Thursday, October 24, 2013

Protest against the Washington "...skins" this Sunday in Denver at 10 AM



The American Indian Movement of Colorado and Idle No More have called for a demonstration against the Washington "...skins" and their owner Daniel Snyder for the game this Sunday in Denver. This will be the first of many demonstrations against the "...skins." Here is a letter from Glenn Morris about the demonstration and a leaflet for it. Please come, After these, I explore an Onion column which addresses Snyder with every slur against Jews the writer can come up with as a way of highlighting the noxiousness of these terms (Blackhawks, Braves, Indians, Pioneers, Seminoles, Fighting Sioux, take note). For as in the case of Jews - that the words were linked to pogroms and genocide - so in the case of indigenous people...

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"Please see attached flyer announcing that the American Indian Movement (AIM) of Colorado and Idle No More (INM) - Denver, will host a protest of the racist Washington "R-skins" when the team arrives at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver on Sunday, October 27, 2013. The protest will begin at 10 am on Sunday, at Sports Authority Field. Parking around the stadium is very dangerous, as cars are towed on game day immediately. Consequently, people are encourage to park at the Auraria campus, where parking is free on Sundays. People will begin assembling in front of the Tivoli Student Center at 9 am, and will walk together to Mile High Stadium down Walnut Street at 9:30.

This protest is the latest chapter in a thirty-year struggle to bring attention to ongoing racism in popular culture against American Indians. The Washington football team mascot issue has gained new, recent attention through comments by such luminaries as President Obama, sportscaster Bob Costas, and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. The Denver protest marks the commencement of a strategy to expose and confront the Washington team's racism in every city where it plays this season. Colorado AIM/INM-Denver, specifically call on the players, especially African-American players like RG III, to pressure Washington owner Dan Snyder to change the name, logo and the mascot of the team.

In addition to the protest, Colorado AIM/INM calls on all Colorado media to refrain from using the term "Redskin" when referring to the football team from Washington, D.C.,just as the media would refrain from using the terms "Nigger, "Spic," "Kike" or "Gook" to refer to other ethnic, religious or racial groups. Indigenous peoples are entitled to the same dignity and respect as any other racial or national group, and we insist on no less.To expose the absurd position of Snyder, the most recent issue of the satirical magazine, "The Onion" has lampooned the stance of the Washington, D.C. team: http://www.theonion.com/articles/redskins-kike-owner-refuses-to-change-teams-offens,34292/"

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"RALLY AGAINST THE RACIST R-SKINS

PROTEST THE WASHINGTON “R-SKINS” WHEN THEY PLAY THE DENVER BRONCOS
WHEN: Sunday, October 27, 2013, 10 am, (park for free on the Auraria Campus, meet in front of the Tivoli Student Center, 9th Ave at Auraria Pkwy, Denver, beginning at 9 am, & walk together to the stadium down Walnut Street, at 9:30 am).

WHERE: Southeast Corner of Sports Authority Mile High Stadium (near Colfax and Mile High Stadium Cir., Lot A – map reverse)

WHY: The Washington DC football team has been requested by Native people since at least 1968 to change its racist logo and mascot. According to a report by the National Congress of American Indians, the term Redskins “originates from a time when Native people were actively hunted and killed for bounties, and their skins used as proof of Indian kill. By the turn of the 20th century it had evolved to become a term meant to disparage and denote inferiority and savagery in American culture*** The term Redskin has never been one of honor or respect, but instead, it has always been and continues to be a pejorative, derogatory, denigrating, offensive, scandalous, contemptuous, disreputable, disparaging and racist designation for Native Americans.” Ending the Legacy of Racism in Sports & the Era of Harmful “Indian” Sports Mascots, http://www.ncai.org/resources/ncaipublications/Ending_"

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Achieving what Bertolt Brecht called an "alienation effect," The Onion grimly applies to Snyder what he applies to Native Americans. Since among Americans, there is currently not an amnesia about the millions of Jews who were murdered by the Nazis, the words are deeply disturbing. The stereotypes about indigenous people should be equally so...

There is also some forgetfulness today about the millions of slavs (20 million in Russia for example, or the 200,000 blue eyed blond Polish children – given skull measurements by anthropometists or phrenologists – they had worked before on the 20,000 skulls, cut off from native American bodies and sent to the Smithsonian and other institutions of pseudoscience - and IQ tests by psychologists, see here – who were kidnapped and resettled in Germany during World War II to replenish “the master race" whose soldiers were dying in its aggressions...

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The standard objection, and one that should be sufficient, to names like the ‘skins, or "Chief Wahoo" of the Cleveland “Indians” (h/t Steve Fisher) or the Atlantic "Braves" (or the Fighting "Sioux" or the "Pioneers" or the "Seminoles" among college teams) is that they are offensive. But this misses, as the flyer above suggests, the deeper horror.

There are no Arapahoes in Denver on Arapaho Road. There are no Arapahoes in Arapaho County, Colorado. There are no native Americans on the Washington "...skins" and there have long been no tribes around Washington, no “braves” in Atlanta, no “Indians” in Cleveland…Now there are some individuals in many places from the tribes that were slaughtered and cordoned off on “reservations”/concentration camps and many still live on reservations (often, the poorest communities in the country). But the founding amnesia - the survivor of the blatant racism of the "exterminators" who founded Denver and other major cities - is important to illusions about the "peacefulness" of the American government.

For this was no peaceful process, but one of aggression by white settlers backed by a government with big guns (the government would take indigenous leaders to Washington to show the innumerable troops and people and shoot off big guns - it was a ritual of the supposedly intelligent "great White Father" and all the "little fathers" like John Evans - see here, here, and here. The government stole the land from the people (the treaties were written in a language which the indigenous people could not read - there was no equality between the contractors - and the US government kept its word, in treaties, about nothing...) who lived there and cleared them out by murder or forced those left into concentration camps.

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This was ethnic cleansing/genocide (I mean by the definition of the UN Convention against Genocide, the destruction of a people “in whole or in part,” and much of the detail including as a late phase, kidnapping remaining children from the tribes and raising them "to be white" in Catholic/Protestant orphanages where they grew crops for the surrounding towns while themselves being malnourished; roughly half died of tuberculosis by the age of 15...

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The preferred method of attack initiated by General Patrick Connor in the Bear Creek Massacre of Shoshone in January, 1863 in what is now Utah was to discover winter encampments, launch a surprise attack and kill anything that moved (women and children were, by the numbers, the majority targets of these “soldiers.” Every one of these attacks was a war crime against civilians, and deliberately so (only the story of Hitler on the Eastern Front matches it for ferocity...)

Sand Creek was distinct as a horror – and uniquely condemned by the Federal Government - because the Cheyenne and Arapahoe leaders had made the most intense and determined effort to make peace and believed themselves – with Black Kettle having hung an American flag over his tent – to be at peace…

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As the fine historian Elliot West has emphasized, the ethnic cleansing on the East Coast was a gradual process taking roughly 250 years (1600-1850). In the West, the plains Indians were very adaptable, resourceful fighters whom the American army could not destroy – it lost many battles to them despite its superior weaponry – except during the winters when they had to camp. The army then sought them out, killed them, burned the food supplies and drove the survivors off into the freezing cold. The result – a “war” of only 25 years, was a comparative blitzkrieg

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So the issue is offensive names and words coupled with mass murder. Daniel Snyder and many others suffer from “Founding Amnesia.” America names the country for Indians from Massachusetts and Connecticut and Mississippi to Arapaho Country, its missiles Tomahawks, its helicopters Apaches, but the appropriated names are those of people against whom these same authorities committed ethnic cleansing.

Where the names are potentially decent, memorials to those killed would be an improvement.

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Acknowledging - remembering - these crimes would be a small start in creating a serious democratic regime - one not based on the privileging of a racially/militarily preponderant group, let alone an oligarchy of the .001% - in America.

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That is why these names must be changed…

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The Onion
"Redskins’ Kike Owner Refuses To Change Team’s Offensive Name
SPORTS NEWS IN BRIEF • Sports • Unsponsored • Issue 49•43 • Oct 21, 2013

WASHINGTON—Denying widespread claims that the franchise is being offensive or disrespectful, the Washington Redskins’ kike owner announced Monday that he remains steadfast in his refusal to change the team’s derogatory name. 'The Redskins represent 81 years of great history and tradition, and it’s a source of pride for our fans,' said the hook-nosed kike, stressing that the team’s insulting moniker is 'absolutely not a racial slur by any means.' "‘Washington Redskins’ is much more than just a name. It stands for strength, courage, and respect—the very values that are so intrinsic to Native American culture.” The shifty-eyed hebe went on to assure fans that he will do 'everything in his power' to preserve the team’s proud heritage."

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