1892 by a Baptist minister, and devout socialist, Francis Bellamy. Francis’s cousin was well known socialist utopian novelist Edward Bellamy. The original Pledge of Allegiance was written for the children’s magazine, The Youth’s Companion, as a part of the National-Public Schools celebration of the 400th anniversary of the arrival of Columbus.

    That’s right, the original pledge was written to honor the genocidal, slave trading, colonizer Columbus.

    The event to “honor” the 400th year of Columbus’s arrival was developed in part by James Upham, a marketer working for the Youth Companion magazine. Upham believed he could help instill American Nationalism in public schools by selling both American flags, and magazines, to the public schools in accordance with the Columbus celebration.

    Bellamy and Upham worked with the National Education Association to support the magazine as a sponsor of the Columbus Day observance, and went as far as lobbying Congress and then President Harrison to proclaim making the public school flag ceremony the center of the Columbus celebrations, which was granted by the Presidential Proclamation 335.
    Comment:  This is classic American myth-making. Columbus was the white man who launched the American "experiment." We've celebrated him for "bringing civilization to the wilderness" for centuries.

    Only recently have we noted that he really launched the conquest and genocide of thousands of Indian nations. And the rape of the earth for the enrichment of the Founding Fathers and other Euro-Christian elitists. The facts haven't changed much, but the framing has undergone a radical revision.

    This is why we fight the racism and stereotyping inherent in so much of our culture. As long as we celebrate "progress"--as in climate- and environment-destroying industries--it's difficult to change directions. Reframing American history as destruction rather than creation helps make this possible. From that flows many benefits, including acknowledgment of and respect for the remaining tribes.

    And this leads to policies that produce concrete results: government-to-government relations, land and water rights, casino gaming, etc. When we see Indians as active participants in society rather than dead or dying obstacles, everything changes. We saw that in the 1960s and '70s and it's still going on.

    For more on the Pledge of Allegiance, see Pledge Fans vs. 1st Amendment.

    July 28, 2013

    Monsterwolf on SyFy

    Syfy Scares Up a Scene from Monster Wolf

    By Jason LondonSyfy's gearing up for its annual "31 Days of Halloween" by letting the wolf out of the bag, so to speak, with a clip from the October 9th premiere of Monster Wolf. As you may have deduced from just looking at the title, yes, it is indeed about a monster wolf.

    A creature of ancient legend manifests, bound to protect the ecological balance of the land and killing anyone that threatens it. This elusive guardian is initially both feared and celebrated by the locals, but when a deadly curse affects them all, they must unite and recapture the monster wolf’s spirit or face their ultimate doom.

    The creature is a monster wolf that kills to protect the planet from the scourge of filthy humans that desecrate and pollute it? If only that crazy anti-mankind environmentalist that took the Discovery Channel hostage a week ago could have lived to see this Syfy original!

    Monster Wolf stars Star Trek: Voyager's Robert Picardo, Blade II's Leonor Varela, and Jason London (Dracula II: Ascension, Dracula III: Legacy) under the direction of Todor Chapkanov, the man in the director's chair for such other Syfy originals as Copperhead, Ghost Town, and Thor: Hammer of the Gods.
    A Syfy Channel Original Movie: Monsterwolf

    By Michelle HassenstabThere is an out-of-the-ordinary horror movie called Monsterwolf. It was a movie that was on the Syfy Channel and is based on a Native American legend about a wolf-like creature that attacks and kills people who pollute Mother Earth. The story details some oil workers in Louisiana who dig up a Native American artifact. As they are trying to destroy it, they unlock the porthole that unleashes a wolf-like creature that attacks all them. Now, it is a fight between an oil Company's CEO and the town's people. Who will get the sacred land and who will kill the wolf-beast that is hunting them.

    I know that some people's taste in films are different. To me I thought this movie was good, but I like out-of-the-ordinary films and also I love films that are based on legends.

    A group of people who represent an oil company find new ground to drill for oil but then accidentally unleash a wolf-like creature. The creature wrecks havoc in the town and can only be stopped by the last surviving Native American.

    Monsterwolf was Great Fun!
    11 October 2010 | by filmblogger82

    I am an avid watcher of SyFy's original movies and always find myself laughing at the how poorly made the films are, so when I finished watching Monsterwolf on Saturday night, I have to admit that SyFy has stepped it up with this one! Sure, the CGI wolf was laughable at times, but overall the effects were pretty good, the cast was great, the script was fun, and some of the locations were beautiful. I hope to see more quality movies like this from SyFy as I was a little concerned about the future of the Saturday night premieres after some of the recent releases. The frustrating thing for me when I typically watch these movies is that it is pretty clear that they don't care if the movie looks good, don't care about the effects, don't care about the acting. It was nice to feel like SyFy actually cared about making a good movie! Haha.
    Comment:  I haven't seen Monsterwolf, nor do I plan to.

    Creators probably have done a "monster wolf" based on Native lore hundreds if not thousands of times in horror stories. If the monster is trying to protect the land rather than destroy everything, that may narrow it down to hundreds.

    I'm guessing the creators invented the so-called legend, so I can't be too impressed there. The Native character calls the creature something like "kachina weya," which sounds Hopi. I'm pretty sure the Hopi don't have legends about monster wolves in Louisiana.

    At least Native actor Steve Reevis played Chief Turner, presumably the "last surviving Native American." But the concept of one last Indian who hasn't vanished with the rest sounds problematical, to say the least.

    All in all, Monsterwolf looks like a standard horror B-movie.

    For more on Indians and the supernatural, see The Legend of Industrial Ghost-Wolf and The Great Escapist in Supernatural.

    Pac-Man meets pueblo

    Tradition meets cartoons

    By Kathaleen RobertsNatay’s stairsteps-meet-street-art approach fuses Mimbres abstraction and graffiti techniques, tablitas and Japanese anime. It’s a hybrid of traditional motifs infused with the vibrant colors and minimalist forms of cartoons and comic books. Think Pac-Man meets pueblo.

    His “Kiva Head” design combines an Angry Birds scowl with the traditional tablita headdress used in ceremonial dances.

    “It’s actually the symbol for clouds in pueblo culture,” Natay explained. “It’s also the steps of the kiva.”

    “You see so much Native American cartoon imagery that’s so stereotypical,” he continued. “I wanted to get away from that. I wanted to create cartoon characters.”
    Comment:  For more on Native pop art, see Veregge's Superhero Totems and Birch Bark and Skateboards in Mni Sota.

    Below:  "Ehren Kee Natay (Kewa Pueblo/Diné) poses with a T-shirt he designed for the upcoming Santa Fe Indian Market." (Jim Thompson/Journal)

    July 27, 2013

    Review of A Blackfeet Encounter

    I watched the documentary A Blackfeet Encounter a couple of years ago. It tells the story of this encounter:

    Jul 27, 1806: Meriwether Lewis shoots Blackfoot IndianAttempting to stop a band of young Blackfoot Indians from stealing his horses, Meriwether Lewis shoots an Indian in the stomach.

    The voyage of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to explore the West began in May 1804 when the two captains and 27 men headed up the Missouri River. They reached the Pacific Ocean the following year, and on March 23, 1806, began the return journey. After crossing the worst section of the Rocky Mountains, the expedition split up. Clark took most of the men and explored the Yellowstone River country to the south. Lewis, with nine men, headed west to the Great Falls of the Missouri River where he split the small party still further. Six men remained behind to make the portage around the Great Falls. Lewis took the remaining three and headed north to explore the Marias River country of present-day northwestern Montana.

    It was a risky, perhaps even irresponsible, decision. Lewis knew the Marias River country was the home of the Blackfoot Indians, one of the fiercest tribes of the Great Plains. Lewis hoped he could meet peacefully with the Blackfoot and encourage their cooperation with the United States. Yet, if they met a hostile Blackfoot band and a fight began, the four explorers would be badly outnumbered.

    On July 26, Lewis encountered a party of eight young Blackfoot braves. At first, the meeting went well, and the Indians seemed pleased with Lewis' gifts of a medal, flag, and handkerchief. Lulled into a false sense of security, Lewis invited the Indians to camp with them. In the early morning of this day in 1806, Lewis awoke to the shouts of one his men--the Indians were attempting to steal their rifles and horses.

    Lewis sped after two Indians who were running off with several of the horses, calling out for them to stop or he would shoot. One Indian, armed with an old British musket, turned toward Lewis. Apparently fearing that the Indian was about to shoot, Lewis fired first and hit him in the stomach. The Indians retreated, and the men quickly gathered their horses. Lewis then learned that one of his men had also fatally stabbed another of the Blackfoot.

    Fearing the survivors would soon return with reinforcements, Lewis and his men immediately broke camp. They rode south quickly and managed to escape any retribution from the Blackfoot. Lewis' diplomatic mission, however, had turned into a debacle. By killing at least one Indian, and probably two, Lewis had guaranteed that the already hostile Blackfoot would be unlikely to deal peacefully with Americans in the future.
    Background on the conflict

    Blackfeet IndiansFifty years before Lewis and Clark, the Blackfeet Indians had a reputation of being hospitable to Europeans, who occasionally even wintered with the tribe. By 1806, however, the world inhabited by the Blackfeet in present-day northern Montana had grown increasingly complex.

    The Blackfeet were regular commerce partners with Canadian-based British merchants, and in their frequent visits to trading posts, the Indians exchanged wolf and beaver pelts for guns, ammunition and alcohol. This relationship had lasted more than 20 years, and during that time, the Blackfeet–armed with guns–had been able to dominate their Nez Perce and Shoshone rivals.

    Eight Blackfeet warriors encountered Meriwether Lewis and a party of the Corps of Discovery in July 1806. After their initial fears of the armed strangers had subsided, the Indians decided to camp with the Americans. During this first day and night, Lewis explained the United States’ intent to bring about a comprehensive peace between all the Indian tribes of the west. He went on to add that the Shoshones and Nez Perces–mortal enemies of the Blackfeet–had already agreed to this peace, and would be receiving guns and supplies because of it.

    To the Blackfeet, American plans represented a direct threat. As far as the Indians were concerned, giving guns to their adversaries only could result in a weakening of Blackfeet power. That night, the Blackfeet attempted to steal the expedition’s guns. Their plans went awry, and in the chaos that ensued, Lewis and Reuben Field each killed a Blackfeet warrior. The incident marked the first act of bloodshed between the western Indians and representatives of the United States.

    The surviving Blackfeet returned to their tribe, and communicated what they had learned of America’s goals for the region. From that point forward, the Blackfeet regarded the Americans with hostility, and acted toward them similarly. Ironically, in the years that followed, Blackfeet war parties would be responsible for the deaths of three former members of the Corps of Discovery.

    Warriors or boys?

    A recent article spins the story a little differently:

    Untelling the Big Lie: The Murder of Two Blackfeet by Lewis & Clark PartyAccounts of what happened leading up to the shooting vary depending on who you ask, but the result was the same. When Captain Meriwether Lewis shot a Blackfoot Indian on July 27, 1806, and one of his group killed another, the Blackfeet didn’t trust whites anymore.

    In fact, the Blackfeet closed off their territory to whites for the next 80 years.

    “Lewis and Clark came from a culture based on war and encountered a very peaceful people,” tribal elder G.G. Kipp told the Blackfeet Community College Native American Scholars Program, according to a story that appeared in the Great Falls Tribune in 2003. “But they wrote the history books saying we were brutal and warlike so they could justify what they did to us.”

    Kipp is right, most accounts you find of the story of Lewis shooting a Blackfoot Indian paint Lewis & Clark as intrepid explorers and the Blackfoot as fierce and hostile. History.com even calls Lewis’s decision to explore Marias River country, the home of the Blackfoot Indians at the time, a “risky, perhaps even irresponsible decision.”

    Lewis and his party of three explorers encountered a group of eight young Blackfoot on July 26 and at first, the meeting went well. Lewis was hoping he could convince the Blackfoot to cooperate with the United States. Here is one place the accounts differ. Most places say the eight Blackfoot were “braves” or “warriors,” but Blackfeet oral histories say they were young boys from the Skunk Band.

    “They stayed with them and gambled with them,” he said. “There is a story of a race. In the morning, they went to part company and the Indians took what they had won.

    “That was it,” Kipp told the Great Falls Tribune. “That’s when they were killed.”
    Here's the source for Kipp's comments:

    "Blackfeet recollections differ from those recorded in Lewis' journal"

    My thoughts

    As I recall, the documentary portrays the Blackfeet as teenagers or young men. They were basically gallivanting about, as young men are wont to do.

    I don't recall mention of gambling or a race. I think the Indians merely wanted the guns. I don't know if they would've acted if Lewis hadn't talked about ending the Blackfeet's advantage by giving everyone guns.

    When the Indians fled, I believe one took a shot at Lewis that whizzed by his ear. Lewis fired back and killed him.

    Interesting to think what would've happened if the Indian had killed Lewis. Without Lewis's leadership, the expedition might've failed. If the expedition didn't report back, the US might've left the Indians alone for another decade or two. That might've given them enough time to build up their defenses to resist encroachment.

    Anyway, A Blackfeet Encounter does a fine job of recreating the incident and putting it in context. The documentary is split roughly into four parts: America's history leading up to Lewis and Clark, the expedition and the incident, the eventual defeat of the Indians, and the Blackfeet's survival as a modern-day people. You couldn't ask for more.

    You can watch the whole documentary here:

    A Blackfeet Encounter

    Comment:  For more on Lewis and Clark, see Manifest Destiny Comic Book and Jefferson's Indian Removal Policy.

    Canadian museum won't use "genocide"

    Human rights museum sparks debate over term ‘genocide’

    Aboriginal leaders seek ‘genocide’ designation for past injustices by Canadian governmentThe debate over whether or not the word “genocide” should be used to describe the federal government’s treatment of aboriginal people is heating up in Winnipeg.

    The yet-to-open Canadian Museum for Human Rights is embroiled in a controversy over how they will represent Canada’s past treatment of aboriginal people.

    Fred Kelly is a residential school survivor and is among a group of First Nations people who believe the residential school system and other similar atrocities should be referred to as genocide.

    “These [events] did happen, and the other five genocides that are recognized by Canada and the international community did happen, and the residential school history, the history of our people did happen--that’s a fact,” he said. “We can go on and on reciting the litany of atrocities that took place that constitute the categories of genocide.”

    Kelly survived the residential school system and nutritional experiments conducted on aboriginal people without their knowledge in the 1940s and 1950s in Canada.

    “That is genocide. That was an attempt at extermination based on hatred, based on racism, based on all of these negative factors that human beings exercise on other human beings,” said Kelly.

    But the Canadian Museum for Human Rights says it’s not in a position to determine what constitutes a genocide and it doesn’t plan to use the term to title the exhibit.

    “We are not a court. We are not an academic institution. We rely on those sources for information to inform our exhibits,” said Angela Cassie, a spokesperson for the museum.

    Cassie said the museum will use the word when they discuss the aboriginal community’s current fight to get recognition for the term.
    Dueling views

    New museum slammed for not using the term ‘genocide’ to describe aboriginal relations exhibit

    By Andy RadiaThe decision is not sitting well with academics and First Nation leaders who strongly feel that federal policies such as the residential school system and the forced relocation of thousands of aboriginals should be considered genocide.

    "It's a shame. I think the museum needs to be a leader, not a follower on this," University of Manitoba Proffesor Adam Muller, a genocide expert, told the Free Press.

    "You look at colonial activity in the Americas and it seems clear to me, at the end of the day, they were trying to destroy a group and way of life."

    Pam Palmater, a Mi'kmaq lawyer and Chair of the Centre for Indigenous Governance at Ryerson University, argues the credibility of the museum is at stake here.

    "I don’t think there is much point in having a “museum” if it is a political museum which only presents the censored pictures, displays, histories and terminology that is government approved. This is more like an international propaganda machine than a legitimate museum. Canada is supposed to be a “liberal democracy” not the dictatorship Prime Minister Harper has turned it into," she told Yahoo! Canada News in an email exchange.
    Versus:Ernie Crey, however, disagrees.

    The policy adviser for the Stó:lō Tribal Council doesn't dispute the many failed government policies of the past but suggests the term genocide isn't accurate because, for most people, it means the utter destruction of a people.

    "I am hard pressed to point to one such case [in Canada]. It would be far easier to point to genocidal policies towards Indians in the U.S., Central and South America," Crey told Yahoo! Canada News, adding that the term 'genocide' doesn't help First Nations move forward today.

    "In the Canadian context, one might more accurately speak of 'cultural genocide', as opposed to the annihilation of a people. But even here, we must be ever aware of the context in which government and church groups sought to transform traditional Aboriginal societies into something more closely resembling Euro-Canadian societies.

    "And many Aboriginal people overlook the fact that both church and government inoculated Aboriginal people against a host of communicable diseases like smallpox, measles and so forth. Hardly the actions of people intent on genocide."
    Comment:  The second article explains that genocide means more than "the utter destruction of a people," Mr. Crey. Maybe a truth-seeking museum should report what the word actually means, not what people think it means.

    For more on genocide denial, see Genocide Denial in Guatemala and Sand Creek Called "Collision of Cultures."

    Pope dons Pataxo headdress

    Pope delights crowds with his informality, message of reform

    By Janet Tappin CoelhoIn one of the most inclusive gestures of his visit here, Pope Francis donned a headdress offered to him from an indigenous South American Indian at a ceremony in the city's grand municipal theater.

    The gesture was greeted with shouts of surprise initially. Then the audience of Brazilian politicians and business people erupted into roars of approval and thunderous applause.

    It was a compelling moment. Moments earlier, the pope had spoken about the state's responsibility to respect and encourage "peaceful coexistence between different religions."

    "Between selfish indifference and violent protest there is always another possible option, and the key to developing a just and fair society as a leader is dialogue, dialogue, dialogue," he said.
    Pope dons Indian headdress after Brazil speechPope Francis has delighted a crowd in Rio de Janeiro by donning a colorful Indian headdress handed to him by a member of a Brazilian tribe.

    It came after the pontiff spoke Saturday at Rio's Municipal Theater to an audience mostly made up of Brazil's political, business and cultural elite.

    After the talk, he was greeted by well-wishers on stage, including a few Indians.

    A bare-chested man named Ubirai Matos from the Pataxo tribe met the pope while wearing a reed skirt, ornate red-bead necklace and large nose and ear piercings.

    Matos took off his feather headdress and handed it to the pontiff.

    Francis promptly placed it on his own head and flashed the crowd a smile.
    Pope speaks out on Amazon during Brazil trip

    By Bradley BrooksPope Francis took on the defense of the Amazon and the environment near the end of his weeklong trip to Brazil, as he donned a colorful Indian headdress Saturday and urged that the rainforest be treated as a garden.

    The pontiff met with a few thousand of Brazil's political, business and cultural elite in Rio de Janeiro's Municipal Theater, where he also shook hands with Indians who said they were from a tribe that has been battling ranchers and farmers trying to invade their land in northeastern Bahia state.

    In a separate speech to bishops, the pope called for "respect and protection of the entire creation which God has entrusted to man, not so that it be indiscriminately exploited but rather made into a garden."

    He also urged attention to a 2007 document by Latin American and Caribbean bishops that he was in charge of drafting, which underscored dangers facing the Amazon environment and the native people living there. The document also called for new evangelization efforts to halt a steep decline in Catholics leaving for other faiths or secularism.

    "The traditional communities have been practically excluded from decisions on the wealth of biodiversity and nature. Nature has been, and continues to be, assaulted," the document reads.

    Several of the indigenous people in the audience hailed from the Amazon and said they hoped the pope would help them protect land designated by the government as indigenous reserves but that farmers and ranchers illegally invade for timber and to graze cattle. In fact, grazing has been the top recent cause of deforestation in Brazil.
    Comment:  For more on Pope Francis, see Pope Meets Qom and Indians Ask Francis to Revoke Papal Bull.

    July 26, 2013

    Depp's other Native movies

    Johnny Depp previously starred as an Indian in his little-known indie film The Brave. If these old reviews are accurate, The Brave foreshadows Depp's unrealistic, fantasy portrayal of Tonto in The Lone Ranger.

    Review: “The Brave”

    By Godfrey CheshireDirecting, co-writing and starring in “The Brave,” a turgid and unbelievable neo-Western, Johnny Depp offers further proof that Hollywood stars who attempt to extend their range are apt to exceed it. In this case, the main fault lies with the writing. Lacking both a realistic grounding and compelling internal momentum, pic wastes its handsome mounting and capable cast on a plodding tale that eludes either psychological or allegorical sense. Overlong and unexciting, it will be a tough sell in all areas except epicenters of Depp devotion.

    That the story, scripted by Depp, his brother D.P. Depp and Paul McCudden from Gregory McDonald’s novel, supposedly takes place among Native Americans must be counted as pic’s first problem. There’s no specificity or authenticity to the characters; they’re simply generic modern Indians, which understandably could be taken as exploitative or insulting.

    In this regard, Depp simply combines age-old Hollywood bad faith toward native peoples with the worst tendencies of two of his obvious mentors, Jim Jarmusch and Emir Kusturica, who often mask cultural condescension with arty pretension.

    Similarly vague, tale’s setting is Morgantown, location unknown, a desert outpost perched on the edge of a huge garbage dump. With a wife and two kids, loser Raphael (Depp) is looking for a way out when a trip to town leads him to Larry (Marshall Bell), apparently a businessman. Promising work, Larry sends him to a mysterious figure named McCarthy (Marlon Brando), who meets Raphael in a dark warehouse and offers him a terrible bargain: $50,000 for his agreement to be murdered a week hence.
    He also starred in the Native-themed movie Dead Man, though he didn't play an Indian in it.

    Equal Status, Kemo Sabe

    Johnny Depp Revises Tonto in ‘The Lone Ranger’

    By Chris Wallace
    Based on the novel by Gregory McDonald, “The Brave” follows this wastrel-with-a-heart-of-gold (played by Mr. Depp with a David Foster Wallace bandanna) in the last week of his life as he makes peace with his family and spends the $50,000 he has accepted to be tortured and murdered by a spiritual sadist (Marlon Brando). Though it had its premiere at Cannes and, as is typical there, received both a standing ovation and abysmal reviews, the film was never released Stateside. (I bought a Korean import on eBay for about $4.)

    The movie isn’t terrible, exactly—it’s not good—but it does raise the question: Why? Why spend the celebrity capital (not to mention the financial kind) he had so carefully, if eccentrically, amassed to make it? To get anything done in Hollywood, even if you are Johnny Depp, takes years of often heartbreaking obsession, not to mention millions of dollars. So for him to step behind the camera to make “The Brave,” bringing a historically underrepresented perspective to the screen, suggests he thought it was worth the trouble.
    And:So too, apparently, was Jim Jarmusch’s quiet little black-and-white western “Dead Man,” for which Mr. Depp reportedly turned down the lead roles in “Speed,” “Legends of the Fall” and “Interview With the Vampire.” After suffering an ultimately fatal gunshot wound, his character, an accountant from Cleveland named William Blake, is led through a spiritual wilderness and Mr. Jarmusch’s elegant allegory by an Indian named Nobody (Gary Farmer). Much of the poetry and tender comedy in “Dead Man” comes from Mr. Farmer’s post-Tonto Nobody, winking all the while at cinema’s “savage” past portrayals of American Indians.

    Beneath the howling Neil Young score and the deadpan comedy, “Dead Man,” is, like “The Brave,” inflected with deep sensitivity to, if not reverence for, native American (and Native American) culture. But, unlike “The Brave,” “Dead Man” is a great film—possibly both Mr. Depp’s and Mr. Jarmusch’s best—the most significant entry in Depp’s catalog of Native Americanalia until “The Lone Ranger” rides into theaters on Wednesday.
    Comment:  Depp didn't write, direct, or play an Indian in Dead Man but did in The Brave. Dead Man is considered great while The Brave is considered awful. I wonder why.

    With his superficial and generic understanding of Indians, it seems Depp isn't qualified to make movies about them. Not if he has creative control, anyway. The Lone Ranger proves the point.

    For more on Johnny Depp and Tonto, see Skyhawk: Depp Dishonored Indians and Shawnee Professor Justifies Tonto's Stereotypes.

    Wes Studi arrested for DWI

    Wes Studi charged with aggravated DWISanta Fe police confirm that Studi was arrested at 1 a.m. off of Old Pecos Trail and East San Mateo Road. The car he was found in was at a stop sign, and the two front tires were blown out.

    Police said he refused a breath test, and was booked into Santa Fe County jail on a charge of aggravated DWI.
    The details missing from the initial reports:

    Native actor Wes Studi staggering drunk, spewing hate at police officer (Video)

    By Roscoe PondNative American actor Wes Studi who starred in films such as “Avatar,” “Geronimo” & “Dances with Wolves” was arrested Friday morning on July 26, 2013 at 1 a.m. He was charged with aggravated DWI by Santa Fe police after Wes refused to take a field sobriety, breath alcohol & blood tests. He wanted a lawyer present while screaming derogatory words at the arresting officer. Wes was brought to jail & held with no cash bond at 4 a.m. He later pleaded not guilty when arraigned in court on Friday at 1:30 p.m. His bond was set at $3,000. The camera on the Santa Fe police vehicle shows Wes as staggering & drunk. He slurred his speech & admitted to driving. Then seconds later denied that he drove a car. At certain moments on camera the police officer had to keep Wes from falling over.

    The black Volvo car did not belong to Wes Studi. It had a Missouri state license plate that was owned by a not-yet named 51 year old female. She told police officers that Wes was indeed drinking before he got behind the wheel to drive. She claims that her car hit something in the road that blew out two tires on the left side. They ended up on the Old Pecos Trail near East San Mateo street.

    A driver in a security truck saw Wes trying to fix one of the flat tires. Wes had asked for a ride, but then fell over onto the ground. He & his lady friend had come from a performance at the Santa Fe plaza last Thursday night at approximately 8:46 p.m. The plaza has a summer music series each year & Wes joined the R&B group, “Jay Boy Adams and Zenobia” to sing a song. The couple later proceeded to the Palace Restaurant & Saloon.

    News of Wes Studi's arrest brought all three local Albuquerque news teams to investigate. They are KOB 4 (NBC), KOAT 7 (ABC) & KRQE 13 (CBS). It also was covered by both the Albuquerque Journal & the Santa Fe New Mexican newspapers. The Santa Fe police camera of the arrest then was released to the public. It is 43 minutes long & shows Wes Studi as incoherently drunk who screams at the police officers with foul language.

    On camera Wes is seen mumbling to himself in the back of the police vehicle. He was handcuffed with his hands behind his back. At one point he decided to get free by struggling with the seat belt. As the unknown female got in the front seat to be questioned by the police. Wes began screaming foul language at her too.

    The arresting officer finally opened the back door to inform Wes he was being arrested. Wes did not understand why. The officer told him clearly again that he was being arrested for being under the influence of liquor or drugs. Wes then continued to scream foul interracial hatred toward the officer, “All your women would so much rather be with one of us. All your F****** women. All your F****** women. You stupid F****** white men.” (The police officer is a white male).
    Comment:  DWI = driving while intoxicated.

    So Studi was found with a "lady friend" who wasn't his wife? And when collared, he screamed, "All your women would so much rather be with one of us"? Hmm, sounds suspicious.

    For more on Wes Studi, see Wes Studi Supports Gay Marriage and Studi Named "Great Western Performer."

    July 25, 2013

    Latino comic books with Native roots

    Latino Comic Book Artists Explore Roots, Culture

    By Monica CampbellGrowing up in Los Angeles, Javier Hernandez worshiped superheroes like any other kid. But he went a bit further.

    “When I was a kid my brother gave me his collection of comics, and I started just drawing,” he says. “And then at one point, after college, I go you know I’ve got to make my own comic. You know, I want to see stuff that maybe you don’t see a lot.”

    Like characters called Weapon Tex-Mex, El Muerto or Sonámbulo, a Mexican wrestler turned private eye. One of Hernandez’s latest comics teams up a young Aztec boy and a dinosaur.

    “It’s basically about a boy who during the Spanish conquest of Mexico realizes there’s a Tyrannosaurus Rex embedded in a block of amber in a cave,” Hernandez says. So, the T-Rex gets released and the boy rides him to battle the conquistadors.
    And:[S]ome artists here go beyond superheroes. Illustrator and writer Liz Mayorga, 31, drew as a kid growing up in Los Angeles and then saw art as a way to connect to her Mexican roots. One of her newest stories is called “A Caxcan Guerrilla Takes Over the Awkward Girl.”

    “Caxcan is a tribe of indigenous people that were in my mom and dad’s hometown of El Teúl, Zacatecas,” Mayorga says. “I always asked my parents about our indigenous background and they could never give me any answers. And it made me really angry to know that my parents had no concept of that.”

    One of her favorite cartoonists, Mario Hernandez, is also here and he stops by Mayorga’s table. Hernandez and his brothers pioneered the comic “Love and Rockets.” The cult favorite broke ground in the early 80s with its smart Latino characters, steeped in California’s punk rock scene.

    “The stories would just tell stories about everyday people who happened to be gay, or happened to be Hispanic or they happened black,” says Hernandez. “At the time there was no other Hispanic names that were putting out original things like that.”
    Comment:  For more on Native-themed comic books, see Superheroes in Native American Encyclopedia and Manifest Destiny Comic Book.

    Below:  "A print titled Preying Aztec Mantis by cartoonist and illustrator José Cabrera, who grew up in a Dominican family in New York City." (Courtesy of José Cabrera)

    End experiments, honor apology

    For Canada and First Nations, it’s time to end the experiments

    By Shawn AtleoRecent reports about the Canadian government’s experiments on hungry, impoverished First Nations children in residential schools have sent a shock wave through the country.

    My reaction was deeply personal. My father attended one of the schools where these experiments took place. My family and countless others were treated like lab rats, some even being deprived of necessary nutrition and health care so researchers could establish a “baseline” to measure the effects of food and diet.

    First Nations, while condemning the government’s callous disregard for the welfare of children, were perhaps the only ones not completely surprised. The experiments are part of a long, sad pattern of federal policy that stretches through residential schools, forced relocations and the ultimate social experiment, the Indian Act, which overnight tried to displace ways of life that had been in place for generations. All of these experiments are abject failures.

    It’s time to end the experiments. Canada must start working with us to honour the promises our ancestors made in treaties and other agreements, to give life to our rights as recognized by Canadian courts and relinquish the chokehold of colonial control over our communities.
    Honour the Apology: Fasting for My Father, a Residential School Survivor

    By Wab KinewThis may sound funny, but history is not confined to the past. Just over a week ago I was at my childhood home on the reserve when I heard the news that my father and uncles Fred, Tootoons and John were likely part of one of these "nutritional experiments" you have probably read about, and one with clearly adverse side-effects at that. I felt as though a little piece of history reached out and punched me in the gut.

    I struggle to understand what my uncle Fred Kelly must feel like. He is the surviving member of that group of brothers who were at St. Mary's Residential School. As he told an online audience on Monday night "to regurgitate the stories is to relive the horrors, the traumas and the indignities of Residential Schools."

    Yet I know the hurt from these recent revelations is not limited to the Indigenous community. I know many Canadians from other walks of life who have been upset by the news and are contemplating what it says about this country's history. For me, the more important question is "what will our response say about what Canada is today?"

    Some friends and I have put out a call to Canadians to shed some of this negativity by uniting across cultural and religious lines. We are calling our gatherings (to be held today at noon) "Honour The Apology," in reference to Prime Minister Harper's 2008 apology to Residential School survivors. The idea is that we can each honour the apology on an individual level by commemorating or praying for the survivors.
    Comment:  For more on boarding schools, see Native American Boarding School Project and Canadian Natives Denounce Kevin Annett.

    July 24, 2013

    George Zimmerman is Native?!

    A commenter on Zimmerman Acquitted of Trayvon's Murder claims George Zimmerman is Native. Wow, really? Let's take a look:And Anon, it turns out that GZ is Native American and Black as well.

    The racist narrative of the Left on this issue keeps running aground on the rocks of facts like this.

    The left, including the writers here, are bashing Zimmerman because he is white. Never mind that they are incorrect, they are still racist for doing so.
    The article I posted explains how a person can be white and Hispanic. Read the key points again:The truth is, Zimmerman is both: white and Hispanic, one a racial category and the other a marker of ethnicity. ... Both are social constructions, but the former relies on skin color and ostensibly biological features, while the latter is a designation based on country of origin.This is consistent with the US Census and most polls, in which "of Hispanic descent" is an additional choice besides "white" or "black," not an alternative to them.

    Your ignorance of this common classification scheme, despite the explanation in front of your face, is your problem, not mine. And obviously you can't address it with anything other than your opinion or you'd have done so already.

    "Peruvian" = Native?!

    So what if Zimmerman has a Peruvian mother and an "Afro-Peruvian" grandfather? Peruvians come in all races just like Americans. The grandfather could've been pure white on his Peruvian side. Unless you can identify a tribe or tribes Zimmerman is descended from, your speculation that he's "Native" is worthless.

    And what if this Afro-Peruvian grandfather were half black and half Native? That would make Zimmerman 1/8 Native at most. And that's what you're calling Native?!

    I'm doubly surprised that you'd think I'd think a white man with a small amount of black or Native blood is anything but white. If you've foolishly forgotten all my postings on Johnny Depp, Taylor Lautner, et al., read 'em again. A person whose DNA is mostly white is white.

    The main exception is when an Indian tribe chooses to enroll people who are mostly white by DNA. Was Zimmerman's great-grandparent, grandfather, or mother an acknowledged member of a Peruvian tribe? If not, you're wasting our time.And Rob, in all fairness, I can find some similarity in your inconsistent arguments. You have erroneously characterized the US legally fighting back against a major terrorist kingpin in Iraq as "killing brown people". Here, you call George Zimmerman white.There's no inconsistency here, just your ignorance of what constitutes race and ethnicity. Hispanics with mostly Native heritage are brown. Hispanics with mostly European heritage are white.

    Conservatives ignore dead Iraqis

    As for Iraq, don't be a dumbass. Saddam Hussein didn't attack the United States and we invaded under false pretenses--to find the nonexistent weapons of mass destruction. More to the point, we killed hundreds of thousands of "brown people" while killing a "major terrorist kingpin." My characterization on that point is accurate and well-documented.Rob personally makes the error on Zimmerman: "Conservatives are predictably glad that a white man got away with killing a black boy"Your lack of concern for the innocent Muslims we've killed is sickening--but typical for conservatives who don't care about dead brown people. Ann Coulter was the first to say "Hallelujah" over Zimmerman's getting away with murder. You can read more about your racist conservative friends here:

    Tea Parties Use Verdict to Further Attack Trayvon, Reproduce RacismDespite the fact that Trayvon Martin was guilty only of “walking while black,” some Tea Party leaders had already convicted 17 year-old well before the trial, rather than George Zimmerman who shot him.Joe Scarborough: Sean Hannity Using Trayvon Martin's Death 'To Gin Up His Ratings' (VIDEO)"Whatever excuse there is to say this young black man had it coming to him, that is the defense because there is no defense for shooting down a young black man in a middle class neighborhood with Skittles."Conservatives deny America's racismAnd he makes other errors too: I have talked to many conservatives about this, and not one of them cared about the race of those involved.Nope, that's your error too. Specifically, your ignorance of the concept of white privilege. White privilege lets you ignore the race in cases like this, or pretend to ignore it.

    But the racism embedded in many Americans is extremely well-documented. And I've documented it many times in this blog. Yet apparently you're too dumb and white to understand what you're reading. Or too conservative and anti-science to understand how research works.And Rob, in all fairness, I can find some similarity in your inconsistent arguments. You have erroneously characterized the US legally fighting back against a major terrorist kingpin in Iraq as "killing brown people". Here, you call George Zimmerman white.

    Compare the picture you chose for this post, here, of Zimmerman, to any typical picture of Saddam Hussein.

    Zimmerman looks less "white" than Saddam Hussein. Yet you call him white, and call the terrorist brown.
    Okay, I'll take that challenge:

    Zimmerman looks less "white"?! Check your eyes, buddy. As with every other point here, you lose on that point too.

    "Brown" defined for dummies

    Besides, brown is a label for a whole group of people. It refers to an average person in the group, not an outlier. In other words, an exception doesn't disprove the rule.

    Try comparing the people I call brown to the people I call white in general and you'll see I'm right. I.e., you'll see you're stupid for wasting my time with this trivial point.

    Here's a related news flash for you: Blacks have skin colors ranging from dark gray to light tan. They aren't literally black. Duhhh.And it seems odd that Zimmerman is whitewashed to the point that his 1/4 Native ancestry is whitewashed to the point that isn't mentioned on your blog about Native issues.The only odd thing here is your ignorance of my years of blogging on what makes someone an Indian. Again, it's not a small fraction of Native blood.

    Meanwhile, we're still waiting for a shred of evidence about your claim. "Afro-Peruvian" could be 50% black, 50% white, and 0% Native by blood. Claiming that "Afro-Peruvian" means "1/4 Native ancestry" is an excellent example of the wishful thinking you mentioned. It deserves the scorn I've given it.

    In short, better luck next time, friend. Try using facts rather than unsubstantiated opinions and speculation. Then I won't have to kick your conservative butt all over the map again.

    For more on Trayvon Martin, see Racist Responses to Zimmerman Verdict and America's Dual Justice System.

    Blackhawks fans defend stereotypical logo

    Some anonymous commenters took me to task for my Alternate Logo for Blackhawks posting in 2010. It was about this proposed mascot revamp for the Chicago Blackhawks hockey team:

    Here's why I was right and they were wrong:Change the Blackhawk logo? Go ahead and try, you whiny little bitches. At your own peril, of course.It was merely a suggestion, dumbass. And you and your fellow fans are the only whiny babies here. I can still hear you crying over you mascot.Get your references correct. The Chicago Blackhawks are named after Chief Black Hawk of the Sauk tribe of Northern Illinois. He is the only individual in USA history to have a war named after him. The Chicago franchise of the NHL used his name (modified to one word) as a point of honor towards Black Hawk, and to all of the indigenous peoples of North America. So, remember the Blackhawks are not birds, but rather proud braves.Thanks for the info, Anonymous #3. Now tell me something I don't know. In fact, tell me something I didn't know before you were born, unless I miss my guess.

    Wow...the stupidity of people who think mascot foes don't know every detail about the mascot they're criticizing. Breathtaking.

    Here's a clue, bright boy: The team not only converted Black Hawk's name to one word, it pluralized it. There are no Indian "braves" or other Native groups named "Blackhawks." So your claim that the actual name refers to "proud braves" is false.

    The plural "Blackhawks" is about as close to the singular Chief Black Hawk as a black bird would be. And Chief Black Hawk was named for--wait for it--a black hawk. Therefore, a black hawk is equally appropriate as the team's self-image.

    Heck, it's more appropriate, since the orange-skinned cartoon logo looks nothing like Chief Black Hawk. The black hawk looks like the chief's namesake, while the cartoon logo looks like a circus clown. It's more of an insult than an honor to the real person.

    If you want to honor the Sauk Indians, rename the team the Sauks. Or the Black Sauks, if you want to be clever. Again, the "Blackhawks" name honors the Sauk the same way a "Crazy Horses" name would honor the Lakota. Which is to say, not at all.

    The ignorant "honor" claimOne thing no one seems to thing about, is a logo/mascot is a thing of pride. Native Americans should be as honored by the Blackhawks as those of Nordic decent are of the Vikings, or the Irish are of Notre Dame. No one names their team after something they hate, dispise, or intend to mock. The logo was chosen to represent the fierce will and determination shown by this country's proud indigenous people. To say its offensive to Native Americans is offensive to common sense.Actually, I've thought about and disputed that claim hundreds of times. You evidently haven't thought of or even read the responses to that tired, trite claim.

    Here's one of many such responses:

    Smashing People: The "Honor" of Being an Athlete

    One obvious rejoinder is: Who are you to tell Indians they should feel honored? The fact that you're imposing your feelings on them because you consider yourselves superior is part of the problem. You "honor" Indians by telling them to shut up...charming.

    More to the point, Natives are challenging the clownish logo more than the name. Get it? The logo, not the name, is offensive because it stereotypes Indians as primitive people of the past.

    In fact, none of you have addressed this point: how Bozo the Blackhawk doesn't represent the Sauk chief or his people, much less today's Sauk Indians. Now that you chickens have ducked the issue, try addressing it. If you're not wetting your pants at the thought of the butt-kicking you'll get, that is.

    For more on the Blackhawks, see Blackhawks Mascot in The Dilemma and "Authentic" Chiefs from "Blackhawks" Tribe.

    July 23, 2013

    Racist responses to Zimmerman verdict

    Top 20 hypocritical statements about the George Zimmerman trial

    By Charles Badger1. Let’s start with the obvious one: if you think Zimmerman had a right to self-defense or to “stand his ground,” but Trayvon did not, then you might be a hypocrite.

    4. If you think it’s racist to “inject” race into this and we should just be “colorblind,” yet you:

    a) support “stop and frisk” (NOT-colorblind)

    b) support “show me your papers” (NOT-colorblind); and,

    c) support profiling Arab males at airports (NOT-colorblind, either)

    …then what you really want is colorblind rules when it’s to the disadvantage of people of color but colorful policies when it’s to the benefit of white people…ergo: you might be a hypocrite.

    7. If you understand (correctly) that Elizabeth Warren’s claim to Native American status in Massachusetts was laughable, yet don’t see that Zimmerman having a Latina mother doesn’t make his claim to being “Hispanic” any less laughable–because your race isn’t your family tree, it’s the treatment you’re accorded by others–then you might be a hypocrite.

    8. Moreover, if you think Zimmerman being Hispanic is at all relevant to determining whether he racially profiled Trayvon Martin–as if, somehow being Hispanic means you can’t be racist–yet you believe black people are more racist than white people (a recent Rasmussen poll shows 22-percent of Americans think this) and you believe affirmative action is “reverse racism” by white people against white people, then you might be a very amusing hypocrite.

    (Moreover, if you think Zimmerman “having black friends” and black relatives means he can’t be racist, you should acquaint yourself with the names Strom Thurmond and Thomas Jefferson.)

    19. If you say, but “what about the 90%+ of black men killed by other black men?,” after all, shouldn’t black people be more concerned about “black-on-black crime?”; without realizing that says nothing about race and violence since 86% of white people are killed by another white person—because crime, is in significant part, a function of proximity and opportunity.
    How to Completely Miss the Point in a Conversation About Racism

    By Kyle “Guante” Tran MyhreAfter a week of comments and conversations, I wanted to address the recurring points that some white people have brought up in the wake of the Zimmerman verdict. Because it’s not just about Trayvon Martin; every time there’s a national conversation about race and racism, white people (yes, I’m generalizing; no, I’m not sorry) tend to have the same kinds of reactions.

    Getting wildly, irrationally defensive even though it’s not about you:
    My column from last week basically just says “if you’re white and upset about the verdict, here are some things you can do to confront racism in your own life.” That’s it.

    But then come the comments: “It’s racist to say that white people are racist!” “Why do we have to make such a big deal out of this?” “I’m white and I paid to go to college so there’s no such thing as white privilege!” “Why do we have to be singled out?“ The people talking about racism are the real racists!” “We’re not all like that!” “I’m so offended!”

    White people: “talking about racism” does not equal “attacking you personally.” We desperately need to stop being so insecure every time anyone brings up anything remotely related to race and racism. You don’t have to agree, but to immediately jump into “eyes-closed-and-screaming” mode speaks volumes about you and the kind of world in which you’d prefer to live.

    Refusing to acknowledge the role that race plays in our lives:
    “It wasn’t about race.” That was the most consistent theme in the responses. Time and time again, when there is a racial incident in this country, people of color point to the giant racist elephant rampaging through the room and white people say “oh that’s probably just the wind.”

    Is it possible that Zimmerman would have approached a white kid the same way he approached Trayvon Martin? Sure… it’s possible. But the lived experience of millions upon millions of people says that it’s also extremely naïve to believe that.

    When people of color talk about racism, they’re not just making things up. There’s no Black Santa who delivers big bags of money to anyone who claims to have been discriminated against. Racial profiling, harassment and discrimination are daily realities for millions of people. To just dismiss that as “whining” or “playing the race card” is unbelievably arrogant.

    “Refusing to talk about racism” doesn’t end racism. “Ending racism” ends racism. If your house is on fire, you don’t just ignore the flames away. Maybe a better metaphor is if your neighbors’ house is on fire, you don’t tell them to “stop making such a big deal out of it.” You don’t look the other direction and say “but are you sure it’s on fire?” You help, or you get out of the way.

    Focusing on the details and ignoring the big picture:
    “Zimmerman was half-Peruvian!” “911 dispatchers don’t have the authority to give orders!” “Trayvon was big and really strong and got in trouble at school!” “Zimmerman had an African-American girlfriend once!” “Since Travyon was right-handed, and standing at x angle, and the moon was at y point in the sky, there’s no way he could have…”


    I think the biggest misconception about the outrage around the Zimmerman trial is that people are mad about the verdict. To be fair, many are. But many more are mad because Travyon Martin happens every day in this country. It may not always end with a dramatic gun death, but young black and brown men are demonized, profiled, harassed, imprisoned and killed every day for being young black and brown men (and women too, let’s be honest).

    The marches and rallies that have been happening recently aren’t just about Trayvon Martin. They’re about the culture that demonizes black and brown youth, assuming that they’re dangerous, threatening, and up-to-no-good. They’re about the lack of accountability and consequences in police brutality cases. They’re about disproportionate minority confinement. They’re about the selective application of the “Stand Your Ground” law. They’re about the gross over-representation of people of color in the criminal justice system. They’re about who is given the benefit of the doubt and who isn’t, time and time again. They’re about the continued de-valuing of black and brown life in this country.

    Argue about the specific details of this specific case all you want, but nothing in the above paragraph is up for debate. That’s the big picture that we—especially those of us who identify as white—have to see, if we ever hope to transition from “having a conversation about racism” to “doing something about racism.”
    Comment:  For more on Trayvon Martin, see America's Dual Justice System and American "Justice" Protects White People.