February 29, 2016

Asian jokes at 2016 Oscars

If the Oscars were all about diversity, why the crude Asian joke?

By Jessica ContreraChris Rock opened his monologue by saying he’d never be the host if he had to be nominated for the job. We all got the joke—Chris Rock is black, and for the second year in the row, not a single actor nominated for an Oscar was black.

But they also weren’t Asian or Latino. Representation is a problem in Hollywood for all minorities, but all night long, the show’s jokes focused almost entirely on the problem as it pertains to black people.

During a sketch in which Rock altered top movies to include actors of color, he chose Whoopi Goldberg, Leslie Jones and Tracy Morgan. Stacey Dash wished everyone a happy Black History Month. Kevin Hart joked, wasn’t it about time they put him in the front row?

There was a lack of diversity in the lack of diversity. This became most apparent when Rock brought three Asian children to the stage, posing as “bankers” from finance firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Chris Rock's Oscars joke about Asian American accountants stirs outrage

By Randall RobertsDespite an Academy Award ceremony focused on addressing issues of diversity in Hollywood, Asian Americans expressed outrage on social media after two jokes that poked at stereotypes. The comments, one by host Chris Rock during a skit and another by comedic actor Sacha Baron Cohen under his Ali G persona, were particularly notable due to the controversy surrounding the #OscarsSoWhite theme.

Rock's skit drew the most ire. In a rehearsed bit involving the tabulation of Academy Awards votes, he introduced the would-be PriceWaterhouseCoopers representatives overseeing the count. “They sent us their most dedicated, accurate and hard-working representatives," he said. "Please welcome Ming Zhu, Bao Ling and David Moskowitz."

Three kids of Asian descent, dressed in suits and carrying briefcases, walked toward center stage. Following a muted response from the crowd, Rock added: "If anybody’s upset about that joke, just tweet about it on your phone that was also made by these kids."

And react they did, many wondering how the gag made it out of the writers room.
“Yellow people with tiny dongs”?: The Oscars have more than one diversity problem—and it shows

Tasteless jokes about Asians put a damper on what was otherwise a joyous celebration of diversity

By Sonia Saraiya
Last night’s 88th Academy Awards was a major platform, at the center of Hollywood’s glitterati, for a discussion of diversity in Hollywood. As I wrote last night, host Chris Rock made that the focus of the evening, paying an equally self-righteous and self-mocking attention to the contributions of black performers in Hollywood, from Academy Award winner Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles to outspoken black conservative Stacey Dash as the Oscars’ “diversity outreach coordinator.”

But diversity in Hollywood isn’t just about black artists and performers in Hollywood. Writer Kelly Oxford observed on Twitter last night, “There have been more droids on the Oscar stage than Latinos or Asians,” after three “Star Wars” robot-characters rolled out and spoke or beeped to the audience. First Nations actors were only highlighted through their supporting roles in “The Revenant,” which nabbed both the Best Actor and Best Director awards.

And to add insult to injury, rather too much of the Oscars telecast mocked Asians and Asian-Americans. It’s one thing for a black host to play with stereotypes of both white and black people to create a commentary on inclusion in the Academy Awards, especially when notable roles by black performers were not recognized by the Academy. It is another for that same host—and that predominantly white show—to turn to making jokes about another marginalized race, as if that somehow neutralizes the issue.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Recapping the 2016 Oscars and Facebooking the 2016 Oscars.

Recapping the 2016 Oscars

I guess Chris Rock dropped a lot of truth bombs at last night's Academy Awards, but I didn't find his monologue especially incisive or entertaining. Let's see what others are saying:

“Is that the first ‘rape, lynch’ joke by a host in Oscars history?”: Twitter loses it over Chris Rock’s Oscars monologue and #OscarsSoWhite

Chris Rock’s Oscars monologue stuns: “When your grandmother’s swinging from a tree it’s really hard to care about best documentary foreign short”

So the point of his lynching comment was what...that diversity in movies is a trivial issue? "All you movie protesters don't understand what really matters, so shut up"? That's the way I heard it.

What if your short documentary was about grandmothers swinging from a tree? Or about war, climate change, disease, or another important issue? Should the host of an arts program really be dismissing the arts?

Someone wrote that Rock was trying to thread the needle, but they didn't say exactly how. It was by dismissing or belittling the protests and congratulating the people like him who showed up.

Hence the diss of Jada Pinkett Smith--that she wouldn't have been invited anyway. And the "Black History Month Minute" that seemed to honor Will Smith but switched to Jack Black.

The rest of the show

“This Oscar is going home in a Honda Civic”: Louis C.K. steals the show with a real tribute to an unloved category

I agree: Louis CK stole the show. Make him the host next year!

And the winning short documentary was about honor killing, Chris Rock. So yes, short docs can be as relevant to the world as someone's lynching. In this case, they're roughly about the same subject: heinous but quasi-legal murder.

VP Joe Biden speaks out at Oscars against sexual abuse: “We must and we can change the culture”

Yep, one of the night's best moments.


Leo earned his Oscar for “The Revenant”—and he might be our greatest movie star ever

Or not:

Leo’s Oscar isn’t overdue: He hasn’t won before because he didn’t earn it

For more on the subject, see Facebooking the 2016 Oscars and Duane Howard at the Oscars.

February 28, 2016

Facebooking the 2016 Oscars

Some people live-tweet events such as the Oscars. This year I posted a running commentary on Facebook. Here it is:

Opening monologue

I guess Chris Rock is giving a speech rather than telling jokes this year? ‪#‎OscarsSoWhite‬

"Writers, we know that you are the true backbone of the industry, and we love you for it. We also think you're all extremely hot."

So true! ‪#‎WritersSoHot‬

Commercial break! Debuting next week on ABC: The Real O'Neals. Finally, an Irish American family gets a turn in the spotlight. ‪#‎diversity‬

After #Blackish, #FreshOfftheBoat, #Empire, and #DrKen, it's about time someone featured a white family.

Kind of awkward to bring out Stacey Dash since everyone knows she's a Fox commentator and apologist for white supremacy. What's up with that? ‪#‎OscarsSoWhite‬

Response: awkward silence from the audience.

Pretty average ‪#‎Oscar‬ show so far. Obviously they decided to make it mainly about diversity. Slamming the issue with a sledgehammer rather than slicing it with a scalpel.

Moving along

Jared Leto makes the first merkin joke in Oscar history.

Consider the Merkin: A Brief History of Pubic Wigs in Hollywood

Guy thanked his one-week-old daughter. Not sure what her role was in the years-long production of Mad Max: Fury Road.

The "thank you" crawl beneath the award winners is a good idea. Everyone gets thanked on-screen and the winner can focus on thanking the key people. Or saying something distinctive and memorable.

At least the show is zipping along nicely. None of Neil Patrick Harris's middling stunts.

Let's cut to Sofia Vergara every so often! She's pretty...and Latina! ‪#‎OscarsSoWhite‬

We get to see some Indians on screen--usually savage warriors--whenever they play the standard clips from The Revenant. Yay? ‪#‎OscarsSoWhite‬

Giving Andy Serkis recognition for, well, anything is a novelty.

So far nothing that qualifies as a memorable moment. ‪#‎OscarsSoBland‬

Picking up the pace

Really? Selling your daughter's Girl Scout cookies? Is that supposed to be funny and charming rather than crass and competitive? ‪#‎OscarsSoMercenary‬

The interview segment straight outta Compton was cute. ‪#‎OscarsSoWhite‬

Louis CK was good. All the awards should be presented like that--with smart and seemingly spontaneous riffs.

Leonard Nimoy got the final spot in the "In Memoriam" montage! ‪#‎SpockLives‬ ‪#‎OscarsSoVulcan‬

Vice President Joe Biden! Another white guy! What film was he in? ‪#‎OscarsSoWhite‬

Cue the conservative Twitter outrage over the domestic violence segment. How dare the Oscars talk about the real world? It's only movies!

Unlike the Stacey Dash bit, that will go on the show's highlight list.

Pharrell has hair? Who knew?

Sacha Baron Cohen was entertaining. Thus proving my point re Louis CK.

Alejandro González Iñárritu mentions his Native American cast! ‪#‎OscarsSoWhite‬

Where's Sean Penn to make a follow-up joke about immigrants?

Not sure why the show is over three hours. It's not as if they padded it with a lot of unnecessary bits. ‪#‎NeilPatrickHarris‬ ‪#‎OscarsSoLong‬

The big awards

Gender confirmation surgery! I haven't heard that term before. ‪#‎OscarsSoFluid‬

Forrest Goodluck featured in Leonardo DiCaprio's Best Actor clip! ‪#‎OscarsSoWhite‬

DiCaprio won because of the kid!

"Climate change is real," says Leo. Cue the conservative numbskulls still raging over Lady Gaga and domestic violence.

Another one for the highlight reel. DiCaprio uses his speech time effectively.

2016 Oscar Winner DiCaprio Dedicates his speech to Mother Earth and Indigenous PeopleLeonardo DiCaprio used his Oscars speech to address climate change. He urged the audience to “support leaders around the world who do not speak for the big polluters or the big corporations but who speak for all of humanity, for the indigenous people of the world, for the billions and billions of underprivileged people who’ll be affected by this”.

"Making The Revenant was about man's relationship to the natural world, a world that we collectively felt in 2015 as the hottest year in recorded history. Our production had to move to the southern tip of this planet just to find now. Climate change is real. It is happening right now. It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating.

We need to support leaders around the world who do not speak for the big polluters or the big corporations, but who speak for all of humanity, for the indigenous people of the world, for the billions and billions of under privileged people who will be most affected by this, for our children's children, and for those people out there whose voices have been drowned out by the politics of greed.

I thank you all for this amazing award tonight. Let us not take this planet for granted, I do not take this night for granted. Thank you so much."
Glad to see Spotlight won Best Picture. Just because I hate it when a film gets "momentum" and sweeps.

Sorry, The Revenant. Better luck next year.

Thus endeth the Oscars. A few good moments in the second half, but still nothing special. ‪#‎BlackLivesMatter‬

And Fight the Power plays over the final credits.

Journalism wins

A few final tweets:

Retweeted Kate Sheppard (@kate_sheppard):
I haven't seen any of these movies but hey, nice to see attn paid to sexual assault, climate change, and need for investigative journalism.

Retweeted Dave Pell (@davepell):
The message of Spotlight.
The media helps to protect us. Stop maligning it.

I forgot that conservatives also will rage at the Girl Scouts. Damn liberal feminist atheist girls!

For more on the subject, see The Best Indian Movies.

Duane Howard at the Oscars

It's extremely rare to see a Native at the Academy Award ceremony. So it's worth noting that actor Duane Howard attended this year.

The Revenant's Duane Howard outfitted by Haida designer for Academy Awards red carpet

Dorothy Grant had one week to stitch outfit that could be seen by millions at Oscars

With Forrest Goodluck, Arthur RedCloud, and Leonardo DiCaprio. I think this photo was taken before or after the ceremony, but I'm not sure. It could've been taken somewhere else.

With Cate Blanchett.

Others at the Oscars

Meanwhile, another Native actor in The Revenant wasn't invited.

Despite controversy over #OscarsSoWhite, Canadian actress and Revenant star Grace Dove was not invited to the Academy Awards

As a newly elected member of the Academy, veteran actor Sonny Skyhawk was planning to attend the ceremony too:

Sonny Skyhawk Bringing His War Bonnet to Oscars, Fighting for His People

But I didn't see any reports from him or others about his being there.

For more on the subject, see Why Are Oscars So White? and #OscarsSoWhite 2016.

February 25, 2016

"Greetings Native Savages" sticker

Doctor gives First Nations child 'Greetings, Native Savages' sticker

Listuguj chief Scott Martin wants meeting with head of Campbellton hospital over alleged incidents of racism

By Colleen Kitts-Goguen
A physician at the Campbellton Regional Hospital handed out a "Greetings, Native Savages" sticker to a Listuguj First Nations child recently, prompting an outcry within the Listuguj community.

"This is unacceptable, insensitive and was very upsetting," said Listuguj Chief Scott Martin in a letter sent to Gilles Lanteigne, president and chief executive officer of the Vitalité Health Network.

"This level of insensitivity points to a dearth of cultural competency and cultural safety at your hospital," Martin said in the letter.

Martin wants to meet with Lanteigne over allegations of "disturbing stories of discrimination and unprofessional behaviour" on the part of staff at the Campbellton Regional Hospital.
The sticker incident explained:As for the sticker incident, Lanteigne said the stickers were ordered in bulk and are from a Dreamworks movie called Home. He said the doctor who handed out the sticker did not realize what was on it.

"The physician did call the mum, and the head nurse did call the mum twice, to explain that unfortunately we had bought these stickers without realizing what was really written on them and that it could be insulting," he said.

"We apologized, we even called the company. We retrieved all these stickers from all our sites," Lanteigne said, pointing out these stickers have been given out, in error, in other parts of the country.
Apparently the sticker comes from the Home movie. The alien directs the "Greetings" line to all humans, not to Native Americans. It's undoubtedly supposed to be an ironic play on how Europeans greeted Natives.

So the offense was probably unintentional. Still, someone should've thought of the effect the image and quote would have on Natives. And pulled the stickers long before they were distributed.

This lack of thought is evidence of a subtle bias: a presupposition that Natives no longer exist. It's why people have "savage" parties, costumes, and mascots--because no one is left to be upset. To most people, Natives are as immaterial and irrelevant as leprechauns or unicorns.

Listuguj mother shocked by 'Greetings, Native Savages' sticker

Toddler from Listuguj First Nation given racist sticker by doctor at Campbellton Regional HospitalLanteigne said the stickers were ordered in bulk and are from a Dreamworks movie called Home. He said the doctor who handed out the sticker did not realize what was on it.

"The physician did call the mum, and the head nurse did call the mum twice, to explain that unfortunately we had bought these stickers without realizing what was really written on them and that it could be insulting," he said.

"We apologized, we even called the company. We retrieved all these stickers from all our sites," Lanteigne said, pointing out these stickers have been given out, in error, in other parts of the country.

When asked if he believes there is a problem with racism and discrimination at the Campbellton hospital, Lanteigne said he believes the situation at the hospital "is considerably improved."
Lanteigne's explanation seems plausible. But still, you might want to check anything you hand out before you hand it out. A toy could have loose and dangerous parts. A sticker could have an unfortunate misprint. Etc.

February 23, 2016

My Chrononauts script

Here's my submission for Mark Miller's script competition for his Chrononauts comic-book series. Since I didn't win, I've changed the names to avoid copyright issues. Here's a four-page story starring the Time Jerks.


Panel 1/ A convertible sports car bursts through a fiery circle of light. Dark-haired Grizzle frantically drives while light-haired Forst rides shotgun. Behind them, faintly visible in the glare, Zulu warriors hurl spears at them.

The car has emerged onto a broad grassy plain. In the background are small groves of trees and a low line of bluffs. A few Plains Indian tipis stand in the distance on the right. A couple of dark-haired people and their animals—horses and dogs—look at the commotion.

1. TITLE: Time Jerks

2. SUBTITLE: Two white guys romp though history in search of fame and fortune.

3. CAPTION: 1876

4. FORST: Zulus are as tough as their reputation.

5. GRIZZLE: Yeah, recruiting drive didn’t go so well.


Story: Rob Schmidt
Art: __________
Colors: __________

Panel 2/ Still dodging a few spears, the car plows into a group of tipis. Indians in a mix of Western clothing and buckskins scatter.

7. FORST: Whoa, watch where you’re going!

8. GRIZZLE: Gotta get out of range.

Panel 3/ An overhead shot shows the car zooming past the first campsites of a huge Indian gathering. It’s an obstacle course of tipis, cooking fires, and people and animals. To the north, a river flows below the bluffs.

9. FORST: Where are we?

10. GRIZZLE: Not sure. Didn’t have time to set the coordinates.

11. FORST: Slow down! You’re gonna hit someone!

Panel 4/ The Indians regroup and attack the car as it barrels through the camp. On foot and on horseback, they shoot at the intruders with rifles and bows. Bullets and arrows fly past.

12. FORST: Speed up! Speed up!

13: SOUND F/X: zip zip zip


Panel 1/ A half-naked warrior leaps onto the car’s hood. With a knife in his mouth, he creeps toward Grizzle and Forst.

1. FORST: Get him off us!

Panel 2/ Grizzle yanks the steering wheel. The car swerves and strikes a tipi, ripping it from its moorings. Surprised, the Indian goes flying in the other direction.

Ahead, just visible in the distance, is a large buffalo hide stretched on a wooden frame.

2. GRIZZLE: Satisfied?

3. FORST: These people … are we changing their history?

Panel 3/ Grizzle and Forst glance behind them. Like a scene from an old Western, angry warriors pursue them on horseback.

4. GRIZZLE: Either we’re creating a parallel timeline or we’re rewriting our own.

5. GRIZZLE: Won’t know which unless we go back to the future.

6: SOUND F/X: yi yi yi yi yi!

Panel 4/ The car slams into the buffalo hide, which envelops the front half of car, blocking the guys’ view.

7. GRIZZLE: Which I don’t plan to—


Panel 5/ As the hide falls away, Grizzle and Forst find warriors surrounding them with weapons aimed to kill. The guys raise their hands in surrender.

9. WARRIORS: Spies! Thieves! Fat takers!

10. GRIZZLE: Whatever they’re speaking, our translators are handling it.

11. FORST: Hey, we’re after fame and fortune, not “fat.”


Panel 1/ As women and children watch, the warriors lead Grizzle and Forst through the camp. With their hands tied in front of them, the guys try to talk to their captors.

1. FORST: Not spies or thieves. We’re, uh, messengers.

2. GRIZZLE: Never thought I’d say this, but ... take us to your leader.

Panel 2/ The warriors push them through a flap into a big, dimly lit tipi. On the far side, sitting on hides, are a middle-aged Sioux and his advisers. The Indians look unhappy to see white men.

3. FORST: Is that … Sitting Bull?

4. GRIZZLE: Looks like it.

5. FORST: Then this must be Little Big Horn.

6. GRIZZLE: And Custer’s about to attack.

Panel 3/ Grizzle and Forst stand before Sitting Bull and the other Sioux leaders.

7. SITTING BULL: Who are you and where did you come from?

8. FORST: We, uh, flew down from the sky.

9. GRIZZLE: Yeah, uh, on the back of a thunderbird.

10. SITTING BULL: You speak nonsense. Why are you here?

11. GRIZZLE: We come with, er—

Panel 4/ Face to face with Sitting Bull, Grizzle has a bright idea.

12. GRIZZLE: A warning from the spirits.

13. GRIZZLE: Beware the Long Hair. Though you will be victorious, many will die. The white man will hunt you until you have vanished like the buffalo.

Panel 5/ Warriors lead Grizzle and Forst away as Sitting Bull and his men discuss what to do with them.

14. ADVISER #1: They’re lying, of course.

15. ADVISER #2: Kill them and take their scalps.

16. SITTING BULL: No, tie them up. I may have questions for them later.


Panel 1/ Just outside the tipi, Forst kicks one of the guards in the gut. Grizzle raises his arms to shield himself from another guard slashing at him with a knife. He positions his hands so the blade slices through his bonds.

1. FORST: Didja hear that?

2. GRIZZLE: Let’s get outta here!

Panel 2/ They run for their car as Indians chase them. With his hands still tied, Forst ducks as a warrior tumbles over him. With his bonds unraveling, Grizzle straight-arms another warrior.

3. FORST: Why aren’t they shooting at us?

4. GRIZZLE: Camp’s too crowded! Go!

Panel 3/ With Indians in hot pursuit, the guys leap into their car. Grizzle guns the engine and the wheels spin in a cloud of dust. A circle of light shimmers into existence before them.

5. FORST: Back to your place in Manhattan?

6. GRIZZLE: Yeah, Lucky Luciano’s girl is waiting.

7. SOUND F/X: rrrrRRWRR—

Panel 4/ In the background, the car sits in front of Grizzle’s luxurious mansion. Grizzle and Forst relate their adventures to men in pinstriped suits and women in flapper outfits. Perhaps a black butler stands by with a tray of refreshments.

8. CAPTION: 1929

9. FLAPPER: Were they all barbaric and savage-like?

10. FORST: Actually, they weren’t too bad—

11. GRIZZLE: Considering we invaded their home.

Filling the foreground is a copy of the New York Herald newspaper—on a table or in a henchman’s hands. Part of the front page is visible: the headlines, a drawing, and a chronology in one or two columns. The main headline is big.


Custer dead at 90
Former president dies in bed

The photo is a drawing of General Custer as seen in photographs just before Little Big Horn. The chronology reads:

His Career in Politics

1876: 7th Cavalry routs Sioux as they break camp
1877: Custer persuades Geronimo to surrender in Ariz.
1879: Custer is proclaimed “The Hero of the West”
1880: Custer runs for president against Garfield, wins
1882: “Learn and Earn” program launched for Negroes
1883: Chinese riot at So. Pacific Railroad ceremony
1884: Custer wins second presidential term
1885: Assassination attempt against Custer fails
1886: France starts to build Statue of Victory for U.S.
1888: Custer wins unprecedented third presidential term
1890: U.S. annexes Panama to begin work on canal
1891: First Hawaiian War ends in stalemate
1892: Custer wins fourth presidential term
1894: Sequoyah admitted to the Union as 45th state
1896: Col. Theodore Roosevelt killed in attack on Cuba

13. CAPTION: End.

For more on the subject, see White Male Privilege in Chrononauts.

February 21, 2016

"Mohawk Indians" seek Grand Ronde's approval

In Grand Ronde: We'll Decide About Mascots, people called Grand Ronde chairman Reyn Leno a sellout and an "apple." Here's more evidence that his actions are based on anything but a genuine concern for Native cultures.

Mohawk High School reaches out to Grande Ronde tribes in hopes of keeping Indians mascot

By Alisha RoemelingMohawk High School, in the ­Marcola School District northeast of Eugene, is home to the Mohawk Indians, a mascot it’s used since the school was established in the late 1920s, district Superintendent Bill Watkins said.

An image of an Indian with a mohawk and feathers in his hair adorns the floor of the school’s gym.

In an attempt to ensure the ­district won’t have to resurface the gym floor and do away with other ­elements of its mascot, Watkins met with the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde, based in Polk County, in August.

But the discussion has not yet yielded a clear, written deal.

“They said they would support us and that they were not a group that was against school districts using anything associated with North ­American Indians or North ­American natives,” Watkins said. “I’ve never met a finer group of people who embraced me and embraced the fact that we wanted to talk with them.”
So the Mohawk Indians of Marcola are trying to make a deal with the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde. According to Watkins, "they" (probably Chairman Leno and his lackeys) support the Mohawks.

Indeed, if we go by Watkins, Leno supports "anything associated with North ­American Indians." So this process has nothing to do with portraying Oregon Natives or any Natives accurately.

Law says no to Leno

That's odd, you might say. But shouldn't Oregon tribes have the right to determine what matters to them?

Let's continue with the article and how it describes the situation:While Marcola’s high school bears a tribe’s name—Mohawk—the Mohawk Tribe does not have Oregon ties. The Saint Regis Mohawk tribe originated in New York, according to a list of federally recognized tribes compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Nonetheless, the ­Marcola community long has identified with the Mohawk name.

Mohawk High is named after the Mohawk River, a tributary of the McKenzie River. The Mohawk River and the surrounding Mohawk Valley received their names in 1847 when ­settler Jacob Spores said the valley reminded him of the Mohawk River in his home state of New York, according to the Oregon Historical Society.

The new state rules make it complex for schools to win exemptions to keep their tribal mascots.

For example, the state education board’s rules for mascots with no obvious affiliation to an Oregon tribe are ­somewhat unclear.

The Jan. 21 rule summary states that a public school can enter into a written agreement with a Native American tribe that declares that the mascot “represents, is significant to or associated with the tribe” that the school is trying to enter an agreement with.

It also states that Oregon tribes cannot approve a mascot that’s from a tribe outside of Oregon.
So the real Mohawks have no connection to Marcola's "Mohawks." The law states that no Oregon tribe can approve a non-Oregon name such as "Mohawks." Then why is Chairman Leno even meeting with school representatives? He has no right to intervene, but he's trying to do it anyway. He's nakedly circumventing the law.

For the answer to "why," see the first line about sellouts and apples. Leno doesn't care about Oregon tribes or their cultures. He's trying appease non-Natives--to gain clout as a broker between whites and Natives. That furthers his ability to stay in office and profit from his tribe's gaming.

Profile of tribal corruption

Confirming Leno's dubious ethics and morality is the following posting:

Profile of Tribal Corruption: Reyn LenoHere are the facts we know about Reyn Leno and his corrupt leadership:

He advocates for racist Native American mascots that are proven to have negative impacts on children as stated by the American Psychology Association in their 2005 study.

He has a total of 10 reported ethics violations. From the official complaint, https://andyjenness.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/reyn-leno-ethics-complaint-10-09-2011.pdf: "Defendant failed to uphold his oath of office in several ways. First, he failed to declare conflicts of interest between his personal interest and the public interest on multiple occasions. Second, he entered into an unlawful business transaction with RV. Where he paid less than market rates for services rendered from RV, a company which he, at the time, served as the Chairman on the board of directors, effectively committing theft of services. Third, Defendant used his position, influence and power to conceal and cover-up his unethical behavior."

He’s disenrolling tribal members under secrecy using Abramoff’s playbook and then putting a gag order on said tribal members, using ‘sovereignty’ to justify stripping members of their First Amendment rights. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/jack-abramoff-the-lobbyists-playbook-30-05-2012/
For more on the subject, see "Teach Our History, Keep Native Mascots" and The Grand Ronde Indians Mascot.

February 20, 2016

"Teach our history, keep Native mascots"

A response to the ridiculous sound bite (above) from Grand Ronde chairman Leno:

'Teach our history, keep Native mascots,' Grand Ronde tribal chairman urges: Guest opinion

How about "Dump the false or misleading mascots and teach our real history" instead?

The idiot is looking at the users' intent, which presumably is not derogatory. He isn't looking at the effect, which is a different matter.

We don't care if these mascots seem noble and honorable to you. We care about the proven harm that results from racist stereotyping. Whether there's an intent to harm or not.

Leno's edumacation

"Teach Native history, which contradicts the Native mascots, but also keep the Native mascots." Brilliant plan to make Native history clear!

Like, "Teach myths about Columbus, the first Thanksgiving, and Washington chopping down a cherry tree. But also teach the truth."

You inspired me to implement your vision of American history, Chairman. Here you go! Teaching your history with Native mascots, just as you requested!

Rebuttal to Leno

There should be no compromise on Native American mascots (OPINION)

By Sam SachsI have spoken to and heard from literally hundreds of students, elders and members of the Native American community in our state who mirror what the research says and who support the elimination of these mascots. I've witnessed as a busload of Native American students from Portland traveled to Salem to testify in favor of eliminating the use of Native American mascots in Oregon schools. When these students witnessed the hate and vitriol spoken by those who claim to honor Native American people by continuing to use these mascots, they got back on the bus and went home, without speaking a word, too traumatized, disgusted and shocked by what they had witnessed.

Leno and many others want us to believe that the only way we can educate our students, our state and many people about Native American culture is to somehow have an agreement with the dominant culture that allows them to continue to demean, disgrace, belittle and disrespect Native American people through the harmful use of images and words that don't respectfully or accurately represent Native American people in the state of Oregon.

The nine tribes in Oregon don't represent every Native American person in the state of Oregon. Leno writes that "we have heard from Native Americans who belong to tribes outside of Oregon who believe all Indian mascots should be banned." This is misleading, especially since the two Native American students that raised this issue back in 2006 were Oregon students, not outsiders. The Oregon Board of Education and the state of Oregon have the legal obligation and responsibility to ensure that all students gain an education in their schools free of discrimination, whether intended or unintended. This is nonnegotiable even with the curriculum on Native American history and culture.

The Board of Education has failed in its responsibility to fulfill this promise and lawful requirement to the Native American students even though the research and countless human rights and civil rights organizations in the state and throughout the country support the elimination of these mascots.
Good job, Sam Sachs.

Leno is full of it when he talks about out-of-staters. Get a clue, clueless. No Oregon mascot that I know of represents a particular Oregon tribe. Every Oregon mascot represents a Plains chief or warrior, an Eastern Woodland (Iroquois) warrior, or a generic Indian.

As an Oregon Native, you're less qualified to judge these outside cultures, not more qualified. Someone from a Plains or Eastern Woodland culture is exactly whom you should be listening to. If you were more educated about other cultures, maybe you wouldn't say such ignorant things about stereotypes representing your culture.

For more on the subject, see The Grand Ronde Indians Mascot and Grand Ronde: We'll Decide About Mascots.

February 16, 2016

Evil spirits in The Darkness

Real Life Native American Demons Wreak Havoc In 'The Darkness'

By Jancy RichardsonYou guys. I'm super stoked to share this exclusive footage from Blumhouse Tilt's newest venture The Darkness with you. The horror powerhouse that brought The Purge, Insidious, The Conjuring, and Sinister into our lives is teaming up with Wolf Creek director Greg McLean to create The Darkness, a dark horror tale about an autistic kid unleashing something that should have been left in Native American history....

Check out the trailer for The Darkness (if you can handle tension)!

Comment:  I think we have a winner for the millionth movie to feature evil Indian spirits that come back to life. With an image of what looks like a Hopi snake dancer, something completely different that has nothing to do with evil spirits.

"They curse you"

More images suggest how the movie stereotypes Native culture and history as dark and accursed. A computer screen:

A girl with Native-style handprints:

And the Indians' evil spelled out:

I'm not sure anyone knows more about The Darkness than what's in the trailer. So we can't tell how stereotypical the movie is. But I'll stick with my rule of thumb: the stereotyping is always worse than what you see or hear initially.

For more on the subject, see The Best Indian Movies.

February 15, 2016

Beverly Hillbillies: Indians were first

Season 1, Episode 26 of The Beverly Hillbillies was titled Jed Cuts the Family Tree. It aired March 20, 1963. Here's a key exchange occurs between Cousin Pearl and Jed Clampett:PEARL: Well, Jed, now that we's high society, I can't be seen riding around in that old truck.

JED: Since when is we high society?

PEARL: Since that historical lady found out that your ancestors come to this country 'fore the Mayflower.

JED: What's that got to do with me?

PEARL: That's the way society works, Jed. The earlier your kinfolk got here, higher up that puts you.

JED: Well, then I reckon the high society folks is the Indians.

PEARL: No, it don't work that way.

JED: How come?

PEARL: I don't know how come.

JED: Well, they was here before anybody else.

PEARL: Now, Jed, let's not try to change the rules. Let's just start enjoying the game.
You can see a video clip of it here:

Jed Cuts the Family Tree

In his book Tribal Television: Viewing Native People in Sitcoms, Dustin Tahmahkera says this exchange "may be the first time in sitcom history...to recognize pre-settler American history." He adds that Jed recognizes a "contemporary Indian presence" by saying "is the Indians" rather than "was."

For more on the subject, see TV Shows Featuring Indians.

February 13, 2016

Koshare Dancers cancel Winter Dances

Boy Scout Koshare Dancers Need to Stop Stealing From Natives

By Tara HouskaIt’s an honor. Respect. Appreciation. Tradition. You just don’t understand. So go the familiar excuses made for appropriating culture to the objecting group.

The Boy Scouts are a prime ongoing example of this phenomenon, but perhaps reevaluation will lead to change. In mid-December, the “Koshare Dancers,” a so-called interpretive dance group from Boy Scout Troop 232, located in La Junta, Colorado, cancelled their Winter Dances at the request of the Hopi Nation Cultural Preservation Office. Whether this is permanent remains to be seen.

Since the 1930s, the Koshare Dancers of Boy Scout Troup 232 have been performing their version of Hopi, Lakota, Kiowa, Ojibwe, Blackfoot, Diné and Comanche religious ceremonies. Originally begun by James “Buck” Burshears as the “Boy Scout Indian Club,” mimicking Native American cultures became a core theme of Troup 232.

New members are called “Papooses,” and work toward the rank of “Koshare Brave,” which requires that troops learn five Koshare dances and create their version of traditional regalia. “Clan Chief” follows, upon reaching the rank of Eagle Scout.
Comment:  A few Facebook reactions to this photo:

What the heck????

They look like goddamn idiots.


The lack of self awareness is staggering. The emperor wears racist clothing.
I can't say if any of the outfits are inaccurate. At least there's no stereotypical Plains chief.

But I'm pretty sure the two "Koshare clowns" in stripes don't go with the other dancers. And all the dancers are divorced from their spiritual and symbolic meanings.

For instance, the koshares don't dance to entertain people. Rather, their purpose is this:

Pueblo clownsThe clowns perform during the spring and summer fertility rites. Among the Hopi there are five figures who serve as clowns: the "Payakyamu"; the "Koshare" (or "Koyaala" or "Hano Clown"); the "Tsuku"; the "Tatsiqto" (or "Koyemsi" or "Mudhead"); and the "Kwikwilyak." With the exception of the Koshare, each is a kachinam (personification of a spirit). It is believed that when a member of a kiva dons the mask of a kachinam, he abandons his personality and becomes possessed by that spirit.

Anthropologists, most notably Adolf Bandelier in his 1890 book, The Delight Makers, and Elsie Clews Parsons in her Pueblo Indian Religion, have extensively studied the meaning of the Pueblo Clowns and clown society in general. Bandelier notes that the Tsuku were somewhat feared by the Hopi as the source of public criticism and censure of non-Hopi like behavior. Their function can help defuse community tensions by providing their own humorous interpretation of the tribe's popular culture, by re-enforcing taboo, and by communicating traditions.
Turning a religious figure into an entertainment figure is problematical, especially for a small and misunderstood group. Secularizing a sacred event is one step in diluting a cultural practice to the point of extinction.

For more on the subject, see Hopis Protest Koshare Dancers and Boy Scout "Indian Dance Teams."

February 12, 2016

Tulare Redskins "keep memory alive"?!

With California banning the "Redskins" nickname in schools, mascot lovers are crying all over the state. Here's a prime example:

Departure from 'Redskins' stirs up 100 years of emotions

By Luis Hernandez and Calley Cedelof“We’ve been fighting this ‘Redskin’ deal for years,” he said. “It has been a nationwide battle.”

The California law reflects the “Not Your Mascot” movement, which calls for banning all Native American names for schools and professional teams.

Celaya said he is displeased with the way in which rival schools have treated the mascot. He said he still remembers chants from opposing teams at games when he attended the school.

“Teams chant ‘burn the Redskin,’ ‘kill the Redskin’. It is uncomfortable to be a Native American sitting in the crowd and hearing that,” he added.
Comment:  Then there's this:A member of the California Indian Basketweavers Association, Malone said she doesn’t mind professional sports franchises and public schools use of Native American names.

“To me, it helps keep the memory alive,” she said. “If they don’t mention the names, they are going to forget them.”
I'll never understand idiocy like this--especially from an Indian.

This led to a brief discussion on Facebook:Uncle Tom assimilated idiot.Something like that. Why does a living Indian need a mascot to keep the memory alive? She is the keeper of the memory--her, her family, and her tribe. And everyone like her. Not some cardboard cutout from a comic book.

It would be like my saying, "We need to memorialize the town of Schmidt in Germany. Otherwise, people will forget Rob Schmidt ever existed."

Hello? I'm creating my own legacy by writing, posting, and so forth. I don't need someone else in a far-off place to do it for me.

The whole idea is ridiculous.

Rob's rant takes off

What, you think Redskins, Warriors, Braves, and Chiefs are your names? Instead of the actual words you use for yourself, perhaps in your own language? The only choice for naming yourself is the white man's stereotypical labels?

Indians are part of literally millions of place names, history books, monuments, museums, movies, TV shows, comic books, paintings, coins, stamps, etc. Not to mention millions of businesses and products with Indian names and logos. Jeep Cherokees, Indian Motorcycles, Apache helicopters, Tomahawk missiles, and on and on.

And those are just the references. We also have 567 federally recognized tribes with their own cultures, ceremonies, powwows, casinos, etc. And many more of all these things in Canada and Central and South America. Throughout the Americas, the Native population is growing; Natives are reinvigorating their cultures, gaining political power, and so forth.

But somehow Native people are teetering on the edge of extinction--of being wiped permanently from our collective memory? And saving them is up to the Tulare Redskins, represented by a stereotypical Plains chief in central California? Either we save the racist mascot or the race dies forever?

Asinine. Stupid beyond belief. It's like a kindergartner's understanding of reality. "If I close my eyes and can't see the mascot anymore, all the Indians will vanish from reality."

Elders cling to mascots?I've heard similar things around mascots in the Wisconsin Dells, and what it boils down to is that for a lot of the older generation, the mascot was the only public representation of Natives out there. I think there's a fear that once the mascot goes, there will be nothing, and for many folks, "the Indian" or whatever mascot was the one place where you could express actual Native pride--the one time the school/district/town acknowledged there were actual Indians. I think it's vital to show folks that the mascot is being replaced by better representation--a gain, not a loss.

(Yes, clearly a *huge* part of this is a lack of conscious awareness of the psychological consequences of mascots, but I do think that's where it comes from. It's part of the undervaluing of Native self-image that mascots produce.)
I'm sure that's a big part of it. But it's silly. Worse, it's ignorant--and horribly so. It's buying into the white man's assertion that Indians are dead and gone, or nearly so. All we can do is remember them as we kill off the last ones, sell their land, and take their resources.

Get a clue, lady. Read Indian Country Today, Indianz.com, and Pechanga.net with their hundreds of Native stories every day. Join Facebook and Twitter and see thousands of Native activists working to preserve and share their cultures and worldviews. Join #IdleNoMore, #MMIW, #NoKXL, #NotYourMascot, or any other movement so powerful it's known by a hashtag.

The Tulare Redskins aren't your legacy. The entire hemisphere of Native history and culture beyond the Tulare Redskins are your legacy. Embrace your real legacy, not the white man's fiction of a legacy.

For more on the subject, see Tulare Union's Stereotypical Redskins Mascot.

February 09, 2016

White Woman Walks Ahead

White woman walks ahead: Jessica Chastain starring in a film about Sitting Bull is everything that’s wrong with prestige films

"Woman Walks Ahead" is the latest installation in Hollywood's pathological obsession with white-savior films

By Paula Young Lee
According to the report, Chastain will portray Caroline Weldon, a “19th-century Brooklyn artist and activist who moved to the Standing Rock Reservation in Dakota Territory to help Sioux chieftain Sitting Bull fight to keep the land for his people.”

The basic problem is that “Woman Walks Ahead” is already being conceived and presented as a white-savior film, precisely because the narrative is being framed through Weldon’s white feminist, righteous position of ally-ship with a dispossessed and marginalized people. The tragedy of history becomes a narrative shield that continues to legitimize the hideous fate of Lakota Sioux precisely because the story is mined for its tragedy … and that’s it. Must stories about Natives always take place in some mythologized past stocked with pintos and muskets? Is it so difficult to grasp that a fairy tale wrapped in museologically accurate buffalo robes is still a fairy tale? Frankly, the setup would be a lot more interesting if the film unfolded from the perspective of a young Lakota girl born and raised in the Standing Rock reservation, with a story line exploring her bafflement and anger at this random white lady who shows up to play interlocutor and scribe, while being utterly clueless about how to make poultices out of wild plants or anything that has to do with functioning as a whole person.

What would it take to get the film written in this way? A female team of Sioux screenwriters, to start. But the bigger obstacle is Hollywood’s near pathological obsession with white-savior narratives, which become synonymous with the “prestige” film. “In the last quarter-century,” David Sirota wrote in 2013 for Salon, “10 White Savior films have received major Hollywood award nominations, with fully half of those coming in just the last five years.” No surprise, then, that since 2010, only two actors of color have garnered Oscars for acting, both times in “supporting” roles that position them as subservient to white authority: Octavia Spencer in 2012, playing a maid in “The Help,” and Lupita Nyong’o in 2013, as a slave in “12 Years a Slave.” In other words, as Kara Brown writes for Jezebel, “Hollywood has a problem with only paying attention to non-white people when they’re playing a stereotype.”

Small victories do not fundamentally alter the structural racism of the industry. “The reality is that if no scripts or films are made that include roles for Native people, roles that call for extraordinary acting chops,” wrote Sonny Skyhawk, “then we are excluded from the opportunity to participate in the yearly considerations for Golden Globe Awards, SAG Awards, and Oscars.” It’s not a chicken-and-egg problem so much as an exclusionary system pretending to reward merit. As long as Oscar-bait films privilege white-savior narratives, actors of color will find it difficult if not impossible to get nominated for awards—especially best actor or actress—inside a system designed to prevent this.
Comment:  Also known as Stands With a Fist: The True Story. Juliette Lewis wanted the role because she looks good in a headdress.


I discussed this project with a few Facebook friends:[Sitting Bull] had an Irish confidant?Her name was Caroline Weldon and she was his "white squaw." Her story was more important than Sitting Bull's and needs to be told.WTFChastain is young and pretty, so it makes sense to make a Native movie starring her.[Godzilla facepalm]They were going to call it Sitting Bull Walks Behind. But they decided to focus on the star.I remember Steve Judd and I were meeting with people who wanted to do this story. Obviously, it never happened. Acctually I think the producers ripped off some Indians. But I wanted to do the story (SPOILERS) because I thought it was the anti-white saviour story. I thought the woman had savior syndrome and wanted to be the great white hope for the Lakota and ended up losing her son, and may have been one of the reasons for instigating Sitting Bull's death and the massacre of Wounded Knee. After that, she left the rez and never dealt with Indians again. There was also inference that she messed around with Sitting Bull. So, it would be a tragedy. I wonder if this movie would be more hopeful.I don't think they can make the history surrounding Sitting Bull and Wounded Knee more hopeful. They can make Weldon's life more hopeful as a fighter for justice.

I hope you pitched it as the dramatic story of a white woman who refused to give up. Because that was the way to get this movie made!

Savior or anti-savior?

I'm being somewhat sarcastic, since I don't know the actual story. It could well be an anti-white-savior tragedy. It could feature as-yet-unnamed Native actors in career-making roles. It could champion a Native writer and a Native director--oh, wait, those ships have already sailed.

I guess Weldon could give up and go home after Sitting Bull dies. But somehow I imagine her pounding doors or tables, refusing to give up, demanding justice. Only after the Great White Father shuts her out will she admit defeat. But not really, because she'll be defiant to the end in her heart!

Caroline WeldonCaroline Weldon was a 19th-century artist and activist with the National Indian Defense Association. Weldon became confidante and private secretary to Sitting Bull during the time when Plains Indians had adopted the Ghost Dance movement.I don't see anything more dramatic than writing letters in her bio. Maybe the movie will surprise us and not have a dramatic scene of her storming the halls of Congress or the Indian agent's office and demanding justice.

No doubt they'll play up the relationship as a torrid love affair. Something like this:

The movie's previous title was Savage Desire aka Sitting Bull Walks Behind aka Sitting Bull's White Squaw. Not Me Sexy. Because that would be silly.

Why stop with Chastain?

But maybe I'm giving them too much credit. What about a rugged white star to play Sitting Bull? You know, the way Joseph Fiennes is playing Michael Jackson.

Perhaps someone like Jeff Bridges or Kurt Russell. You know, someone who has an affinity for old Westerns. And can put a few butts in the seats.

White people want to see white stars! It's a law!The lady is a little known historical figure and very little information about her, so you have a lot of freedom with how to depict her. but, as you said, there's no mention of the rest of the cast. There are also very few well-known (by western standards) American Indian actors/actresses. so a publication of Hollywood Reporter will not care, they just care about the star of the moment, not some little known actor who may have been in a few movies and TV shows. I doubt they would even throw Gil Birmingham or Wes Studi a shout out even though they've been in in award winning and some of the most successful films.Heaven forbid we should lower Jessica Chastain (39 roles according to IMDB) to the level of a Gil Birmingham (51 roles) or Wes Studi (92 roles). I mean, she starred in Zero Dark Thirty, which was way bigger than Twilight or Avatar.

Obviously, the lack of mentions is my point. Even in a movie that's ostensibly about Natives, the announcement is all about the white people doing the project.

For more on the subject, see The Best Indian Movies.

February 05, 2016

Alaska Airlines' "Meet Our Eskimo" campaign

Alaska Airlines apologizes, removes ‘Meet our Eskimo’ phrase from website

By Annie ZakAfter an outcry from members of the Alaska Native community, Alaska Airlines has removed the line “Meet our Eskimo” and replaced it with “Meet the Eskimo” on its website, alongside the airline’s updated branding it unveiled earlier this week.

The phrase referenced a slight redesign of the iconic image on the tail of Alaska Airlines' aircraft, an Alaska Native's visage long referred to as the Eskimo.

“When Alaska Airlines unveiled our refreshed brand earlier this week, a reference we used, ‘Meet our Eskimo,’ offended many in the Alaska Native community, and likely others,” said Alaska Air Group CEO Brad Tilden in a statement. “We apologize and take full responsibility for this insensitive reference.”

The company replaced "our" with "the" early Thursday morning, but the line had already touched off a discussion among Alaska Natives and others about its appropriateness and the general use of an unnamed Alaska Native as the Alaska Airlines logo.
Alaska Native’s discuss what ‘Eskimo’ means to them

By Charles EnochAfter Alaska Airlines unveiled a new look for their airplanes and website many Alaska Natives took offense to a phrase they with their new marketing campaign. The phrase that sparked a controversy and a new round of conversations about what the word “Eskimo” means to Alaska Natives.

Alaska Airlines unveiled their new airplane and website designs late last month. Both prominently feature the familiar face of a smiling Alaska Native elder. The website also included the phrase “Meet our Eskimo” which was quickly changed to “Meet the Eskimo” But does the change go far enough?

“I would rather be called ‘Inupiaq’ because that’s what I am and my children are Yup’ik,” Blossom Twitchell, from Kotzebue, said. “I want them to be able to connect to their culture and people won’t group us in as little people that live in igloo’s and give little Eskimo kisses all the time, we are so much more than that.”

“We have culture and traditions that have been passed down for generations and I don’t believe the word Eskimo does our heritage justice.”
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Improving the Alaska Airlines Logo and The Alaska Airlines Eskimo.

February 03, 2016

The Grand Ronde Indians mascot

In response to the Grand Ronde chairman's defense of Indian mascots, I posted the following:

Our school has decided to call ourselves the Grand Ronde Indians. Below is our new mascot: a brave and noble warrior.

If you think it's a racist stereotype, don't worry. It's an honor...trust me!

Tribal member objects

Some people didn't get or like my little spoof. One in particular:Mr. Schmidt,

I am an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde. Please consider the fact that the general council of the Tribe did not get a chance to have a say in how the Tribal Council represents us in the mascot debate. I am offended that you have decided to represent me this way. I would hope you would educate yourself and represent yourself better than this. Please consider there are many sides to this issue, even within a single tribe.

Thank you.
You didn't have a chance? What's stopping the council from passing a resolution now? Or holding a press conference? Or writing an editorial the way Chairman Leno did? And saying they disagree with him or whoever's responsible?

Until they make their disagreement plain, it's not my duty to do more research. It's theirs to publicize their disagreement. If it's in the news, I'll see it and share it.

I'm offended that your chairman is continuing to stereotype 5.2 million Natives. How about we do something about him, since he is the problem? Such as one of the responses I suggested. Rather than criticizing me for criticizing him?I understand you criticizing him, but that's not what you did. You criticized and grouped all members as having the same view. You used the same image to characterize those who support your work. You don't feel you need to educate yourself when making yourself a leader of a movement? That is concerning to me. I told you what you posted was offensive to me and you don't think you should apologize for that. As tribal members we are not only concerned about the mascot issue but several issues within our tribe. Unfortunately, it is not at the top of the issues we are working on. We would love to conquer it all on your time table but that is a luxury we do not have. It does not mean that we are not working on it. If you are going to continue with your poor behavior, I feel I cannot support EONM.I was spoofing Leno's belief that Indian mascots are noble warriors. Saying Leno is a jerk or whatever doesn't tell us anything about his belief. To mock his belief, I have to generalize about Indians the way he did.

I think my intent was clear, but now I've stated it explicitly: I was mocking Leno's position, not the tribe as a whole.

"You criticized and grouped all members as having the same view." Incorrect. I didn't say anything about the views of other Grand Ronde Indians in this posting. This is my view of Leno's view of Indians and nothing else.

So it's not a priority to you that Native kids around the nation are suffering because of mascots? Well, it's a priority to anti-mascot activists. We're not narrowly focused on our own interests; we're focused on all of Indian country.

How long would it take you to write a brief statement denouncing Leno...a minute? Why don't you do it so we can see your concern about this issue?

Chairman speaks for tribe

My critic wanted me to educate myself, so I did. From May 2013:

'Teach our history, keep Native mascots,' Grand Ronde tribal chairman urges: Guest opinion

By Reyn LenoThe issue of Oregon public schools using tribal mascots continues to surface in the Oregon Legislature thanks to the inattentiveness of the state Board of Education to Oregon's nine federally recognized tribes. The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde wants to set the record straight on the subject.

High school mascots are supposed to be inspirational. High schools do not adopt derogatory figures or slogans; they adopt admirable and inspirational figures. The banned names of tribal mascots--Indians, Braves, Warriors and Chiefs--are inspirational Native images, and the Grand Ronde tribe does not view their use as derogatory.
The Grand Ronde tribe...not him personally. If he doesn't speak for the tribe, you can set the record straight here and now. Give us a statement that he's wrong and we'll publicize it for you.

Another critic joined in:Come on. Why joke about this offense? I'm not getting something. Why not post an alternative to the insult?I've posted about a thousand alternatives to this "insult" in this and other forums. The question is why not use this tactic once in a while to stir things up.

How exactly is this different from the numerous comments calling the Grand Ronde tribe "sellouts," "greedy," "corrupt," etc.? I must've missed all the criticism of those attacks and insults.

Are direct attacks and insults okay but not indirect ones? What can we say or not say in pursuit of social justice? Spell it out for us, please.

Leno the apple

A few people took my side against Leno:Wtf!! This is totally disgusting. Leno needs to be stripped of all power. F'ing apple!!

[You] hit the nail on the head. (APPLE) why do we put up with them ? No tribes I know of have a value system that says being greedy and selfish is what were about. My own tribe got rid of a chief who was as red an Apple as you can get and unfortunately George Tiger still has followers in place. If Mr Leno and Tiger want to act white turn in your CDIB and citizenship card's we won't miss you.
There you go. See, that wasn't hard.

Of course, a tribal member could suffer retribution from a powerful chairman, but there are ways to speak anonymously. As far as I'm concerned, silence isn't an option.

February 02, 2016

Grand Ronde: We'll decide about mascots

People were wondering why the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde seems to be involved in every mascot decision in Oregon. Here's an answer from Grand Ronde's chairman: They know best about mascots because they're Indians!

Reasonable resolution to tribal-mascot debate (OPINION)

By Reyn LenoI am Reyn Leno, and I'm proud to be an Indian who fought for this country as a warrior in Vietnam. I am tribal council chairman for the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, following in the footsteps of the chiefs that came before me and signed treaties with the United States.

Our people are proud to be known as Indians, Braves, Warriors and Chiefs. The Oregon State Board of Education recently made the right decision to approve a rule that reinforces the Legislature's bill allowing for federally recognized tribes and neighboring school districts to enter into agreements on culturally acceptable and respectable mascot imagery.
And:When the board of education passed an outright ban on Indian mascots we were amazed to find ourselves once again being told what was best for us. More astonishing was the Board of Education saying they knew better than federally recognized tribal governments as to what is and is not culturally appropriate.

We asked, why would the Board of Education not trust tribal governments to do the right thing in determining what is culturally appropriate with respect to a mascot? Why would the Board of Education not have faith in a federally recognized sovereign Indian tribe to make these decisions?
Comment:  To be clear, Leno is talking about an Oregon tribe's approving Plains, Eastern Woodland (Iroquois), and generic Indian imagery. Not imagery from Oregon's tribes.

Federal recognition doesn't give Grand Ronde any insight into non-Oregon cultures. Leno and company don't know any more about these cultures than I do.

Reasoning with Grand Ronde

In response to Leno, anti-mascot activist Jacqueline Keeler wrote:I've seen plenty of Grand Ronde tribal members agreeing with us on this issue! It's just the council.

I've spoken to the Grand Ronde tribal reps at these meetings here in Oregon very clearly and in plain language why they do not have the right to okay the mascotting of my culture (which is not their culture). Really, this playing dumb act on their part can only be calculated and for some other purpose.
I suggested someone write a response to Leno's op/ed--to nip this "approval" process in the bud before it becomes the norm. If school and pro teams learn they can shop for a tribe's approval, they'll do it. Dab Snyder is already trying it with his Redskins OAF and others will follow.

Someone else suggested we continue trying to reason with Grand Ronde. To which I responded:

I'm sure Grand Ronde has heard all the arguments from Jacqueline and others. They've chosen to ignore the arguments.

That's why I doubt more attempts to reason with them will work. I'd go for shaming them with widespread public criticism instead.

Shame 'em

They're acting as if they're noble Indian chiefs who are only thinking of their people's welfare. Calling them out for their greed and corruption will shake their phony arguments.

It's like the Whitesboro case. Get people around the nation talking about this. Hope to attract big guns like The Daily Show or Stephen Colbert. Once the public becomes aware of this ridiculous situation--Oregon tribe approves Plains stereotypes--things may change.

Especially since the "tribe approves of mascots" meme is damaging across the country. Naysayers always bring up the Seminoles' approval of FSU. This will be another pro-mascot argument for their side.

February 01, 2016

Malheur occupation shows toxic masculinity

As CNN reported on January 27:The weeks-long armed occupation of a federal wildlife refuge headquarters in Oregon suffered two major blows when protest leader Ammon Bundy was arrested and another key figure was killed.What's interesting is what this affair tells us about white male attitudes in America:

What The Malheur Occupation Teaches Us About Masculinity

By Susan M. ShawTo feel powerless is to fail at masculinity. To be regulated, constrained, fined and jailed is to face challenges to masculinity. And often when men don't feel like "real men," they have to dominate something or someone to reassert their masculinity. In other words, "real men" are not dominated; they dominate. And so, to re-establish their masculinity, these men took up weapons, threatened federal agents, and destroyed federal property. Apparently, running around with guns and keeping the feds at bay made them feel tough; they felt like real men.

Of course, their sense of masculinity was also propped up by their intersecting white privilege and its attendant sense of entitlement. As white men they expect that ownership, power and success are their birthright. They expect to be heard. They believe that they have the right to demand what they want, even if it is over the law and over the wishes of the people of the region.

They demanded that federal lands be returned to "the people." But by "the people" they meant themselves and other white people like them. They certainly didn't mean the Burns Paiute whose land the refuge originally was and who asked them to leave. They didn't mean the people who live in Burns; they also asked the occupiers to leave. They didn't even mean the vast diverse majority of Americans who are free to enjoy the opportunities afforded by the refuge. Somehow, all of these other Americans are not "the people."

These occupiers also counted on their white privilege to protect them from federal assault. After all, we've witnessed the willingness of law enforcement to break up, often by force, the protests of Black and Native peoples. Yet, day after day passed, and the water and electricity stayed on, supplies still came in, and the occupiers continued to destroy the refuge and threaten Burns Paiute artifacts while the federal government tried to wait them out, despite pleas from the Oregon Governor and local officials to end the occupation.
Comment:  For more on Cliven Bundy, see Bundys Hold Paiute Artifacts Hostage and Bundy: Paiutes Lost Their Claim.