September 28, 2015

Review of Time Spike

Time Spike (The Ring of Fire)Captain Andrew Blacklock was overseeing the change of shifts at the state of Illinois’ maximum-security prison when the world outside was suddenly ripped. They thought it was an earthquake until they found that the Mississippi river had disappeared, along with all signs of civilization. Then the sun came up—in the wrong direction. And a dinosaur came by and scratched its hide against the wall of the prison . . .

Something had thrown the prison back in time millions of years. And they were not alone. Other humans from periods centuries, even millennia apart had also been dropped into the same time. Including a band of murderous conquistadores. But the prison had its own large population of murderers. They couldn’t be turned loose, but what else could be done with them? Death walked outside the walls, human savagery was planning to break loose inside, and Blacklock and the other men and women of the prison’s staff were trapped in the middle.
Native aspects

The "time spike" phenomenon sends people from every era of southern Illinois back through time. They include:

  • "Primitive" Indians from the prehistoric Mound Builders
  • The entire city now known as Cahokia
  • Hernando de Soto and his band of conquistadors
  • Cherokee refugees on the Trail of Tears and the US soldiers escorting them

  • Only a few of the Cherokee refugees get any significant time. They're reasonably well-fleshed out. Everyone else is one-dimensional, alas. The "primitive" Indians are scared and overwhelmed by the more modern people. The Cahokia residents (mentioned, not shown) are religious fanatics. The conquistadors are psychopathic butchers. And the Cherokee refugees include an incredibly stealthy tracker and an incredibly sensitive healer.

    In short, everyone except a few exceptions is a type. The modern-day characters are almost all three-dimensional, while the characters from the past aren't.

    There's also a Cherokee inmate who was wrongly convicted. He's mostly three-dimensional too, but he's especially crafty and good at surviving. I don't know if this is a subtle nod to his Native ancestry or not, but it's a shame there are no average Indians. They're all way above or below average.

    As for the rest of the book, Time Spike is good overall. It deals realistically with the problems of being sent back in time with only the supplies and skill-sets on hand and 2,000 prisoners behind bars. Only toward the end does it let down a little. Most of the conflicts get settled with guns and violence, not with the intelligence and foresight seen earlier.

    Rob's rating: 8.0 of 10.

    September 26, 2015

    Mike's Tribe in My Wife and Kids

    I recently watched this old episode of a TV show:

    My Wife and Kids: Season 3, Episode 14
    Michael's Tribe (18 Dec. 2002)Michael (aka: Chief Bald Eagle) is recruited to camp out with Kady and her friends and teach them Native American lore. Meanwhile, Clare and "the new Tony" plan to stay out all night themselves: they're plotting to sneak out to a "rave."The Brady Braves blog ripped this episode apart:

    My Wife and Kids "Michael's Tribe," Part IWhen he hears that his daughter’s “Indian” Princesses group will be camping at the house of a family he does not know, Michael demands that the camping be at his house. As he tells his wife Jay/Janet (portrayed by Tisha Campbell), “I’ll be the chief. I’ll watch the game and then I’ll go out there and play ‘Indian.’”And:As the rest of the episode unfolds, he shows that he is clueless about as well as racist towards Indigenous Peoples. The only clue he has is being well-versed in Hollywood “Injun” stereotypes, which suffices for the sitcom’s “Indian.”A typical example of the episode's racism:

    "Michael's Tribe," Part IIMichael tells the Princesses of Claire’s plan and asks them to help make sure Claire stays “here in the village” (i.e., at home). Next, the Princesses prepare for what Bald Eagle labels as “war” while dancing senselessly and chanting “hi-ya uh-ya-ha hi-ya uh-ya-ha” with their chief. Chief Bald Eagle also leads the Princesses in a rendition of “the sacred song of our Indian People.” In unison, they sing “three little, two little, one little Indian” from the well-known Septimus Winner nineteenth-century minstrel song (and later nursery rhyme) “Ten Little Indians.”Comment:  I agree with these analyses. The episode actually was worse than the "Brady Braves" comments indicated.

    Recall that this aired in 2002, or 12 years after Dances with Wolves in 1990. It's significantly worse than Running Zack in Saved by the Bell, which also aired in 1990. There's no excuse for this level of stereotyping appearing so recently.

    Damon Wayans has a history of making racist and sexist comments. He was the executive producer of the show and co-wrote Mike's Tribe. There's no getting around it: Wayans is responsible for the episode's racism.

    September 24, 2015

    Cherokee actor in solar commercial

    Here's a commercial starring Cherokee actor Rob Vestal. It's the first time I can remember a commercial featuring a modern Native actor in a role that isn't specifically Native.

    “Just the Facts” Solar Water HeatingSoCalGas can help you convert your residential or commercial property to a solar water heating system so you can save energy, save on your monthly bill and take advantage of special rebates and tax incentives. You could qualify for rebates from $4,366 (homeowners) up to $800,000 (for businesses). Visit for details.

    Comment:  Natives have appeared in commercials going back to the battles over Proposition 5 and 1A in California almost 20 years ago. Since then, they've occasionally touted their casinos or their history and culture--usually to build support for their casinos. But this ad has nothing to do with anything Native, which makes it rare if not unique.

    For more on Rob Vestal, see Off the Rails at Native Voices and Review of Teaching Disco.

    September 22, 2015

    Hortas in Starfleet

    A continuation of the discussion begun in Thirteen Worlds in Starfleet?

    "We'd love to have a Horta crew member, but they're rather unfriendly and ugly, don't you think? Besides, they don't have the necessary 'tools' to serve in Starfleet. They're better off in support positions behind the scenes."In the novels there was a Horta on Kirk's ship. Didn't need to beam down, he just entered atmo like a meteor.I don't think I've read that ST:TOS novel or novels. And I've read a good chunk of them. But there was a Horta crew member in DC's ST comic book, so I understand.

    Nevertheless, the idea of a Horta crew member didn't reach Capt. Picard. Or the writers of his ST:TNG adventures.Picard is a skinhead, you know. :)I guess so!

    Ah. The Horta character Naraht appeared in both the comics and Diane Duane's novels. I've read several of her novels, including The Romulan Way, so I've read about Naraht. I just didn't remember him from the books.

    Another novel has an entire starship of Hortas. Which makes more sense than trying to mingle air- and rock-based crew members.

    Funny how novelists think of such sci-fi ideas routinely but TV writers almost never do.

    For more on Star Trek, see Is Captain Kirk a Conservative? and Miramanee in Star Trek Continues.

    September 21, 2015

    Thirteen worlds in Starfleet?

    This image led to a Facebook discussion about the Federation's diversity or lack thereof:

    Only 13? Doesn't the Federation have hundreds of worlds?Unfortunately, Picard did not believe in integration.

    They do, but the Enterprise only has representatives from 13 of them.
    "We are proud to include crew members from the light-skinned humanoid planets. As for the Andorians, the Tellarites, and the Orions--not to mention all the non-humanoid species--alas. Through no fault of their own, they don't quite have the 'right stuff.'

    "But fear not. Some of them have their own ships in Starfleet II, aka Starfleet Jr. Others are free to hitch rides via Starfleet Uber. We make sure all species and races have equal access to the stars."A lot of those people explore space on their own (like the Vulcans) so they don't "need" to be in Starfleet to explore space. Starfleet is an organization any member of the Federation can join, but they certainly do not have to join. Enterprise was an Earth vessel that Starfleet used to explore space, but in Picard's day it was used for diplomatic missions often and had many people on board who were not crew members. It had around 1000 people on board at any given time, but only about 2/3 were crew. So 13 worlds were represented in 750 people. That's pretty good! Go on any cruise today, and you probably wouldn't have that many nationalities at once on the same ship. Also, it was a TV show. lol :-)Every Starfleet vessel ever shown was an Earth vessel.Probably because Starfleet was on Earth. It does play a big part in who decides to join Starfleet, I'm sure. ;-)Which is why Picard said, "We are proud to include crew members from our light-skinned humanoid planets."

    You're explaining the reasons for my initial comment, which I already knew. But you're not giving us any reason why a fictional universe should be so Anglo-American.Oh, well that's easy! The show was shot in Hollywood, and it was just easier to make them look that way to save on the budget. ;-)

    TOS made a point of including people from all different nationalities in it, but they got a little lazy when casting TNG.
    It would've been easy to find 10 Asian or African actors in Hollywood and make an Earth-based starship primarily nonwhite. So the real reason here is racism. Which is my point.That's a sad point, as Star Trek was one of the most progressive shows of its day.It's sad but true, alas. And 20-30 years later, when producers could've and should've known better, Starfleet was still predominantly white.

    However, bigots like Kim Davis aren't welcome in Starfleet, so that's good.

    13 whole worlds!

    I just think it's funny that Picard would use 13 as the measure of Starfleet's diversity. Like, "The US military has members from 13 (thirteen) countries. The other 183 countries aren't represented, but you can't have everything."The U.S. military only has members from one country (the U.S.). lolIt has naturalized citizens from other countries.Yes, but they have to become U.S. citizens to serve, so they still represent the U.S.

    This does raise an interesting point though! Worf was raised on Earth by human parents, and still considered himself Klingon, but I wonder if there are aliens that live on Earth and consider themselves Terrans (people from Earth)? They could have had people like that on the Enterprise too.

    Point is that "members from other countries" doesn't mean "citizens of other countries." "From" mean they or their ancestors originally came from elsewhere. Obviously.

    For more on Star Trek, see Is Captain Kirk a Conservative? and Miramanee in Star Trek Continues.

    September 20, 2015

    Indian wannabes = sports mascots

    A Facebook discussion of Indian wannabe-ism that applies to Susan Taffe Reed, Andrea Smith, and Rachel Dolezal:

    I don't understand this huge need to be Indian. Why can't people say they're multiracial? As in, "I'm A, B, C, D, E, F, and Delaware." Not Delaware, period.

    In my case, it would be English, Irish, Welsh, German, and other European groups. It wouldn't occur to me to pick one--say, Irish--and make that my identity. Much less tell other Irish people they need to accept me as one of them. I think Native Mascotry needs some serious study. It's like a mental illness.It's related to mascotry, I'd say. The same issues keep coming up--with Dolezal, Smith, and now Reed as well as generations of previous wannabes.

    Namely, that people don't want to be white because white folks did nasty, icky things. Much better to be an oppressed but still noble minority like black or Native.

    Now I'm on the good side, they can tell themselves, not the bad side. I'm like a virtuous Plains chief or the equivalent sports mascot. People don't fear and hate me, they love me!

    Same thing goes on with the Germans and other Europeans who act as Indian "hobbyists." They don't want to be a modern Indian fighting to protect a sacred site or prevent suicide. They want to be a noble Plains Indian on horseback by a tipi. I.e., a living mascot.

    Another clue is that no one ever claims to be descended from a Cherokee slave or scullery maid or fumble-fingered warrior. It's almost always "royalty" such as a princess.

    Why? Because it's about exalting yourself, not connecting to the culture. If you were seeking a genuine connection, you wouldn't care about the status of your alleged ancestor. A peasant or a slave would be as good as a chief.

    Wannabes = losers?

    Another commenter had similar thoughts:Ok, let's be honest--it's not just that people don't want to be White because White people did bad things--they're trying to justify why they're not benefitting from the White privilege they're supposed to have. They know full well that if they're White, good things are supposed to happen to them--so why are they poor? Why are they sick? Why can't they get ahead? And they justification a number of these people get is that they must be part something else. they're certainly not going to say they're part black, because that removes them from the White privilege sphere altogether--but Indian, now that's close enough to White, but because Indians have gotten so screwed, it explains why they're being screwed. It saves them from confronting the system that's more than happy enough keeping a foot on their neck, and comforts them at the same time, believing themselves to be just part of a long line of oppressed Noble Savages.For more on Indian wannabes, see Native Scholars Demand Academic Integrity and Wannabes Obscure Real Indians.

    September 19, 2015

    The Dartmouth Dolezal?

    Native Americans Blast Dartmouth for New Hire

    The new director of Dartmouth’s Native American Program is causing controversy over her confusing—and possibly inaccurate—background.

    By Samantha Allen
    A week ago, Dartmouth announced that ethnomusicologist Susan Taffe Reed is the new director of the college’s Native American Program, boasting that she is “the president of the Eastern Delaware Nations.”

    But the Eastern Delaware Nations (EDN) is not a federally recognized Native American tribe, it’s a 501(c)(3) that also allows “members [who] are not of Native American descent, but [who] join as social members.” And, after a searing blog post unearthed alleged death certificates of Taffe’s ancestors that show her family coming to the U.S. from Ireland after the Indian Removal Act, Native American alumni of the college are protesting the hire on their Facebook page. Native American media is also scrutinizing Dartmouth’s decision to hire someone for a student affairs position who seems less than forthcoming about her own heritage.

    The issue, they say, is not necessarily the EDN’s lack of federal recognition but a refusal of transparency on Taffe Reed’s part that recalls recent cases like disgraced former NAACP chapter president Rachel Dolezal and UC Riverside professor Andrea Smith, who continues to claim Cherokee identity despite backlash from Cherokee scholars and leaders.
    And:Dr. Nicky Kay Michael, a Native American historian and member of the federally recognized Delaware Tribal Council told The Daily Beast that she is very skeptical of Taffe Reed’s claim to be from the Turtle Clan if she is unwilling to openly discuss her heritage.

    “When you say those things, that’s a red flag,” Michael said. “If you are Delaware, you’re going to have to say who your family is. It’s not just a case of federal recognition; we want to know who you are. What family do you come from?”

    As Michael notes, the Delaware tribes in the United States that currently have federal recognition originally lived near the Delaware River but relocated west under pressure from the government beginning in the mid-eighteenth century. The Pennsylvania-based Eastern Delaware Nations group from which Taffe Reed hails claims on its website that most of its members are “descendants of Native Americans who lived in the Endless Mountains Region of Northeastern Pennsylvania and resisted being removed” but many in official Delaware tribes, Michael included, dispute the notion that a substantial number of Native Americans stayed behind in the Northeast.

    “They don’t ask our permission to use our name and then they appropriate our culture,” Michael said of the EDN. “What [Taffe Reed] did is she basically used this 501(c)(3) as a forum and then she wrote articles claiming to be Delaware.” Michael does not speak for the Delaware Tribe but she says that an official statement is forthcoming.
    The head of a Native studies program doesn't have to be Native herself. But people are questioning whether she fibbed about being Native, which is an ethics issue regardless of her ancestry.

    They're also concerned about conflating a nonprofit organization--one with non-Natives as members--with an unrecognized tribe. An unrecognized tribe has people living together with a shared culture and a documented history. A nonprofit like the Eastern Delaware Nations (EDN) Inc. generally doesn't.

    For more on the subject, see "White" = Ordinary and Bland and Andrea Smith the White Savior.

    September 18, 2015

    Review of Rocky Road to Romance

    The Rocky Road to RomanceThe author of so many spectacularly successful mystery novels featuring the inimitable Stephanie Plum, #1 New York Times bestselling author Janet Evanovich displays a more playfully romantic side with The Rocky Road to Romance. Evanovich delights with a classic, pre-Plum contemporary romance novel that’s sure to please—a lighthearted tale of three-way love affair involving a radio “dog lady”-turned-traffic reporter, her handsome program director, and a huge couch potato canine named Bob.

    From the Back Cover

    Her tall, dark, and deliciously dangerous boss . . .

    When the delightful, daffy Dog Lady of station WZZZ offered to take on the temporary job of traffic reporter, Steve Crow tried to think of reasons to turn Daisy Adams down. Perhaps he knew that sharing the close quarters of a car with her for hours would give the handsome program director no room to resist her quirky charms. He'd always favored low-slung sportscars and high-heeled women, but that was before he fell for a free spirit who caught crooks by accident, loved old people and pets, and had just too many jobs!

    Loving Daisy turned Steve's life upside down, especially once he adopted Bob, a huge dog masquerading as a couch potato. But was Daisy finally ready to play for keeps?
    The Rocky Road to Romance (Elsie Hawkins #4)Bark's Book Nonsense rated it 3 of 5 stars

    I picked this oldie out of the bag of audios rattling around in my hatch because I wanted something fluff filled for my latest car read and that’s exactly what I got. If you’ve read any of her romances you’ll know what I mean. They’re fun while you’re listening but pretty forgettable once finished.

    sarafem rated it 3 of 5 stars

    As with most romance novels, I found it a little condescending and obnoxious that things moved so quickly and yet so perfectly. Suspension of belief is one thing, overdoing a fairy tale that makes me uncomfortable in the first place is a whole other.

    Carrie rated it 4 of 5 stars

    The story contains many romance cliches which are stripped down to the bare essentials. None of the characters, including the dog, and few of the situations are believable, but they're fun. Several of these early works have a hero that falls in love instantly and decides he's going to marry the heroine.
    Native aspects

    Steve Crow is an Indian--a full-blooded one, I think. He's described as a classic bad boy with brooding good looks.

    He and his family are oil tycoons, which suggests they're Osage Indians. Judging by how Crow buys a house and an SUV for cash, they're multimillionaires. Which makes his job as a radio station manager, worrying about traffic reports, a little unbelievable.

    Crow never says or does anything "Native." Daisy meets his parents, but they're no different from other rich people. The most we learn about Crow's Native background is when he talks about visiting his grandfather. Grandfather lived in a trailer on the reservation, for some reason, and imparted words of wisdom to young Crow.

    Anyway, Evanovich's portrayal of Crow isn't bad. As you'd expect of a handsome young rich man, he's cocky and spoiled--used to getting his way. His main attraction to Daisy seems to be lust, not love. All this is a refreshing change from the usual stoic veteran/warrior/tortured soul.

    As for the rest of the book, Steve and Daisy both seem a little shallow, so perhaps they deserve each other. Steve's macho protectiveness, which he can afford only because he's rich, gets annoying. But parts of the book are, as they say, a hoot. Rob's rating: 7.5 of 10.

    September 17, 2015

    What if Britain had won?

    Here's a subject historians and sci-fi authors have written about:

    What if Britain had won the Revolutionary War?

    By James Giago DaviesFor the first half of the 19th Century Britain was a brutal power, but by the start of the 20th Century, slavery had been outlawed, the monarchy lost actual power to Parliament, and became just a figurehead, and social reform resulted in better education, better working conditions, for the White population in Britain.

    Likely these reforms would have taken place in America.
    The outcome for Indians:The big question becomes, by the 1870’s, would the British Army have treated the Lakota better than the U.S. Army did?

    Given how they were acting in South Africa and India at the time, the answer is probably no. The reserve system in Canada gives a fair indication of how reserves would have been set up in British controlled America. It’s not a great improvement.
    The present-day situation:There would be a much more robust infrastructure, and modernized electrical grid, better public transportation, high speed rail crisscrossing the nation, making for far less dependence on fossil fuels. Health care would be free. Education would be free.

    Money would not dominate politics to the degree it does now, corrupting Congress, subverting democracy. The Lakota would have received fair restitution for the Black Hills, and the badly implemented BIA programs, would run much more efficiently because many of these programs would be a right of every citizen.
    Comment:  For more on alternate histories, see Reivew of Aquila in the New World and Native Stereotypes in Life of Brian.

    September 16, 2015

    Trump promises white male rule

    Here's why Donald Trump is leading among the predominately white, male voters of the Republican Party:

    Donald Trump & white America’s anxiety: The political throes of a forgotten country

    Liberals, don't kid yourselves: "The Donald" is not just a media creation. He's a tribune of our past—and future

    By Elias Isquith
    He’s a demagogic ethno-nationalist of the kind that’s succeeded before in American history, especially during times of great upheaval and dislocation. Think of him as our Huey Long, our George Wallace.

    Besides a genius for self-promotion, what Trump has in common with those two men is this: He appeals to a large swathe of Americans who have not only lived through massive social disruption—the Great Depression and the Civil Rights Movement, respectfully—but who have had their fundamental assumptions about Americanness, and therefore themselves, challenged in the process. When his fans speak of “taking” their country back, they are not being tongue-in-cheek. They are deathly serious.

    Although their complaints are often unsympathetic and their solutions are frequently barbarous, they are not exactly wrong. Republicans are, on the whole, older and whiter than Democrats. They’re also more religious, more discriminatory in their sexual mores (or at least their professed ones) and more likely to live in rural areas. For the vast majority of their lives, the American mainstream has been white, Christian and at least suburban, if not rural.

    But it’s been 50 years since President Johnson liberalized U.S. immigration law, and the younger generations (Millennials and Generation X, especially) are different. They’re less white, less religious and less rural. They’re more supportive of big government in the economy and small government in the bedroom, too. The country that Trump’s supporters grew up in really is evaporating. And they’re coming to find that many of their basic assumptions of what it means to be a “real American” are no longer allowed.

    Like Long and Wallace before him, what Trump offers these people is not only a return to a glorious past, but also a reassurance. Specifically, Trump’s vision of a nation purged of immigrants—both documented and otherwise—and cleansed of “political correctness” suggests to these voters that America-as-they-knew-it is not historically contingent. And that the transformation of the country was not an inevitability. He promises them, in effect, that they will not be so easily swept aside.
    How the GOP primary became a race to channel America’s racist id

    Donald Trump inaugurated a disturbing new era in politics, wherein dogwhistles have given way to overt racism

    By Eesha Pandi
    Donald Trump’s success isn’t all that mysterious and it isn’t particularly new. He’s trafficking in the fear of a shifting American demographic. The story here is not necessarily the racist and anti-immigrant message anchoring Trump’s ideology. Instead, it’s the fact that so much of the Republican electorate is with him, and that other members of the GOP are unable to challenge his message for fear of losing that base.

    More than half of Trump’s stump speech is a finely tuned anti-immigrant screed about the importance of building a wall, and getting criminals out of the country. He picked a fight with Jorge Ramos, beloved reporter for Univision and American citizen, at a national press conference last week. After that exchange, one of Trump’s supporters threateningly told Ramos to “get out of my country.”

    Under “Positions” on Trump’s campaign website, there is only one issue listed: immigration reform. He is the anti-immigration candidate, and he’s winning his party’s primary.

    The rhetoric of the Trump campaign is bombastic. He touts how tough he’ll be on China, how his business success inoculates him from needing to trade favors with lobbyists, how he’ll be humane as he deports 11 million undocumented immigrants, their families and their children. He reminded us, at the press conference in which he ejected Jorge Ramos, that “Hispanics love me!” All the while, he promises “make America great again.”

    This begs the question: To which golden age of American greatness is Trump harkening? The answer of course is, it doesn’t matter. Trump’s message isn’t actually about the past, it’s about the future of this country: Who will live here, and how? Who will have power, and how? Will the fact that white people will be minority in America change the power structures within our social, cultural, political and legal institutions? These are the questions that Donald Trump is aiming to answer, and these are the fears he is so effectively stoking.
    Trumpism Is All About Racism, Xenophobia and Coded White Privilege

    By Mark KarlinOkay, Donald Trump is a brash, brazen, bumptious, sexist billionaire who appeals to a bilious, bigoted segment of the US population. Some argue his followers love Trumpism because Trump himself blares out loud the thoughts rattling inside their own heads. Trump, according to this theory, allows the haters who might ordinarily feel inhibited about expressing their intolerance to blatantly bask in feelings of white superiority.

    This is coded into Trump's now-iconic campaign slogan that simply says: "Make America Great Again." What a loaded four words those are. Ever since Obama's election, this expression--or variations of it--have been the rallying cry for making America "white again." After all, many Republicans still don't believe Obama was born in the United States. (The "birther" movement was essentially about denying a Black man residence in the White House.) This is the context in which Trumpism and the "Make America Great [White] Again" appeal has spread like wildfire among whites who feel that the United States should be a nation of white governance and privilege.
    And:Trump is engaging in the most base and sordid form of racist appeal--and it is working to attract and energize bigoted whites, closeted or otherwise. There's a reason David Duke called Trump "the best of the lot."

    The "Make America Great Again" slogan makes people like Sarah Palin, who admires Trump, feel right at home. That is because the return to a mythical era of US "greatness" is really a coded desire for the nostalgic image of a majority-white, white-dominated, white-ruled society. It is a thinly veiled statement that roundly rejects a robust democracy that embraces diversity. It is an appeal to make the US resemble the so-called "founding fathers": in general, white, male, propertied and wealthy.

    Donald Trump’s white male fantasy: You’re one lucky break away from being me

    Trump isn't selling a policy agenda. He's selling the idea of power and status and those who feel it slipping

    By David Rosen
    The available polling suggests Trump’s strongest supporters are predominately white Republican men, middle-aged or older, with low educational attainment and either working class or lower middle class backgrounds. Some polls have suggested they are less religious than the typical Republican voter, somewhat more likely to live in the Northeast or the Midwest and may be Tea Party supporters or sympathizers. Despite what we don’t know, we do know that they are attracted to Trump because of his willingness to speak his mind and his sharply anti-immigrant views.

    There are two particularly interesting things about this slice of America. The first is that if you ignore their contemporary party preferences and turn back the clock about 60 years, this is the same demographic segment that was at the heart of the New Deal coalition. By the 1980s, voters who fit this profile came to be called the “Reagan Democrats” as they fled the Democratic Party. By the late 1990s, many of them were voting straight ticket Republican. Political strategists and pundits have given them a number of colorful monikers–from “hard working white people” to “NASCAR dads”–and have made a fetish out of winning their votes, even in elections when they probably weren’t up for grabs. The truth is that these voters, especially the ones living in rural and ex-urban areas, have been a key constituency in the Republican Party’s base at least since President George W. Bush took office.

    Most of these voters are old enough to remember a time when white working men–and their organized proxies in Washington–sat at the pinnacle of American life. Many of them still long for that long-gone age when being a white man meant you were on top of the world. And while these voters are nowhere near the bottom of America’s contemporary social hierarchy, they don’t see it that way. The entire trajectory of their lives has been the experience of relative decline in power, wealth and social status in relation to other groups–as women, people of color, gays and lesbians and other groups have won greater social acceptance and rights to which they were entitled but previously denied. At the same time, a similar shift has been underway on the global stage, as nations around the world–from China to Japan to Mexico–have become our competitors in the global economy. Add to that several decades of wage stagnation, exploding inequality and the disappearance of good paying jobs, and it’s clear that the white working class has experienced the past half-century as a steady and uninterrupted loss. It’s easy to see why they feel like losers.

    So when Trump says, “We don’t win anymore,” as he did twice during the first GOP presidential debate, he’s complaining that white men no longer call all the shots. He’s playing to the racist, misogynist and xenophobic resentments harbored by these downscale voters. His confrontational, shameless, never-back-down posturing is more than just a quality these voters want in a leader–it’s a live demonstration of what it’s like to live in a world where you never have to apologize for anything, no matter how much it hurts or offends other people and other groups. Trump is what it looks like to win.
    The polls confirm what pundits are saying:

    Nationwide Poll: Majority of Republicans Have Nakedly Racist Worldview—Trump Has Found the Way to Unleash It

    GOPers are living in a dangerous right-wing fantasyland—and are just fine with that.

    By Steven Rosenfeld
    Not only did PPP find that a majority of Republicans believe the birther lie—that Obama was not actually born in Hawaii—but 51 percent of all Republicans polled want to amend the Constitution to eliminate birthright citizenship, which is granted to any person born on U.S. soil. Of Trump’s supporters, 63 percent want to eliminate that right, and a majority said undocumented children should be deported.

    “I’m not terribly surprised by the birther numbers or the numbers about Obama’s religion,” said Tom Jensen, PPP director. He said the numbers are consistent with what he’s seen in GOP polls in recent years, and matched another new poll from Iowa where about 35 percent of the state’s GOP electorate are "birthers."

    But what is surprising to Jensen is how Trump’s candidacy has made Republicans more willing to publicly admit their xenophobic or racist positions.

    “Trump has sent a message that it’s okay to be racist,” he said. “So maybe some racist attitudes you previously held, or were not allowed to say in public, now one of the leading presidential candidates is saying them and not apologizing at all.”
    Comment:  For more on Donald Trump, see Trump Lovers = White Supremacists and Trump Lovers Champion "White Power."

    September 15, 2015

    Acadian singer's stereotypical music video

    Natasha St-Pier faces backlash over First Nation-themed music video

    Some say Acadian singer's music video is rife with stereotypes depicting First Nations peopleNew Brunswick entertainer Natasha St-Pier has brought attention to her Acadian roots with her new music video, Tous Les Acadiens, but the attention hasn't been positive.

    The video, which includes 34-year-old St-Pier sporting a full headdress, dream catchers and the singer paddling a birch canoe, has been criticized by René Cormier, president of the Société nationale de l'Acadie (SNA).

    "Despite all the efforts we do, we continue to convey these kind of clichés," Cormier told Radio-Canada on Monday.

    Rife with stereotypes depicting aboriginal culture in Canada, the video also includes children in paper headdresses dancing around a teepee.
    Comment:  For more on the subject, see and Rod Stewart's Daughter in a Headdress.

    September 14, 2015

    Red (Wolf) flags

    A Twitter exchange on Marvel's new Red Wolf:

    Lita Nadebah Beck ‏@LitaBeck Sep 8
    Re: Marvel's #RedWolf, I think it's worth pointing out that character from made-up tribe is no win for diversity #RepresentationMatters

    BlueCornComics ‏@bluecorncomics Sep 10
    @LitaBeck I question the Veregge cover too. Looks like a stylized version of new costume with painted mask, bear paws on half-naked savage.

    Lita Nadebah Beck ‏@LitaBeck Sep 10
    @bluecorncomics Have you seen the alternate cover? This book is like stereotype Mad Libs: Red Wolf Can Keep His Shirt On

    No, I hadn't seen it, I responded. Not much of a costume, but it's the kind of clothing Indians such as Geronimo wore in 1872. A Facebook commenter added some thoughts:The issues with Red Wolf so far: 1) Northwest artist advising on a character Marvel has strongly stated in press releases is ingrained in the Southwest (this is not a insult against Jeff Veregge because he's a great artist, its just he hasn't shown qualifications for the type of story Marvel has been advertising). 2) "Does he wear warpaint to bed?!?!" --Lee Francis, meaning the design is a little cliché and not updated very well (see Equinox from Justice League Unlimited for a good portrayal of a Native superhero costume). 3) Marvel's new "diversity" hires seem gimmicky so far and there is apprehension they will not stick to the promise of a more diverse future. 4) So far the character and story are just boring and not very exciting. Maybe when his own title comes out in Dec it will be better, but for now it's just "eh."It's good that Native artist Veregge is involved. But he's doing covers more than anything else, so I wonder how much input he'll have. If any.

    Since they seem to be playing Red Wolf as a generic Indian, I wouldn't rule out Veregge's offering useful ideas. I also wouldn't rule out their ignoring him unless he makes his points forcefully. Backed by a willingness to go public or even quit if they do something worse than "wearing facepaint to bed."

    Violent vigilante?

    Then there's the issue of the writer. As I tweeted:

    .@LitaBeck Another Red (Wolf) flag: writer Edmondson is allegedly a right-winger who's anti-gay and harasses women. On Nathan Edmondson, Marvel, and the Cycle of Harassment (Updated)

    I continued my commentary on Facebook:

    Now it would surprise me even less if Red Wolf is a ruthless vigilante a la the Punisher while other Indians are downtrodden, faceless, or invisible.

    This led to a discussion with comics critic Greg Burgas:I read about this a few days ago, and the key, as always, is allegedly. Being conservative isn't a crime, nor is disparaging anyone verbally. What's frustrating about this is not that Edmondson is a scumbag (I'm sure he is), but that the people accusing him of being a scumbag are saying, "Trust us, we're right!" But why should we? Is this a whisper campaign just because you don't like the guy or his politics? Why will absolutely no one go on the record? I know the reasoning for that--that companies will blacklist those who speak up--but that's problematic, because then we're just supposed to trust the word of people whose ulterior motive we don't know. This is very frustrating, and I hate thinking it's a smear campaign, but every article I've read about it offers absolutely no evidence except, "This is what we've heard but we can't verify."Being conservative isn't a crime, but a conservative is a poor choice to write the most mainstream comic book about an Indian since Scalped. Especially since the violent vigilante tone they're hinting at is similar to the approach we saw in Scalped.

    That's my main concern here. Harassing women is serious but, as you say, there's no hard evidence. And it'll have less effect on the Red Wolf comics than a general right-wing philosophy.Oh, I agree. I haven't read a lot of Edmondson's work, but he seems like a poor choice for something like this, unless he's simply going to write him as a "ruthless vigilante," as you point out. He seems to write middle-of-the-road action stuff, with a pro-military bent, which makes him a good writer for 1980s action movies but perhaps not the guy you want writing this.And regardless of Edmondson's alleged right-wing philosophy, what are his qualifications for writing about Indians? His claim that Red Wolf is from another dimension and doesn't need a historical background?

    That should be an immediate disqualifier, not a clever qualifier. Yet Edmondson will get to define Indians in mainstream comics for the next decade the way Jason Aaron did for the last decade.

    If Marvel wants to experiment with a Native comic book, how about experimenting with a Native writer too? I could suggest dozens of Native writers who would bring a fresh approach to the comic a la Ms. Marvel.

    Or perhaps Marvel is thinking, "We'll experiment with a Native comic book, but only with an established writer who'll give us an established take. Sort of a Clint Eastwood/Jason Bourne/Punisher thing that has nothing to do with real Indians but is sure to be popular."

    In that case, we should be slamming Marvel as much as applauding it for its weak and ambivalent choices. Which is what I'm doing here. ;-)

    For more on Red Wolf, see Marvel to Relaunch Red Wolf and Same-Old, Same-Old Red Wolf.

    September 13, 2015

    Company Says Indian Mascots Are Reason They Can Sell Headdresses

    By Sheena Louise RoetmanNovum Crafts, according to its website, is a group of indigenous artists from Bali who make and sell “authentic looking replicas” of Native American headdresses, or war bonnets, which sell from $69 to $139.

    There a couple pages on the website that address cultural appropriation and the meaning of a headdress. The example of the Seminole Tribe of Florida's co-signing of the Florida State Seminole mascot, as well as Saginaw Chippewa's now-revoked permission for Central Michigan University to use Native mascots, are specifically cited in these explanations.

    The Kansas City Chiefs, Atlanta Braves, Chicago Blackhawks and the Washington NFL team are all also specifically identified and used as justification for appropriation.

    The site explains that the teams that use this imagery are simply “implying: ‘We will win! We are the braves, we are chiefs, we will fight until you are defeated.’ How is it offensive to attribute such desirable characteristics of bravery, valor, honor and courage to known objects or symbols from the Native Americans?”
    Comment:  This company is mildly interesting for a few reasons:

  • They own I never thought about who might own the URL, if anyone.

  • They give a long, specious rationale for misappropriating and selling headdresses. They know they're violating Native beliefs but do it anyway.

  • They claim to be a collective of indigenous (Balinese) artists. But there are hints that the models, the photographer(s), and perhaps the owners are located in the US. If Asian workers are involved, they may be hired hands.

  • For more on the subject, see Los Angeles Magazine's "Going Native" and Hockey Ad Features Stereotypical "Indians."

    September 12, 2015

    "White" = ordinary and bland

    You may have heard of this controversy. A white poet gave himself a Chinese name to get his poem published. It entered the Native consciousness because Sherman Alexie was the editor who selected the poem.

    You can Google the controversy, but here's an interesting take on why so many white people wanna be something or someone else.

    White guys’ yellowface envy: Underneath bizarre acts of racial subterfuge lurks a twisted desire to stand out

    Michael Derrick Hudson believed he had a better shot at literary stardom as "Yi-Fen Chou"—and he's not alone

    By Arthur Chu
    Tom MacMaster’s viral hoax, interestingly, started with random posts arguing with strangers on the Internet and the skeleton of a novel–just innocently experimenting with trying on an identity more exciting than “boring white dude” and increasingly becoming addicted to it. His outing led to the outing of “Paula Brooks,” the lesbian founder of the Lez Get Real blog that hosted Arraf’s writings, as married straight man Bill Graber. Graber’s justification for his deception was similar to MacMaster’s–he was passionate on LGBT issues but felt his own stance as a sympathetic straight ally wasn’t interesting enough to hold people’s attention. He needed to fabricate a version of himself, a younger gay woman, who had life experience, who had credibility, who was less ordinary than him.

    Look at the discussed-to-death case of Rachel Dolezal–keeping in mind that whatever reasons she gives for identifying as “transracial” today, she sued Howard University in 2001 because she thought her artwork was overlooked because she was white. Look at William Ellsworth Robinson, a.k.a. Chung Ling Soo, a stage magician so hungry for success that he ripped off not just the act and the shtick but the entire identity of rival Chinese magician Chung Ling Foo. Look at the stunt Kent Johnson pulled on the poetry world in the 1990s as “Araki Yasusada,” giving his poems the added historical weight of supposedly coming from the recovered notebook of a Hiroshima survivor. Take the mysterious, reclusive woman playwright who writes about women characters, Jane Martin, widely suspected to be well-known director Jon Jory using a pseudonym.

    It’s an identifiable pattern. A white man in the arts trying to be someone other than a white man in the arts. A creative person, an artist, who wants their art to mean something because of their unique life experience–growing up in war-torn Syria, being taught magic by Chinese mystics, fleeing the aftermath of the Hiroshima bombing–rather than being the result of the boring, workaday process of making shit up.

    “Whiteness,” after all, in our racial system simply means ordinariness, unmarkedness, blankness. Same with maleness–being a guy means getting to be the default, being just a “writer” rather than a “female writer,” being just “in tech” rather than a “woman in tech”.

    Ordinariness has tons of advantages. Being seen as ordinary means you don’t get stopped for shoplifting, it means you don’t get detained or shot or left to die in prison nearly as often. People don’t think twice before reading your résumé or renting your AirBNB. It’s much easier for you to wear what you want and buy what you want and live how you want without getting shit for it.

    But ordinariness that’s maintained by constantly comparing yourself to other people who are not ordinary can be stifling. “Whiteness” can mean, in people’s minds, that you’re basic–that you’re a sheltered, boring person, that your point of view is the same as the default point of view everyone else has already heard, that you’ve got nothing interesting to say compared to what an exciting exotic foreigner might say. It’s a powerful force, the force that drives this thing we call “cultural appropriation,” this thing that makes people insist their little “affirmative action” scheme is what’s getting them published, this thing that makes other people concoct elaborate hoaxes almost guaranteed to blow up in their faces.
    Comment:  See also Ward Churchill, Elizabeth Warren, Andrea Smith, and every other wannabe who (usually) claims to be Cherokee.

    For more on Indian wannabes, see Manson = West Virginia Sioux? and Andrea Smith the White Savior.

    September 11, 2015

    More September 11ths coming?

    The Day White Innocence Died: An Indigenous Take on #September11

    By Gyasi RossIt was undoubtedly a tragedy. But September 11th wasn’t a surprise, at least not for Native people and many people of color. No, Native people were already well aware of how destructive and evil people could be. How did we know? AMERICA TAUGHT US THAT; really, September 11th was only a surprise for white people and for those who didn’t realize that America had already perpetrated many September 11ths of its own. Native people knew that. We knew that America had a whole bunch of blood on its hands and that there was always a harvest season, always a reckoning. Sir Isaac Newton gave that harvest a name in his Third Law of Motion, that every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

    Oh yeah, that means that there will be more September 11ths as well—it’s inevitable unless America works to acknowledge and reconcile with its many victims of domestic terrorism against its own people. We see that energy right now—the current distrust of the federal government, the distrust of law enforcement and peoples’ movements of all colors that don’t believe in the legitimacy of the “powers that be,” like Idle No More, the Occupy Movement, Black Lives Matter and the Tea Party. Obviously the viewpoints of those various movements are vastly different, but the energy is largely the same.

    “We don’t believe you. This Nation is build upon raw power and deceit and not freedom, equality or opportunity.”

    There will be more September 11ths unless we change, folks. God forbid, but unless we do something it will happen. There will be rectification for the Marias Massacre, for the Sand Creek Massacre, for Wounded Knee, for North Tulsa/Black Wall Street, the Mankato mass hanging, the Red Summer of 1919, Joe Coe, Emmett Till, internment camps of Japanese, Chinese Exclusion Act, slavery, Jim Crow, genocide, forced tubal ligation of Native women, Tuskegee experiments, etc., etc., etc.

    For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. In the words of Ron Burgundy, “It’s science.” So, how do we stop this horrible cycle? Acknowledgment. Conversation. Painful conversation. Hell, restitution, reparations. Not punitive—just what the US owes. To wit, honor treaties with Native people and recognize aboriginal title, whether that be via monetary compensation (a disgusting compromise for many Native people, yet one that acknowledges practical realities) or specific performance. Monetary compensation for black folks for 40 acres and a mule—what is that in today’s dollars?

    Formally apologize. Acknowledge. Treat us as human beings—the inhumane way that many white folks on this continent treated people of color for 400 years still influences the way they perceive us today, hence the incredibly disproportionate amount of deaths for Native and Black people at the hands of law enforcement.

    Not civil rights—human rights—treat us like human beings.

    Otherwise there will be more September 11ths. It’s physics. Natural law. We’re stuck with each other—none of us are going anyplace. But acknowledgment, reconciliation and restitution of America’s past crimes will move help us move to a new age, where we can get past these historical demons and actually start living in the 21st Century.

    God bless the families of all who were harmed by September 11th. God also bless the families devastated by all instances of terrorism, including those perpetrated by the United States.
    Comment:  For more on terrorism, see America the Biggest Loser and Natives React to Charleston Shootings.

    Conservative Christians want American sharia

    Kim Davis is the new face of the religious right: Angry, marginalized and increasingly desperate

    As their numbers dwindle and their cultural influence wanes, Evangelicals are seizing power any way they can

    By Amanda Marcotte
    What Davis is asking for is not an accommodation at all, but for the right to declare, by fiat, that Rowan County, Kentucky, is a mini-theocracy not beholden to the laws of the land, but by the whims of Kim Davis. Her legal team wants you to see her as a sweet but faithful woman, but in fact she’s trying to pull a coup here, claiming that “God’s authority”—read Kim Davis’s authority—trumps our entire democratic system.

    It’s not just her, either. Rena Lindevaldsen, who works for the Liberty Counsel, which is handling Davis’s case, has taken to boldly arguing that Christians have the right to overthrow the democratically elected government and simply impose their will by fiat. “Whether it’s zoning or taxes or marriage or abortion, in those issues, government doesn’t have authority to say that these things are appropriate because they’re contrary to Scripture,” Lindevaldsen recently argued in front of Liberty University. Which is to say that even though the government has declared abortion legal, if you decide you don’t want your neighbors getting abortions, you should be able to declare yourself a God-appointed authority and simply shut it down. If you don’t want to pay taxes, declare yourself a “sovereign citizen.”

    Mike Huckabee has been at the frontlines of pushing the claim that Christian conservatives simply have the right to ignore or overturn democracy to impose their will, and not just because he’s been running around Kentucky, trying to get himself on camera as much as possible in support of Davis’s attempt to ban gay marriage by fiat. He’s also been using the campaign trail to argue that the president should be able to simply end rule of law and start ruling like a dictator.

    He doesn’t just the word dictator, of course, but make no mistake, Huckabee has repeatedly and shamelessly promised that if he is elected president, he will start declaring his beliefs to be the law of the land without the cooperation of Congress. In a Google hangout, he laid out the scheme: Declare as president that there are “constitutional rights of the unborn” and simply ban abortion by fiat. He claimed a similar authority during the Republican debate, a moment that got startlingly little play even though it was literally a candidate for president arguing that he would make himself a dictator.
    Comment:  For more on the subject, see What the Crusades Controversy Is About and Teabaggers Seek White Christian Rule.

    September 10, 2015

    Stereotypical Reading Horizons textbooks

    Publisher Of Children’s Books Blasted Over Texts Filled With Racial Stereotypes

    By Andrew BradfordParents and members of the educational system in Minneapolis, Minnesota, are extremely upset by some books which were recently delivered to the school system from publisher Reading Horizons.

    The books in question, which are intended for children, feature characters such as Lazy Lucy, an African girl, and Nieko the Hunting Girl, who is Native American and lives in a cave. The books also refer to Christopher Columbus’ “discovery” of America, which is historically inaccurate.

    And as if that isn’t bad enough, in a book entitled Kenya, the residents of the African nation are said to be:

    “Able to run very fast.”

    Negative or positive stereotypes

    A page from the Kenya book showed it was all about running. This led to a brief discussion on the nature of stereotypes:Kenya's runners are a negative stereotype?

    What Makes Kenya's Marathon Runners The World's Best?
    If it's a whole book about Kenyans and their centuries of history and culture, including a page about their running, great. If it's only about their running and nothing else, not so great.

    Not for a grade-school primer, anyway. If you're writing an in-depth book on Kenyan runners, that would be another matter.

    A stereotype doesn't have to be "negative" to be a problem, you know.

    P.S. If I were a publisher, I'd avoid making the lazy character black or Latino. The smart character Asian. The violent character Native. And so forth.

    September 09, 2015

    Marvel to relaunch Red Wolf

    Red Wolf, Marvel's first Native American hero, is getting his own comic book

    By Josh DickeyMarvel's first and primary Native American character is getting his own book starting in December, Mashable can exclusively reveal. Native Americans have a long history in the comic books, but Red Wolf—who's returned to the fray this year in its current alt-universe Western-themed "1872" run—hasn't had his own series since 1976.The details:The creative team includes writer Nathan Edmondson and artist Jeffrey Veregge, a member of the Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe based out of Kingston, Washington, who's also of Suquamish and Duwamish decent. Veregge is doing covers, design and consulting; the artist on the book is Dalibor Talajić

    "There's not a character like Red Wolf out there right now," Veregge told Mashable. "As a native, I’m really excited to see that he can do things, he can figure out things and stand with Captain America, and hold his own in this universe. That’s what’s awesome about it: You have all these characters of different nationalities and ethnicities, but it’s not all about their culture. It’s about them being a hero."

    Though there have been various iterations of Red Wolf over the decades, this character will have his own origins, backstory and powers. For instance, the Red Wolf of old had the power to communicate with wolves; whether that's the case remains to be seen with this new run.

    Though there will be supernatural elements, "we’ve made him a little bit of a regular Joe. We’re not too beholden to the Red Wolf of old—this is our take on that character," Edmondson said.

    Though he'll be existing in the same primary Marvel universe as Spider-Man, Captain America and the other Avengers, Red Wolf will be from the same alternate universe as "1872," meaning he's not connected to any existing Native American tribe.

    "Nobody should go to this looking as its historical," Edmondson said. "He comes from another dimension, after all. But it's very important for us to approach it in as authentic a way as possible. Jeffery offers this, and not just for consultation, but with his creative input—his covers jump out from 100 feet away."

    "Above all, he’s resourceful," Edmondson said. "He’s kind of in a sense the Jason Bourne of the West, who can find a way out of any situation, or a way to use the resources of whatever room or position he may be in—he’s not a gunslinger, but he might use a gun if he has to. ... But beyond all that, he’s just a brawling, tough-as-nails fighter."
    Kitsap artist creating Marvel comic covers

    Marvel Comics brings back Native American superhero

    Red Wolf, first Native superhero with his own comic book series, uses grit and wits to battle crime

    By Renee Lewis
    Nathan Edmondson, the Marvel writer working on the new book, said Red Wolf will not be linked to any existing Native American tribe—a scenario that some found troubling.

    “I think it’s worth pointing out that character from made-up tribe is no win for diversity,” Navajo journalist Lita Nadabah Beck said on Twitter.

    Although industry experts have noted that large publishers including Marvel and DC Comics have been including more Native American characters in recent years, the publishers have also drawn some accusations of presenting stereotypes.

    To counter those, Native American writers have been producing their own comic books with Native heroes. Moonshot, published this year by Toronto-based Alternative History Comics, was a collection by 18 Native writers and artists from a variety of different cultures depicting traditional indigenous stories and legends—set in the future, and in space.

    Jay Odjick's "Kagagi," published in 2011, included the usual villains and superhuman power themes, but its characters and storyline were deeply rooted in Algonquin culture. Jon Proudstar's 1996 series "Tribal Force" was a story of five young people given superpowers to protect their land from being destroyed by the government.
    Comment:  For more on Red Wolf, see Same-Old, Same-Old Red Wolf and All-New, All-Different Red Wolf?

    September 08, 2015

    Conservative labels Callingbull a "monster"

    Conservative director booted from riding board over comments describing ‘Indians’ as ‘self-loathing’

    By Jorge BarreraJust recently, MacDonell posted a link from right-wing shock website The Rebel Media about Ash Callingbull, the Cree woman recently crowned Mrs. Universe. The article said Callingbull compared Harper to Hitler.

    MacDonell wrote that Callingbull was an “entitled liberal pet” and a “monster.” After one poster said the pageant should take back the crown over the Hitler comparison, MacDonell blasted all First Nation people.

    “From an Indian??? LOL!!!! They’re allowed to break every law we have and bankrupt the country,” wrote MacDonell.

    MacDonell has also posted her own ideas about how to end racism.

    “If Indians want to eradicate racism, then assimilate. Ditch the Halloween costumes…and adopt 20thCentury dress, leave the reserves, stop acceding to demands made by chiefs who live like millionaires while their subjects live in poverty, find unemployment, stop demanding money you haven’t earned, become educated and join our society,” she said in a Jan. 24 Facebook post.

    MacDonell has been consistently posting comments along the same themes since as far back as 2012, according to several screen grabs obtained by APTN National News.

    “Indians loathe us and have no self-respect,” said MacDonell, who referred to right-wing agitator Ezra Levant in her 2013 Facebook post.

    NDP candidate Niki Ashton, who is the party’s Aboriginal affairs critic, said the comments were “disgusting” and “clearly racist.”
    Comment:  For more on Ashley Callingbull, see Beaverton Satirizes MMIW Crisis.

    September 07, 2015

    More places to be renamed

    4 Other Mountains Native Americans Would Like to Rename

    Beyond Denali, will these famous peaks have their indigenous names restored?

    By Brian Clark Howard
    Some Native Americans have asked that the indigenous names of these peaks also be officially restored:

    Devil’s Tower
    Harney Peak
    Mt. Rainier
    Mt. St. Helens
    Beyond Denali: 5 renamable American landmarks

    By Nick KirkpatrickThe White House took an important step toward improving relations with Native Americans, who are used to having their mountains and lakes renamed. Here are five more well-known American landmarks that theoretically could be rechristened.

    Mount Rushmore
    Block Island
    Mount St. Helens
    Mount Rainier
    Lake Superior
    6 More Landmarks That Should Have Their Indigenous Names Restored

    Admittedly, some of them might be a bit harder to pronounce than "Denali."

    By Julian Brave NoiseCat
    [W]hat if the president used his executive power to restore the indigenous names of other monuments, parks and places?

    Here are six places across the country ready to get the Denali treatment.

    Devil’s Tower
    Grand Canyon
    Mount St. Helens
    Mount Rainier
    Harney Peak
    And some of the history and philosophy behind the name changes:

    Denali and America's Long History of Using (or Not Using) Indian Names

    In restoring the Athabaskan name to the country’s highest mountain, President Obama is among those who have wrestled with the issue

    By Doug Herman
    The romantic Indian of yore may never go away from American culture. But in the 21st century, the American search for identity has a postmodern instability that includes an increasing recognition that Indians are alive and well and often want their land back. Scholarship on Indians that does not involve Indians is now problematic. The use of Indians as sports mascots is being replaced. Most importantly, Indians themselves are going through old records and using GIS to remap lost place names. A new conversation on Indian place names is taking place, one that may see another resurgence of native toponymy.Comment:  For more on the subject, see Time to Rename Mt. Rainier? and Conservative Freakout Over Denali = Racism.

    September 06, 2015

    Time to rename Mt. Rainier?

    After McKinley, it’s time to consider renaming RainierThe name game is serious business. One that merits serious consideration is Mount Rainier. Unlike McKinley, Rainier wasn’t a U.S. president or even an American, for that matter. Peter Rainier Jr. was a British naval officer who spent part of his military career fighting in the American Revolution for you-know-who.

    Yet nearly all of Capt. George Vancouver’s imperial naming—usually after friends while he was exploring the Salish Sea in 1792—remains intact. Do these sound familiar? Peter Puget. Joseph Whidbey. Vancouver. It’s the branding equivalent of invading Japan and renaming Mount Fuji after a Navy buddy.

    Landscapes are sacred, and names embroider meaning. The Northwest would be a poorer place if the Skagit or Puyallup rivers honored the first prospector to publish a map.

    There are limits. No one advocates changing Vasiliki Ridge near Washington Pass simply because climber Fred Beckey wanted to name something after his girlfriend. And if we changed Seattle back to its native moniker, “Duwamps,” we’d spur a riot.

    Unlike McKinley, changing Rainier’s name hasn’t generated a passionate groundswell, and some argue that “Tahoma” is only one of several authentic native names. The first step is to begin the conversation.
    One Challenge to Renaming Rainier: Getting the New Name Right

    By Daniel PersonIt’s unclear what political constituency would come to stick up for Admiral Peter Rainier, the British naval officer for whom our local giant mountain is named—though perhaps the people of his hometown of Sandwich would raise alarm. Rainier never visited the Pacific Northwest, he fought against American privateers during the American revolution, and his countrymen were shoed off to the cold side of the Strait of Juan De Fuca when this area became American territory.

    But while Admiral Peter lacks a natural fan club, there’s reason to doubt Rainier will be scrubbed from local maps anytime soon, if for no other reason than there’s no consensus on what the mountain’s name should be changed to.

    “It’s always been the tribe’s desire to get the name Tahoma recognized,” said Puyallup Tribe spokesman John Weymer. “For God’s sake, Mt. Rainier is named for a guy who’s never been to the country.”

    However, Weymer acknowledges, “there are several names” for the mountain. “That is part of the issue.”

    This has long been a sticking point.

    “Tahoma, Tacobeh, Pooskaus, Tacoma ... There are all these different names,” Puyallup tribal member Robert Satiacum told KPLU in 2012. To pick one risks dishonoring the others.
    Is it time to rename Mount Rainier to its former native name?

    Comment:  For more on the subject, see Renaming Mt. Rainier.

    September 05, 2015

    Natives denounce Indian Lot t-shirts

    Natives blast T-shirts adorned with beer bottles, dream catchers

    By Kevin AbourezkSome Lincoln Native people say they are concerned a T-shirt design showcased on a website this week contains images that reinforce stereotypes of Natives as alcoholics.

    The shirt features the words “Indian Lot” and an image of a Native dream catcher with beer bottles hanging from it. The company that designed it said it's meant to pay homage to the once-popular football tailgating lot behind the Lincoln Indian Center.

    The Corner 3 Tees company hoped to sell the shirts to people who remember the spot that was popular before the Indian Center banned alcohol there last year after some tailgaters got out of control, a spokesperson said in an email.

    “The lot in question netted the owners a great amount of profit over the years as its popularity stemmed almost entirely from the tailgating festivities, which involved a vast amount of alcohol around various Native American structures,” the company said in a statement. “We elected to profit from the lot’s reputation in a similar manner.”

    'Indian Lot' T-shirts that depict beer bottles, dream catchers stir cries of racism

    By Colleen FellRebekka Schlichting, a UNL graduate student and member of the UNL Inter-Tribal Exchange student organization, said the T-shirt design is a slap in the face to Native American culture.

    “The dream catchers are sacred, and the beer bottles are poison in our culture,” Schlichting said. “My initial reaction to the shirts was that, ‘This has got be to be a joke, this can’t be real.’ ”

    However, Corner 3 Tees, the company that was to sell the shirts—which aren’t available on the company website—doesn’t see an issue.

    In a statement emailed Friday to The World-Herald, the company said, “We are confused that although the Native American community in Lincoln was and is still deeply concerned with their heritage being tied to alcohol, we found little to no outrage regarding the Indian Center being synonymous with heavy alcohol consumption on Husker game days during our research prior to creating the T-shirt design concepts.”

    The statement also said, “We assumed that since the Indian Center (and the Native American community in Lincoln) had no objections to tailgaters taking part in alcohol-related festivities on their grounds, including taking pictures of bonging beers and playing beer pong near Native American structures, the community would be receptive to the T-shirts’ depiction of the very parking lot environment they sponsored.”
    Comment:  Yes, clearly the company is confused. That's why its explanation badly misses the mark.

    For starters, the Indian Center terminated the tailgaters' use of the lot a year ago. The shirt implies drinking is still going on there. False.

    Reading the complaints, I don't see anyone saying that drinking didn't occur at the lot. Or that they'd object to a t-shirt about the drinking at the lot. By that I mean a shirt with the words "Indian Lot" and a neutral depiction of drinking. For instance, an image of a set of beer bottles, or a group of non-Native tailgaters.

    That isn't what the shirts show. They show a dreamcatcher, a distinctively Native symbol, with bear bottles hanging from it. The implication is that Indian Lot was a location for drinking Indians. Or that Indians in general are drinkers.

    Shirt implies a connection

    Another problem is the unjustified linking of the "Native American community" and the Indian Center. Who says said community approved of what went on at the Indian Center's lot? Or even knew about it? It's false and stereotypical to suggest Indians are of one mind about any particular issue.

    I can think of one way Corner 3 Tees might justify these shirts. That's if the Indian Center gave the company permission to use the "dreamcatcher with beer bottles" symbol to represent the tailgating. Then the company could say, "We asked the Indians and they said okay. They explicitly authorized us to use the dreamcatcher with beer bottles to represent Indian Lot."

    That didn't happen. Instead, the company used racist and stereotyping thinking to come up with its shirts. "It's a place called Indian Lot. Drinking happens there. Let's create an image that combines Indians and drinking to represent the situation."

    Suppose a black church were next to a playground with monkey bars and you wanted to commemorate that for some reason. Would you create a shirt showing blacks swinging on the bars like monkeys? Because that would be equivalent to the Indian Lot shirt. The drinking has no association with Indians except the name of the lot, but the shirt implies a connection.

    For more on Indians and alcohol, see Vineyard Owner "Runs with Wine" and Vans Sells "Drunken Indian" T-Shirt.

    September 04, 2015

    Conservative freakout over Denali = racism

    What's behind the conservative crying over the Denali name change?

    For starters, it obviously is not about giving Alaskans what they want. Because they want the original name restored.

    An Alaskan On What The Lower 48 Don't Get About Denali

    By Julia O'MalleyAlaska is a conservative state. Registered Republicans outnumber Democrats by a wide margin, but the state’s brand of conservatism has a pro-development, anti-government, libertarian flavor. Most people don’t see the mountain’s name change along partisan lines. Instead, some see it as a victory in the state’s long public lands tug-of-war with the federal government, while others, especially in the Alaska Native community, see it as a victory for indigenous rights. And pretty much everybody has been calling the mountain Denali for years.

    There’s also something worth explaining about the culture here. We put Alaska-ness before all else, and tend to view outsiders with suspicion. In Alaska, nobody really cares if you went to Harvard, but if your grandmother was buried here, you should say so because it gives you cred. I think this is because there are only 700,000 people in this state and a whole lot of dangerous country, animals and weather. People from very different backgrounds tend to find themselves relying on each other, so we care most about stuff like whether you are the type to carry a tow strap in your truck and would be willing to pull us out of a ditch in a snowstorm. Politics come way second. Our loyalty to Denali over McKinley is driven by the same impulse. Denali is ours, it comes from here, it carries a tow strap. McKinley isn’t and doesn’t.
    Playing politics with Denali

    So why are non-Alaskan conservatives ignoring the wishes of Alaskan conservatives?

    The GOP’s ludicrous “Mt. Denali” freakout: What this latest “scandal” reveals about the right-wing outrage machine

    Trump was the highest profile critic of the Obama administration decision to restore a mountain's original name

    By Bob Cesca
    Okay, several points on this ridiculousness—the latest in a series of non-scandal scandals:

    • McKinley was originally named Denali until 1917 when it was changed in honor of President William McKinley. If the GOP is concerned with, say, the traditional definition of marriage, shouldn’t they also be interested in the traditional name of a mountain?

    • The Alaska Geographic Board has actually used “Denali” as Alaska’s official name for the mountain since 1975.
    But:None of this is relevant to the far-right, of course, nor will there be any retractions issued given the myriad facts surrounding the name change. Knowing the long list of trivial and not-so-trivial “gates” that have each induced relapsing outrage comas among googly-eyed Obama haters, this could be one of the most trivial. It’ll never top the reaction to Obama’s use of teleprompters (which are used by every other public figure) or the baffling indignation over Obama’s choice of a tan suit for his press conference wardrobe, but it’s way up there.

    In the effort to level the odds for 2016, not to mention all previous Obama-era elections for that matter, the GOP has been engaged in a shotgun strategy, framing nearly every White House decision as those of a legion of super-villains, motivated by the president’s so-called radical agenda to “fundamentally transform” America (an agenda that really doesn’t exist). It works well as red meat for the base, and it’s maybe successfully shaved a few points off Obama’s approval numbers by sheer attrition, but outside of the conservative entertainment complex, it’s easy to see exactly what the GOP is up to. It’s a scam and bears little similarity to reality. And this particular Denali issue is maybe the finest example of the GOP’s desperate scandal-mongering.
    Alaska's Great White Mountain

    In renaming a peak that honored a Republican hero, President Obama stepped into the center of a fray over political correctness, American culture, and partisanship.

    By David A. Graham
    For non-Rovians, what makes Obama’s “Denali” decision sting is the symbolism. One of the key stories of the Obama presidency is the sense among white, conservative Americans that their country is disappearing. Though seldom couched in directly racial terms, the issue of racial identity always lurks beneath the surface. The sense that white America is fading is not irrational, and it’s not just about the black president in the White House. Census projections have Caucasians becoming not a majority, but merely a plurality, of the population within a couple decades.

    The reaction to Dylann Roof's massacre in Charleston is an example of how this plays out. Even some people who were horrified by the shooting and supported South Carolina’s decision to remove the Confederate battle flag from the state-capitol grounds felt uncomfortable with the sudden rise of demands to erase other symbols of the Confederacy or of white-supremacist leaders of yore—statues of Jefferson Davis, college buildings named for racists, and the like. These changes are just and overdue, but they’re also understandably disorienting, and for people who already feel their heritage and way of life are under siege, they seem a step (or several) too far. Conservatives complain, using a phrase Obama himself employed in October 2008, that the president is in the process of “fundamentally transforming the United States of America.”

    Still, much of the reaction to Obama’s decision is almost comic. “Mt. McKinley is still there,” Erick Erickson proclaims, vowing to keep calling it by that name. “I will still call the mountain Mt. McKinley in the same way I will call Turin, Turin, instead of Turino like the idiots at NBC decided to do during that city’s time hosting the Olympics,” he writes.

    The “Turin” comparison is instructive—after all, just as with Denali, the people who actually live there call it “Torino.” More generally, the thrust of the reaction seems to be, You can’t rename Mount McKinley! It’s had that name for a very long time. This argument might seem more than a bit ironic to Athabascans, in whose tongue “Denali” means “the Great One,” and who called it by that name for far longer than the “McKinley” label has stuck. Alaska Natives have been pushing to rename the mountain for years, saying that the official name, among other things, conveyed a “fundamental disrespect” for their culture.
    Conservatives = racists, again

    No need to hint that racism is lurking in the background. The conservative crying is explicitly racist.

    Conservative Reaction to ‘Denali’ Proves It: They Don’t Care About Native Americans

    By John Paul BrammerOf course, millions of Natives died in the process of colonization. But that’s an uncomfortable truth conservatives have chosen to ignore.

    And they ignore it because they’re afraid to open that can of worms.

    If they did, they would have to acknowledge that Native Alaskans have been fighting to reclaim one of their sacred sites for a long time and that this is not simply an opportunity for them to hit Obama.

    No, instead, Native voices are pushed out of the debate entirely. Just like Native voices have been pushed out of nearly every facet of American society.

    It’s no wonder Natives who do choose to participate in United States’ elections skew Democratic. Especially when you have Republicans like John McCain selling out sacred Native lands to foreign mining companies.
    What's in a Name? Restoring Denali's Name Should Just Be the First in a Long List

    By Doug KielGOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee commented, “I’m wondering what’s next—the renaming of the Washington Monument to the ‘Obama Monument’?” Huckabee’s “what’s next” remark is in part a critique of what he perceives to be an abuse of executive power, but it is also a common, paranoid refrain in the face of white privilege being challenged.

    Restoring the name of North America’s highest peak does not signal the erosion of white supremacy as some conservative Republicans seem to worry. Unfortunately, their white supremacy remains firmly intact. But the name restoration does reflect that President Obama is willing to pay respect to Indigenous nations. As the debate over Indian mascots and logos in professional sports has shown, names do in fact matter, and non-Natives quite often clutch to their colonial naming rights as firmly as they can.
    How one mountain proved claims of “principled conservatism” are just racism

    By Amanda MarcotteSo what exactly is the great conservative principle at stake here? State’s rights? Alaska already calls it Denali. Preservation of existing norms and standards? Well, the name is going back to what it was before, which is the restoration of tradition, which conservatives should theoretically support. What about Donald Trump and his ongoing belief that allowing people of different cultures to come in to yours will dramatically alter and eventually destroy your existing culture? If that’s so, then he should be applauding the government for rejecting the way that outsiders came to Alaska and just started renaming stuff without asking the people who were there first.

    Clearly, the only real principle here is the belief that white people are better than everyone else, and that the names of things like mountains should reflect this belief in white supremacy.

    That’s where we’re at, folks: 2015, and the right wing is having an openly racist fit that doesn’t even bother to pretend to be about anything but believing white people are better than everyone else.
    Renaming = white power

    The truth about right-wing Denali outrage: Destroying the tenacious colonialist “right” to re-name is long overdue

    The mountain has always had a name—and so has every other place in Alaska, before white explorers made their marks

    By Paula Young Lee
    Earlier this year, the blog, “Athabascan Woman,” run by Angela Gonzalez, featured a round-up of Facebook comments regarding the “Denali” question. Vera Schafer affirmed: “That’s the real name. The people who came and changed every name didn’t know each place had a name. The people who wrote about Alaska said it was ‘vast wastelands.’ It wasn’t because people were already living here and everything had a name. Every hill, knoll, river bends, slough had a native name.” Another commentator, Darlene Reena Herbert, wrote: “There is a word for everything on earth and beyond in Dinjii zhuh ginjik” (Native people language).”

    That language, however, is not American English. Worse, the word itself, meaning “great one,” refers to the physical properties of the mountain, and not to the achievements of mortal men who become immortal through great deeds. “Alaska is full of glaciers and other places named for white male explorers,” Alaska transplant Amy Price McCord wrote in an email to me. These places include Prince William Sound and Mt. Edgecumbe (thought to be named after George, earl of Edgecumbe; its original Tlingit name is L’ux).

    The names systematically affirm a colonialist mentality that subjugates rather than respects the land, exploiting a theologically-informed attitude to nature that has enriched coffers for centuries. Now, that model is beginning to crumble in the face of overwhelming evidence of climate change. The president’s trip to Alaska is partly driven by the widespread recognition that it’s one of the places in the world most vulnerable to its immediate effects.

    The partisan refusal to recognize climate change is driving its own set of memes linking “Denali” to “Denial.” Hence there is political peril in restoring the names of people, places, and things using the names originally bestowed on them. Return the names to their original forms, return the land to the people? For some Conservatives, renaming is a sign that the world is run amok with political correctness, but also something more when the President of the U.S. endorses it. To restore a name symbolically acknowledges that other cultural systems have legitimacy and merit, which correspondingly confirms that the landmarks of my thoughts are not the same as the landmarks of your thoughts.
    The Long History Behind Renaming Mt. McKinley

    By Ben RailtonQuirky details aside, this renaming controversy echoes far deeper and more longstanding American historical and cultural issues. After all, whatever Dickey’s intentions in choosing McKinley, it was that 1890s choice which represented the original renaming of the mountain, a change in the name of a sacred place for generations of Alaskan Native Americans (particularly members of the Koyukon Athabaskan nation). Alaska has acknowledged that sacred heritage for decades, and the mountain has been known as Denali within the state since the 1970s. But every time Congress has tried to formalize the change, Ohio has protested and stalled the process, arguing that the name McKinley is an important part of their state’s history and heritage.

    Yet that name exists at the explicit expense of another foundational American cultural heritage and identity. As a result, in maintaining the name McKinley over Denali on the national level, as in the original act of renaming the mountain, mainstream European American culture has extended the acts of settler colonialism and imperialism that have stolen and occupied Native lands for centuries—a process illustrated in William Dickey’s own era by the 1893 military coup in and 1898 annexation (by the McKinley administration!) of Hawaii.

    Such imperial renamings have been part of the European colonial enterprise from literally its first moments: In a 1493 letter describing his first voyage to Spanish financial backer Luis de Santangel, Christopher Columbus writes, “To the first island I discovered I gave the name of San Salvador, in commemoration of His Divine Majesty, who has wonderfully granted all this. The Indians call it Guanaham.” And they have certainly continued into our postcolonial American existence—many of our prominent spaces and places, from Mt. Rushmore to Lake Superior, were similarly renamed by European settlers and officials from their original Native designations.

    In her 1834 poem “Indian Names,” Lydia Sigourney imagined a far different process and effect, one in which the continued use of Native American names such as Massachusetts and Connecticut might lead to better collective memories of these peoples and the American histories (both proud and tragic) to which they connect. “Their name in on your waters,” she writes, “Ye may not wash it out.” Yet it seems to me that we have been able to maintain these Native names without engaging with those histories—perhaps because we can do so without controversy or even attention to what the names signify. It is precisely changes such as the renaming of Denali that will be required, to force our collective engagement with these names and their contested contexts.
    If it isn't clear how racist and wrong it is to go around renaming people's homelands, consider this scenario (via Twitter):F. N. Caring Society ‏@IndigenousXca
    We should all travel across the world and name sacred sites in europe after random ndns
    So Mt. Olympus is now Wakan Tanka. Stonehenge is now the Great Medicine Wheel. The Matterhorn is now Mt. Deloria. Etc.

    For more on Denali, see Let's Rename Ohio's Tallest Mountain and Denali Name Change = Political Attack?