Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Sorry for the interruption folks, we now return you to the Arts.

Idaho is mounting a serious challenge to South Dakota for the title of backwards assed bastion of the North. In 2008 the legislature will be moving to an abandoned courthouse while the Statehouse undergoes renovation. This is not bad in and of itself, but in the 1940's the courthouse was painted with murals depicting the lynching of an Indian man, as part of the Works Progress Administration Artists Project. Really.

Aryan Nationalists...um, I mean "historic preservationists" are fighting to save the murals, stating that even removing them to another location would "detract from their historical significance." I'm all for remembering history, but it certainly doesn't take an offensive mural depicting the lynching of an Indian man to remind us of atrocities directed against Indians, we can look around and see plenty of it. It's not relegated to history (see the previous two posts). Story here.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Don't get scalped on the way to your car.

No, really. Oral arguments were heard by the Supreme Court of New Mexico regarding questions of jurisdiction over personal injury claims arising at tribally owned casinos. During arguments Merit Bennett, an attorney for one of the non-Indian plaintiffs, presented a hypothetical situation where a non-Indian ventures onto tribal land and "an Indian scalps them." I am not making this up. Full story here.

After the hearing, the upstanding Mr. Bennett claimed it was a slip of the tongue and that he really meant to say "assault." Yeah, because "assault" and "scalp" are so phonetically similar, it's a common mistake. Hopefully at the minimum he'll be censured by the State Bar, but I'm not holding my breath. If you'd like to write a warm, fuzzy email please send it to consult@merritbennett.com.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Conservative nutjobs are lobotomizing themselves

Go read this editorial. No, really.

Okay, you're probably too lazy to click the link and read it, but the title is "Sioux tribe plans to scalp its own" and refers to the plans by the President of the Oglala tribe to establish a Planned Parenthood clinic on the Pine Ridge rez, in defiance of South Dakota's new abortion law.

The author, some white woman named Jill Stanek*, points to a number of social problems on Pine Ridge that she claims will be aggravated by the abortion explosion that will inevitably follow the opening of the clinic.

She writes: "Stupid is knowing that adolescent suicide on the Oglala reservation is four times the national average and then making abortion more accessible to them..."

"Stupid is knowing that the alcohol death rate among Native Americans is over seven times the rate for all other Americans..."

"Stupid is knowing that the violent crime rate among Native Americans is 2.5 times the national rate, much of it aimed at women..."

"Stupid is knowing that the "rate of rape and sexual assault among American Indians is 3.5 times higher than for all other races..."

I'll tell you what is stupid. Stupid is pointing to the appalling conditions that exist on modern Indian reservations, conditions that are direct products of centuries of genocidal federal Indian policy, and crying that they might hypothetically get a bit worse because of an imagined explosion in abortions. Stupid is not realizing that grinding poverty, despair, and the undermining of native cultures produce a host of negative effects like this in the first place. Stupid is not being totally fucking ashamed that conditions like this are allowed to exist in the first fucking place, in the wealthiest nation on the face of the earth. Stupid is pretending you give a shit about Indians at all, when clearly you could care less about the circumstances already prevailing at Pine Ridge, and only seek to use the deplorable conditions there to advance your pet argument.

If I wrote this: "In 1876, the Oglala Sioux were responsible for massacring Gen. George Custer and his men at Little Bighorn, mutilating and scalping them as they went. What a difference 130 years make. Today the Oglala Sioux plan to massacre their own children, mutilating and scalping them as they go" I too would lobotomize myself, in horror that my own brain produced this steaming pile of shit.

I hate to say it (except that I don't) but Jill Stanek, you're not just stupid, you're a shitty human being. Oh, and a racist who employs overtly racist imagery in a shoddy attempt to convince the mainstream that Indian sovereignty should once more be infringed upon because Indians are plainly too savage to be allowed self-governance.

*She incidentally appears to be The Joker's evil female twin