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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  April 10, 2015 4:00pm-6:01pm EDT

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vicious racist owner of a team that at that time was in boston. the team was initially called boston braves, the same as one of the baseball teams in boston, but later in order to distinguish his team from the baseball the owner chose this particular name. there's a lot of mythology around the name. they each have an origin myth for their mascot. they are very elaborate and fantastically untrue. a fellow who went by the name of deets, there were a couple of problems. first, the owner himself not time is quoted in the newspapers saying that is not why we named it that. it is kind of a name like red sox. except, it is this.
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and so, that is lie. the other lie is that one star deets himself was an indian. he was convicted of fraud for pretending to be an indian because he was trying to dodge the draft. yet, the team maintains on its website that is the origin of the name. similarly, this team has an origin myth. they say it was a fellow named henry who was a baseball player for the team. they say they named their team and order to honor him. if you really begin to dig into that history, what we find is henry was treated incredibly badly by the fans. second, he was not that good. he was not the kind of guy you would name your team for. he was not bad, but he was not that good.
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third, he was not a very nice guy. all of this sort of suggests that they made that up. this is part of what goes on when dealing with indians and -- in the public discourse. things get made up and indians become very malleable and they are formed in order to fill whatever particular role the institution or entity or state or country needs them to fill. we will come back to that idea. this, of course, is the logo for the chicago hockey team. this one is just as unfortunate as the other because there actually was a man named black hawk. so to turn the team into the blackhawks is a little strange. the team has made efforts to reach out to the chicago indian community. if you really wanted to honor black hawk, why isn't it and everyone of her game programs?
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why isn't there a biography of back hawk? a description of black hawk's war and how he was betrayed? this is a retired mascot. this of course is the former mascot of the university of illinois. he has also been retired. again, there is a wonderful origin myth, which i won't go into in detail, but it involved a fairytale about an incident that took place in this part of the country where the illinois indians died very noble yet terribly tragic demise. the mascot was their leader. it did not happen.
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once again, they made up things in order to suit their need for a mascot for their sports teams. this fellow is particularly outrageous. he is the mascot for the florida state football team. there are too many things wrong with this picture to describe them all. i am fairly certain that the seminoles who were very formidable fighters did not fight on horses and did not carry flaming lances. who would do such a thing? yet, before every game, this guy will ride out to the center of the field, throw a flaming lance into the ground as if this is some sort of accurate portrayal of a real and formidable seminole leader. this business of playing indian goes way back. it is something that has been done from the very beginning.
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in the united states, back in the early 1800s, they formed societies, for example in new york city, tammany society, you may remember them from the tammany hall scandal. you may have heard of them because they were central to the corruption in the 1920's. it ended up with a lot of of people going to jail. the tammany hall scandal. this chief was a real person who dried is very best to form stable relationships with the surrounding non-indian community. he tammany society was created to honor him. they did the strangest things. they would have secret meetings where they would dress up again the ends -- just up like indians, assign each other indian names, beat drums and
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carry out rituals in order to channel the spirits. when the creek nation and the muscogee nation came to new york to negotiate the treaty of new york with george washington, they were greeted by the tammany society in full regalia. the tammany society paraded them down the streets of new york to the capital where george washington awaited. so imagine what those leaders must have thought when these guys showed up. playing indian is something that has gone on. you may recall the mummers in philadelphia. that was another offshoot of the type where they would just up like indians. there is this weird kind of need in some way to establish your bone fide as an american by
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connecting an pretending to be a native american. this is the result. i don't know what this guy is but, it is a real thing at the washington football stadium. this is chief z, who is a well-known figure in washington. i want to back up. yes. one of the problems with the mascots is that even if we educate the supporters of a team to be a themselves and express themselves in a respectful manner that does suggest there out to honor the native american heritage of the country or their
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community, what do can rarely do is control the conduct of the opposing team. back when north dakota might very well in good faith claim they're honoring the souix -- sioux people by having the fighting sioux mascot, you would inevitably see this mascot. "scalp the souix" from the other -- sioux" from the other teams. this is a philadelphia fan expressing his appreciation for washington's football team. these fellows showed up at the last time cleveland baseball team managed to make the playoffs. that is the sort of conduct that does notion of a disappearing native american to be replaced by mascots leads us to.
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what has happened is indians have been made imaginary. the indians that most washingtonians are mostly minor with are not the kind of indians that are in the room tonight. it is this imaginary indian they have constructed. they said, well, he is noble, he is brave, he is strong. we keep having to remind them that he is imaginary. that is not a real person. to put us on the side of a football helmet is no particular honor, thank you very much. to refer to us by that name is the exact opposite of an honor. yet, they have a hard time accepting that. we have even heard them say, and this is where it against to get really weird, and they say, this is our tradition. and we say what, mocking indians , is your tradition? there are very serious about that. this is our tradition. this is how we express ourselves. this is our team. breaking through that and getting them to consider how a
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native american person might experience that sort of conduct has been very difficult. the ultimate rebuttal to my mind is to say if being made into a mascot is such an honor, why is it that our african-american and asian-american and latino american people have not been similarly honored anyplace in the country? surely we are not the only ones worthy of that honor? the answer is very simple. it is simply that there are so few indians and a few of the folks in that part of the country have had direct experience with indians that it never occurs to them that this is generally destructive conduct. we are dealing with people whose information about indians has come primarily from two sources.
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first is our formal education system, which is billing rather -- failing rather dramatically in teaching history in general and teaching history involving native americans particularly badly. the second place they get their information is from the popular culture, including this sports mascots culture. when they come to us to learn something about indians, they don't come through the door without already reformed ideas about what indians are. so you would be surprised how many people come in and look at this array of different tribal cultures that are presented and say yeah, but where are the indians? because their notion of what an indian is supposed to look like is that guy on the set of the football helmet. we don't happen to have any indians just like that on display in the museum, so they are puzzled and they don't realize indians are everywhere. and that one indian tribe can be as different from another as china is from france.
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it would never occur to them that indians are many different things. that in fact, there is no such , thing as an indian. indian is a something that was made up. and yet, when we see the imagery associated with the mascots, they all tend to look alike. that in itself tells us people are being misled. we've begun a series of exhibitions at the museum. patient was guest curated by suzanne harjo. this is about treaties. part of this is that we simply want people to gain a simple understanding of history. we don't want them to think of it as strictly native american history, because it is not, it is american history. in many respects, world history. it is just history. not american indian history. and so when we teach about a situation like this, that is the
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point where trying to make. this is everybody's inheritance. it's not just an indian thing. we talk about the treaties of the anandaigua. the central figure of a house is on either side of it. the figures represent the mohawk nation and the seneca nation as the keepers of the eastern and western doors. then, the 13 figures associated with that represented the 13 colonies. a belt like this was commissioned by none other than george washington to mark the
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entry of the united states into this treaty relationship with the tribes. this was no small matter. this is not a trinket, not jewelry. this is a diplomatic exchange. this was protocol. this is how one nation entered into an agreement with the tribes of that part of the world. we go into the removal policy and focus specifically on the potawatomi in this case. most people have heard of the trail of tears. we come back to that. a lot of people don't know that the policy was quite thorough going. it extended to the great lakes and ohio valley and it was intended to remove all indians
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east of the mississippi to west of the mississippi. we tell them about this removal journey referred to as the trail of death. we then go into the civilization regulations. the creation of boarding schools. this is a class of indian students at carlisle, about 100 miles from washington, d.c. they would take these children from all over the country, remove them to carlisle, pennsylvania, and many of them would never see their parents again. that was the objective. they were not to return home. they were to be educated and released into society. they were to be self-sufficient citizens. we then say after this narrative arc, first there was real diplomacy, then there was a betrayal. but then, a restoration. and, a resumption of a more respectable relationship between the tribes and the united states. but it did not come simply from the largess of the united states.
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it was something that indian people fought for and demanded. that is the only reason it happened. these are great lakes fishermen challenging state regulation of their treaty fishing rights. like the tribes in the pacific northwest, the great lakes nations also won supreme court litigation. now, we see policy made in a much different way than it was when congress was basically telling the end and this is the way you should be. during the boarding school era there was an effort at the beginning of the 20th century to eradicate native american culture, to eradicate native americans, to break up the family, the tribe, the reservations with a very specific objective of having no tribes remain. they suppressed tribal
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religions. they prohibited some tribal dancing. they prohibited these children the use of their language in the boarding schools. they suppressed the tribal government. basically anything that made them indians, the government tried to make them stop doing. now they failed because of course they were going to fail. but they really thought that was something they could do. policy was being made unilaterally, the united states was saying, we know what is best for you so here is how we will do this. well, i included this picture to show that that is no longer how policy is made. while it would be a stretch to say that we resumed a treaty relationship between the tribes and united states, it is certainly moving in that direction. much of the business done now is
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on a negotiated basis where both sides consent and agree on how things should move forward. there are many contexts in which that takes place. we basically say now we are on the right track. because since this policy was resumed, this policy of bilateral, negotiated, friendly arrangements was resumed, indian country has begun to drive again -- thrive again, and the results are indisputable that indian country has recovered during this time. one of the great myths of our formal education, of our popular culture is that the americas were wilderness prior to the arrival of the europeans.
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newer research is showing the americas were, as my curator would put it, "a happenin' place" in 1491. there were literally hundreds, thousands of different cultures that were operating in the two continental the western hemisphere. there was no part of this continent that was unknown to the indigenous people at the time. there were 2000 different languages being spoke, all mutually unintelligible to the others. that suggests a long time in which they were evolving separately. the latest research has some of the scientists believing there were as many people in the americas in 1492 than there were in europe. now that completely overturns the notion of an american wilderness. there was no wilderness in 1492. the americas were fully occupied, they were owned. every part of these two
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continents was owned by somebody. it is important to the american origin story to refer to the americas as being wilderness at that time because that makes it ok. that others came in and displaced the people already there. because the people who were already here were people who were hunting deer and picking berries and not really doing much of anything. this is the depiction of a city which was near current day st. louis. this city in 1100 was larger than london. london was the largest city in england. there were cities throughout the western hemisphere that rivaled in size of their european counterparts. there were people here, a great many people here, perhaps as many as 40 million on the two continents.
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have many of you have ever been to peru and machu picchu? in the end, the current estimates are there were 10 million people living in that part of the world. they were self-sufficient. they were growing a variety of food. hunger was unknown in the inca empire. they were stunningly healthy because of their diet and their lifestyle. so we want people to know that. we are working on some exhibitions that will bring forward this genuine history of the americas. so this is cahokia. this is machu picchu, which was one of the smaller cities in the inca empire. several hundred years before the emergence of the incas, they were building a vast civilization throughout mesoamerica. the aztecs as well.
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this is a city on the lake. the chaco culture in the american southwest was a very elaborate culture. i was up at mesa verde about two summers ago and the park ranger pointed out that there were more people living there in about 1300 then live in that region now. that is how many people were living in the mesa verde area. whoops, this is my favorite slide. yes. so we have to kind of return basics in our educational program and make sure people understand basic propositions. so even bart simpson gets it. now i would like to get to this idea of american mythology and the imaginary indian.
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we are deeply in the american dna. every major american myth, major american origin story has to account for the indians in some ways. it is very interesting how they do that. here we see columbus arriving in the new world looking remarkably fresh for a fellow who had just spent a number of months on a 15th century sailing vessel, but hiding over there in the right-hand corner are the indians who were there when columbus arrived. we want to get into this business of the columbian exchange. indians have not only have the indians been erased from american history, they have been erased from world history. you really cannot explain the development of the world into the world that we live in today without accounting for the contributions of native americans. massive amounts of technology, wealth, labor, food left in the
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-- left the americas for europe and asia. meanwhile, they were sending back to the new world many things of their own. a lot of animals, different plants. bugs were making the journey in both directions, and of course disease. disease was the most devastating factor. it was the decisive factor in the confrontation between the indigenous and the new arrivals. the estimate is that the population, the native population, of the americas was reduced by 90% in 100 years. there is no precedent, there is no similar experience anywhere in known human history. and yet it was the wealth that existed in the americas that made the explosive growth of europe possible.
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the calories, the new calories that were being entered into the european diet from the food that had been developed here in the americas, and let me just make sure, it did not go wild, it was cultivated, grown, bioengineered by indigenous scientists. these foods were so much more healthy than the foods europeans have been eating up to that time that there was a population explosion in europe as a result of the introduction of these foods. many, many varieties of corn potatoes, and beans enter diets -- entered diets throughout the world and radically increased the population. the spanish armada was built with inca gold. inca gold provided the revenue for the spanish government to build the armada. and of course, the consequences
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here were absolutely catastrophic. another result of this columbian exchange was the introduction of the slave trade and the arrival of africans in the new world. so, we are back to this american mythology. there is an interesting set of murals in the capitol rotunda. i'm going to show you some of them. this is one. this is the embarkation of the pilgrims. and so it is very much a part of the american origin story. the journey and the arrival and the aspirations of the pilgrims. this is another capital mural. the baptism of pocahontas. why should that be significant? we will come back to that. but keep for in mind, pocahontas was a teenager.
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she was probably about 15 when all of these events took place. this is desoto discovering the mississippi. thank god he founded or otherwise it would have been simply unknown. [laughter] this is the archetypal image of what europeans brought to the new world and what america was accomplishing as it moved across the continent. american progress. so we are working on an , exhibition i'm very fond of. it is called "americans," and if you look in the oxford english dictionary, you find that when the word "americans" entered the
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lexicon, it was referring to not the europeans, who were colonizing the new world, they were referring to the indigenous americans. indigenous people were the americans. of course, that term has undergone a great deal of change, as the oxford dictionary is quick to point out. we want to talk about these american origin stories. one of them is the first thanksgiving. everybody heard of squanto? squanto was the friendly indian who taught the pilgrims to grow corn, as opposed to the other indians who were not so helpful,
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squanto was a "good" indian because he wanted to help the white men civilize the new world. how many of you knew that when the pilgrims landed, and they but there really is no plymouth rock in the 1900s. they thought they had a pretty good tourist thing going. but, they needed an iconic theme. the pilgrims never talked about plymouth rock. it was entirely made up. but it is a good story. it is a good origin myth. it is kind of fun. so, there is no plymouth rock. and as it also turns out how many people knew squanto, spoke english when the pilgrims arrived? yeah. he spoke english. the pilgrims are there, they are kind of cold.
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it is november, a lousy time to arrive in new england. this indian guy comes walking in and starts talking to them in english. and that is weird, right? imagine. [laughter] it turns out, that squantum had twice been to europe. on one occasion, he had been kidnapped. two times come the managed to make his way back to the new world. the second time, he went back to his village and it had been absolutely wiped out by a smallpox epidemic. he had nowhere to be, no people to be a part of. and so he went to talk to the pilgrims. that is a different story than squanto the friendly indian who taught them how to grow corn and who communicated by sign language or something.
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and it is a better story, in my opinion. and that is the real fun of this work. after all, we have been taught the pilgrims -- squanto taught to them how to grow corn, they planted their corn, worked their fields hard, had a good crop the first year. and so in 1621, they wanted to have a feast to celebrate and give thanks and play a little football. [laughter] and that is how all of this began. our modern understanding of thanksgiving is very much a 20th century invention. it was not a holiday marked throughout the first 300 years of europeans being permanently settled in the new world. but now, it is very firmly in american mythology as true.
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squanto, or squantum, is a central part of that myth. what is not so much a part of understanding of this time is king philip's war which followed about 40 years after the arrival of the pilgrims. it was absolutely devastating between and among the various indian nations of new england and the english and the dutch. it was ferocious. it was probably the greatest population of all of these people's was killed more in any other american conflict. it was defining. that was for generations thereafter. king philip's head was severed and placed on a pole that was planted at the entry to plymouth for 20 years. his headset on that poll. so that gives you a sense of how strongly they felt about
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indians. many of the indians were allies but they fared no better for having been allies of the pilgrims and not of king philip. so in new england, dated indians -- in new england they absolutely hated indians, and yet, 100 years later, when they took the boston harbor to challenge the authority of the king, they chose to express their desire for liberty and their identity as not englishmen, as americans, by doing what? by dressing up as indians. isn't that interesting? you see how indians become defined and made into whatever people need at that time. this is the best example. they go from king philip's head
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on a pull to within 100 years being the very symbol of what it means to be an american, they were fascinated by that. we think it is important that people make these connections and try to understand this story along with us so we can figure this story along with us so we can out just how all this works. why do we remember what we remember? why do we forget the things we forget? because the more significant event was really king philip's war, not the first thanksgiving. we don't learn about the war in our formal education. we learn a sanitized version of the first thanksgiving. and we want our visitors to just ask themselves a couple of questions, we want them to say i did not know that. and then we want them to set -- say why didn't i know that? why wasn't i taught this? because it is kind of important.
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it is more important than knowing they had dinner together one day. to know what the subsequent history was. similarly, pocahontas has a lot of mythology associated with her. we talked about her a little bit earlier. pocahontas was essentially the most famous teenager in the world. she was like a kardashian or something. [laughter] gossiped throughout the world. but she was but a teenager. this is, of course, a depiction of the game story where she saved john smith of thing executed by her father, a powhatan. there is but one source for this story. everybody has learned this one right? this was in the disney movie so it has to be true. [laughter] there was one source for this
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story and it took hold. the source was the highly fictionalized biography of john smith. autobiography of john smith. john smith thought, i have to sell some books. let's see. this would be a great story. most historians agree this never happened. think about the role pocahontas fills. why do we like pocahontas so much? once again, she was the friendly indian who realized the need for civilization and did her level best to accommodate it. pocahontas was a real person. actually she had a very short and tragic life will stop she died at 23 in england. she and john rolfe had a single
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son together in virginia. they had jim crow laws. they did not acknowledge indians at all. if you were indian, under virginia law, you were colored. they had the one drop rule. if any of her ancestors were african or african-american, you too were colored and subject to the segregation laws of that jim crow embodied. there was a single exception to that. it was the pocahontas exception. if the indian to whom you were related happened to be pocahontas, you were not just white, you were like, extra white. it did not get any better than being related to pocahontas. [laughter] all of the first families of virginia spent enormous effort trying to establish they too were descendents of the one child of pocahontas.
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that was embodied in the laws of virginia. it is right there. so, that is really weird right? , once again, we want people to say, why on earth would they do something like that? once again they had taken , pocahontas, a real person, and sort of made her into something they need in order to establish just how american they are. that is what has got us intrigued. there she is. i'm going to skip through these because we are just about out of time. what i do want to point out is this stereotyping starts early and we start propagandizing our children at a very early age. this is a common play item. you would be stunned if you were
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to google indian costume, you would be amazed at how many versions of this there are. children are dressing up just like the members of the tammany society. blue indians. so these kids can be forgiven for not having a particularly good idea, especially kids in parts of the country where there are not a lot of indian people where they are unlike to encounter indian people in their day to day or school lives. they do get confused, and they can be forgiven for not knowing that indians don't look like that and that there still are indians. this is a well-intentioned teacher somewhere who was teaching her students about thanksgiving. because thanksgiving is required
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content in almost every state in the union. teachers are expected to teach about thanksgiving in some way. this is what they have been teaching about thanksgiving in some way. this is innocent play, isn't it? these are kids and they are pretending, which is what kids do. it seems innocent enough. but a couple of things. first of all, it is rather unlikely they would pretend to be people of any other race in what they are. out of the understood almost immediately as inappropriate. but not when it comes to indians. the other thing is that this that innocent play turns into this, a group of sorority girls dressing up like indians or frat boys dressing up like indians or a little later, hipsters dressing up like indians.
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these guys. i mean, i don't know what that is all about. what is this thing with dressing as indians? and then it becomes this, and it becomes commercialized. there is victoria's secret every year. we want to understand the deep roots of this. it is not as simple as some mean man choosing a mean name for his football team. it really is much more deeply cultural, much more embedded in the way we have been taught to understand history. we absolutely believe at the museum that if we can teach history properly and to give teachers the proper tools to
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teach this material that we won't have to worry about this sort of thing in the future because it simply want to be acceptable. i am going to stop there because we had a very distinguished panel of people who i would like to call upon to come forward now and join me and we can begin a discussion of the issue together. so jim? [applause] director gover: we are going to resume now. we have with us a very distinguished panel i want to enter this briefly and i will begin the conversation before we begin taking questions from all of you. first to my right is amanda blackhorse. amanda is a social worker and citizen of the navajo nation. she is known as an activist in
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this controversy over the name of the washington football team. she is the lead plaintiff in blackhorse against pro football inc. to her right is leo killsback. he is an assistant professor at arizona state, a citizen of the cheyenne nation. he wrote an edition of a story
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of governance and leadership systems within the cheyenne nation. please welcome professor killsback. to my left is jim warne, and he has a bachelors of science from arizona state university and an ms from san diego state university. he earned a postgraduate certificate in rehabilitation administration. he is the training coordinator for the san diego state university enter work institute. he administers the postemployment threatening american indian rehabilitation postgraduate certificate program and tace trainer at interwork institute. he is president of his own consulting firm and very significantly was a football player for arizona state university when they want the rose bowl. [applause]
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and played in the nation football league. [laughter] last but not least, dr. suzanne harjo, an advocate for american history rights, poet, writer lecturer, curator, and policy advocate who have helped recover more than 100 acres of tribal land. [applause] after a career in media, she moved to washington, d.c. to work on national policy issues. she served as congressional liaison for indian affairs in the carter administration and later as a director of the national congress of american indians. suzanne is president of the morning star institute, a national native american rights
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organization and most recently was the recipient on november 24 last year of the presidential medal of freedom, the united states's highest civilian honor. [laughter] -- [applause] let's start with one of us who has dealt with this issue face to face. that is jim. you spent some time as a professional football player. what are your memories and how do you remember this mascot and this name coming up and how did you feel about that when you are playing? president warne: first of all, thank you. is this on? i don't see an off or on button.
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that is as far as i go technology-wise. again, thank you kevin for an excellent presentation and for providing a quick history regarding mascot and indian country. i can guarantee that some of our non-indian kids in the room in these two hours will probably get more indian history than in their entire history curriculum. that is the ignorance by design that i like to say is part of america, ignorance by design. how would they know unless they want outside of the curriculum? as a player at arizona state
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university, i was drafted by the cincinnati bengals and i have some experience with tampa bay buccaneers. they call them professional journeyman. i call myself a professional refugee because i played in three different professional football leagues. with that experience with the different mascots and i as i have grown older, it has been even more so with the efforts of the many of the panelists here trying to get the truth out there. i did play against florida state at arizona state and they did have the horse on our field at sun devil stadium. as a young person, a product of american education, i fortunately had my mother, beverly warne, and she made sure my brother don and i knew the truth and we were always getting in trouble for countering our teachers. many of my teammates, what do you think my nickname was? yep. cheif.
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-- cheif.ief. with some of the nicknames i was given, i gladly took it because others were pretty bad. no one else in this world can come by chief other than my teammates. i got a lot of attention. "sports illustrated" wrote an article on me called "urban indian," and they said, his hair flew from his helmet. i said, well i wish i had waist length hair. [laughter] i am just trying to keep it in my old age today. when i saw the young man throw the spear in the middle of our field, i said, that is not his seminal guide. that is a very euro-american looking person that is doing that. so i remember that it was not necessarily the players, in fact it was never the players and
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only once did i have an issue with a player on the field regarding race. and i had a great game, i will admit, because i got an extra element of anger. but it was usually the fans. that was a very depicting picture. i don't have the power points, but i will put that up there. how many of you are insulted by this? how many of you would allow this to happen in your homes or in in front of your children? this is not right in america today. why are we still discussing this now? it is allowed. it is racism. we are still allowed to use the "r" words. they are keeping us as those characters and this is
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something that is very insulting to me but fortunately, i did not deal with the fans because i was too busy on the field. that is something that was a result of that. fortunately, i was a good player and people did not want to irritate me on the field. true racism is ignorance. unfortunately, through american curriculum, we have ignorance by design. director gover: leo, you teach native american studies at asu. is this an issue to discuss in your class? and how does that conversation usually go? professor killsback: we discuss this in the introductory course. there is so much to cover in american studies. a lot of people enter these classes ranking they will learn about rather shallow topics about indians like buckskin and beads.
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or they will learn how to do rituals, and i have to ask students from the very beginning, what do you think? some of them are very honest and some of them are very naive, but the fact that they are enrolled in my class, i commend that effort, because it shows that they actually want to learn something about indian people. in the introduction class, we cover a lot of the topics that were already discussed. not in depth, but the other classes i teach, the film class
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i offer focuses directly on the development of stereotypes of indian people beginning with the initial culmination of america. we talk about mainstream movies. "american sniper," for example and a lot of articles have been published of about how he viewed the iraqi people as a savages. a scholar has an entire book dedicated to the language of savagery. we introduce that concept of this seemingly endless battle between civilization and tribalism. there are the indian wars, the indian conflict. a lot of times, i get students who perceive history as if it were a football game, as if it were two opposing teams playing. when you deconstruct that paradigm and introduce a
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different paradigm, american studies center paradigm, and you focus on the issues of colonization around land, it shift the conversation very quickly. everyone in america is from some indian land. a project i like to do is to ask my students where they are from and what indian tribe or nations live there now, which ones were there before. and very surprisingly, a lot of non-indian students don't know too much about their local histories. and so after we iron out the
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initial discussions about stereotypes, we can move the conversation forward. but, there are still people who want to remain for in this mode of study where we talk about stereotypes because it is such a huge issue. i anchored them to dig deeper to examine some of the origins of these images. we get a lot of good discussions and presentations about scalping , the bounties of indian people, the images of indian people drenched in red blood. my experience as a professor has been initially very positive. give or take a few experiences where students are at first very standoffish that their indian studies professor is actually an indian who has long hair and who speaks an indian language. some students really appreciate it. some are concerned that i may be too biased and they would rather
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learn history from a white person i guess. [laughter] director gover: amanda, how is it that you came to be the lead plaintiff in a suit challenging the trademark for the washington football team at your tender age? amanda blackhorse: well i think -- director gover: is that on? it should be working. amanda blackhorse: yeah. ok. hi! good evening everyone. [speaking native language] i became involved in this case in 2005-2006. i was attending the university
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of kansas at the time and i was just learning, actually about the history of our peoples. i did not receive that education when i was in middle school or high school. i received the education that there was thanksgiving, columbus discovered america, and pocahontas, and sacajawea. and that was pretty much it. when i got to go to college, i learned the true horrors of our history. not just as a native people but as an american person. i was very, very shocked. i even cried because it was so horrific. i think at that point, that was when i realized that we are all
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living a lie. the history is made by the colonial powers and as an indigenous people, we have a history that is bigger than whatever it is that they are teaching us in school. i got to meet up with some other students and we were all very active in our little community there. we were all hungry for knowledge . we were a group of radical young college students who wanted to learn more about our culture. who wanted to challenge the status quo. we got together as a group, it was called "not in our honor." we decided to protest at the kansas city chiefs and the washington team games in kansas city in 2005. it was there that my eyes saw some very horrific things that i had never seen before. i have experienced racism in the border towns of the navajo nation.
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and this was nothing like that. usually, people in the border towns or in our school system would say these horrible things to you but in private. and everyone was hush-hush about it. no one really challenge to those --challenged those things. i will never going into the store when i was little and a woman pushing me, well i accidentally ran into her and i was running around. i hit her accidentally and she said, "you effing indians." i i told my parents and they made us leave. it was hush-hush. when i went to this game and
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just by simply standing there and holding a sign that says "i am not your mascot. people are human beings, not mascots." we were treated in the most disrespectful ways. i was very shocked. i wanted to yell back, shout back, but i couldn't. it was a peaceful protest. we just stood there and allow this to happen around us here it it was socially acceptable to degrade these american people. people walked by and didn't pay any mind to it. they said oh, he whatever, just another game. i thought, if this is what these games promote, what is this big deal about the nfl and sports? they are actually profiting and making tons of money off of stereotyping native people and harassing and violent behavior that is directed towards us.
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it was very eye-opening for me to see firsthand. it was after that that i got in touch with suzanne through a mutual friend of ours. i was very young. but i was learning and i want -- wanted to help with this issue. i felt like after what i had seen, how could i not do anything? that's how it began. >> that brings us to suzanne. you have been at this a long time. challenging the nfl, this team in particular, but challenging mascots in particular -- in general. could you give us a sense of this controversy? is it the beginning of the end?
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right in the middle? where are we? >> well, the very first mascot in sports that was supposed to be about us, little red at the university of oklahoma, fell in 1970. since then, we collectively have eliminated more than 2000 of them. more than 2/3 of them. [applause] >> all right. there are just over 900 to go. in the meantime, we have created a national museum of the american indian, we have more native people doing history books. as we are getting rid of them, we are able to consign them to the museums and to the history books where they belong. very soon, people will just sit back and say, that happened? there really were those kinds
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of things? people were so foolish as to believe in these mascots and hold on to them as if they were holding onto a dear relative and try not to dislodge them from their own persona? we have seen time after time that once these mascots are removed, once the names are removed, once that onerous persona is retired, you really have a better football team. a better basketball team. a more winning game. my message to the washington football team is we have eliminated two thirds of these in american sports. most of these across the country with the same name as the washington franchise have been eliminated.
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they have just chosen to get rid of it themselves. and since the washington football team, once a great and powerful franchise, has not been to a super bowl since we filed in 1972 -- people in my bank and on capitol hill say, "you still have that curse?" no, no. we say no, it is not a curse. it is just karma. [laughter] >> it's their own fault. they're doing it to themselves. if they would just throw off the shackles of this name, get rid of it, have a name change contest, everything would be wonderful for them and they would start winning again. i just don't think they are going to win until they do that because this is in the 23rd year. that is an amazing coincidence. 23 years and they have never been back to a super bowl.
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in the meantime, there has been a case that has my name for 17 years, now amanda blackhorse has that privilege and burden dragging around this lawsuit. we are just going to keep prevailing and prevailing and more and more people across the country are seeing the error of their parents or grandparents' ways and saying, we don't want that. that is not who we are. more native nations are saying we don't want these false identities, these false personas laid on us anymore. we are not going to take it. that is the root of a lot of our problems. people don't take us seriously because we are not taking ourselves seriously. you have people all over the country, native people, saying
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enough is enough. we are not passing this burden on to our children and grandchildren. it is going to end now. you have this movement that has just grown and grown steadily. where are we? we are right up there at the pinnacle. we are looking around at all of these unfortunate souls down in the valley who are saying, what should we do? what should we do? we are up here saying, we have the answer. just stop what you're doing. get some sort of identity. quit ragging on us and pick something that doesn't offend any other living people. how hard is that? that's our message. and i think we have already won
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in societal terms. we have already prevailed because we have a lot of people in society, people of all kinds to understand that this is just wrong. it's just wrong. >> we know that from some of the polling we've seen were overwhelming majorities of people regard it as offensive or understand why indians would think it was offensive. they would not refer to one of us to our face by that word. yet, there is still a majority of people who say, but, the football team should be allowed to keep using it. what is going on here? >> people in america are so used to being racist. they feel like they have to hold onto it a little bit.
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it's like people who have been ill for a very long time, they will feel well one day but they don't quite understand it. when they start feeling ill again, they say oh, now i'm comfortable again because they are not used to being well. what we are doing is -- the -- it's part of the maturation of america. we're saying you can live without racism without bigotry. you don't have to bargain for little pieces of racism. because what a lot of them say, ok, we'll take away that, the worst thing. what else can we call you? well, you can't call us anything. just stop the name-calling. this is all coming about the more we learn about bullying the dynamics of power of people in authority who are imposing their will and ways and prejudices. the more we learn about all of
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these things, the more we know about this kind of subject. that is where we are. it's a different kind of thing when you are in a majority population that is used to having people to oppress. you have to sort of wean them off it. say, this is a societal disease and we are going to help you get well. we are going to help you. we have the answer here. >> if i may just go with that and the history of racism. when you think of the washington football team, they were the last to integrate. so their great history and tradition, here is the nazi party supporting the owner at the time. mr. marshall.
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their sign says keep the redskins white. their level of awareness at the time in 1961. when america -- that same year the nfl owners wrote a letter in support of this gentleman that owned this team. they honored him that same year because he was fighting for his rights. all those other teams integrated. the history of the redskins were, they were the last to allow black skinned people in their team. now we have individuals saying what's the big deal from the african-american community. i understand. i've been in the league and it's a powerful machine. a lot of the guys that are playing now do not want to talk against the leak. there is an individual here, richard sherman, here at the super bowl that has guaranteed money so he doesn't fear to -- the league. he has said that the nfl is a racist league and they are continuing it with the allowance of the redskins name. he is a current player that has the bravery to do that. he has guaranteed money.
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he doesn't fear the machine of the nfl. it is quite a machine. i have been under it before. when you have this great history and tradition, dan snyder, with the nazi party supporting you in terms of the past owner and keeping lack -- black skins out at the time, now we have african-american athletes that are prom inented. i guarantee you we have an african-american president because many of the non-indian fans had pictures of michael jordan on their walls and it was ok to idolize sports athletes that were a different color because they were part of sports. it's an interesting dynamic however let it -- how athletics has it addressed the race issue. partly when you have teams with the variety of different cultures and those teams learn how to perform well together regardless of culture. again, it is the racist history and for whatever reason, we are the last ones.
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becausethe nfl tried to stop the use of the "n" word in the league. did they try to stop non-african-americans from using it? no because they already stopped them. they get fined and suspended. they are trying to stop the uvense the n word because it's being used among african-americans. we have a lot of those individuals in all cultures that will incorporate these negative stereotypical terminologies into their daily language. that is what dan snyder is looking for. where are these guys that are ok with it so i can showcase you as the indian that i know? he said i want the truth and the truth was on a german guy avoiding world war i. that is his truth in terms of a redskin justification. again, it is untruth racism. interesting from his perspective, why doesn't he honor his own people? he could create the mascots of
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his own people. then he can go from there. again, as it was eloquently stated, no other groups are protesting that they are not mascots. we are the only one so far with that "honor," as they keep telling us that we don't understand who we are. yes, we do. i apologize. i know who i am. as a lakota man. they keep trying but we're still here. 90% of us were eliminated but those last 10% were very strong people. we are descendents of those people in this room. a great point brought by suzanne at the history that some are holding onto very dearly. >> that's a great point about the machine and the size and scale of this enterprise. amanda, you have picked a fight with the billionaires club.
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by the way, amanda is no longer suing the national football league. the national football league is suing amanda. in a federal district court in virginia. so what's that like? >> it was expected. i think that the attitude of the owner who says, i will never change the name and you can use that in all caps. it's very dismissive patronizing, and he acts very much like a bully i feel. with that sort of attitude, i knew this was coming. i feel it is very unfair and it is very uneven here because i am just another native american person out there who grew up on
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the navajo nation, who went to school to be a social worker so she could go back and help her people, and you're going to sue me. i don't feel honored at all. being sued by a billionaire and the individual that i am, i feel it doesn't make any sense. it is really a bad move on their part i think. >> yeah. at this point, i would like to open it up to the audience and ask if there are any questions for our panel. we will have some microphones, is that correct? ok. while we are waiting for that to set up, suzanne, could you give a quick explanation of what the trademark challenge was. what was it you were doing when you initiated that process?
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>> i didn't understand it at all until steven baird came to interview me for a law review article he was working on in 1992. he asked me two questions. he was a patent lawyer from minneapolis. he said, why didn't you use the u.s. patent and trademark board as a boron -- forum as a cause of action as a lawsuit against the washington football franchise to get rid of the trademark? i said "i have no idea what you just said. nothing makes sense to me about what you just said. "he walked me through it. there is the lanham act that says you can't have a trademark
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license on material or names for things that hold other people up to disrepute, contempt, disparage them. it is just against the law. that has worked in all the other lawsuits. i wonder, he said, why you didn't do that. i said, well, because this is literally the first time i'm ever hearing about any of this. before i let him out of the space, he became my lawyer. we talked about mounting the lawsuit that we did. it is a pocketbook incentive lawsuit. it really means -- it doesn't require -- one thing i like is that the first amendment champion is that it is that it doesn't require anyone to do anything. what it does is it takes away the federal stance -- stamp of
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approval from these racist images. the image and the name. and once you do that then you don't have federal protections, then they're not going to keep the name. it's as simple as that. it is not that we are making them do it. it is just that we are removing their support. that is what the federal trademark trial and appeal board judges did in our case in 1999. they canceled the licenses. pending appeals. then they escaped through the loophole of laches. it means how long you waited after turning 18 before filing the lawsuit.
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that's why, when i organized the black horse case, the plaintiffs i got were closer to 18 then they were to 24 and they weren't over 24. so they wouldn't have the same technical problem we had. we didn't lose on the merits. we only lost on this technicality. we resolved that technicality in the second lawsuit. the trademark trial and appeal judges went in the same direction they went in our case and gave the black horse plaintiffs a favorable decision. again in 2014, they canceled the trademark licenses. they are removing the federal imprimatur. they are saying, we are not backing you. it is more of society saying we are withdrawing any support that you thought you had.
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that's really the lawsuit. it's pretty simple but it has all of the things for the ordinary person like me who never heard of this. this has been going on? no one told me. >> even if amanda were to win her case, the team doesn't have to stop using the name. right? but it will have been devalued, hopefully sufficiently that threll choose to no longer use it. that is really the strategy behind all of that. any questions from you all? yes please come to the mike. -- mic
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>> my name is justin. my comment is that marks indicated that capitalism is a revolutionary sfors -- sfors thatmodifies everything, including human beings. my question is, what is your response to ben shelly at the arizona-washington game? >> i think mr. shelley is a very unfavorable president at this time. because he has done some very -- [applause] he's done some things that are very questionable. when we have seen or heard that mr.shelley was sitting up in
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the box seats, i knew that this was another trick of the washington team, of dan snyder. they had been going through indian country and trying to find any native american group president, council member, or whoever to endorse them. they looked far and wide. it was like a campaign to look for anyone who was willing to do that for them. they got that with the code talkers. actually just two or three of them, not the code talkers association. they got the navajo nation president and they got some groups out there. there were also groups who turned down their gifts as well. i think that was just a part of the strategy that they were using and they got been
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shelley. i said i was very ashamed of him as a president that he would do that with such a controversial person at such a controversial time. i actually got a chance to speak with him about it. he was just as dismissive with me as dan snyder has been with me. it was very unfortunate because i felt like we could sit down and have a conversation about it. i think the navajo nation going into a deal with the navajo arts and crafts enterprise is what people say, there is so much poverty on the reservation, this will create jobs and put more money into our economy. but at what expense? at what expense are you going to basically sell out. that is what i think about that. i think he made -- it is a personal decision on his part
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because the navajo nation council does not support the washington team. [applause] >> yes. >> hello, my name is nicolette. i'm a doctoral student. i'm studying public administration and policy. kevin, you had mentioned earlier that indians are malleable to whatever institution's need. the question is, anyone else can answer this, too, how are --the perceptions of american indians impacting public policy? i think congressman negotiater had mentioned that indians were wards of the state when he was discussing give ug -- giving us
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a plaque. i think that's the mentality perhaps. and afterwards, i have another announcement. >> the way you would expect. if people are imaginary, if your understanding of indians is based on these imaginary indians that they have been taught about , then they are not going to grasp the depth and complexity of the contemporary issues that native american people are bringing forward. when i speak with tribal leaders about the museum, i say, look, we have all had this experiment -- experience. i was a tribal attorney and lobbyist for 15 years. have had the experience of every time there is an election, you get a new set of members of congress or county
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commissioners or state legislators who know anything -- who know nothing about american indians because they have been misinformed their entire lives. we always have to start at the beginning again and very slowly work forward to bring them to some sort of understanding of why we are sitting there in their office. you even have to explain very simple things. tribes are governments. they're not clubs. they are not just a bunch of people who hang out together. they are government. that is a very old idea that they have always been government. reservations were not given to indians. there is a reason they are called reservations. they were reserved by the indians. you have to overcome a lot of these ideas before you can even get to zero and then start talking about the complexity of issues. that's why we are always in a
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race where we have to start 200 yards behind and are still expected to win. it affects policy in all of those ways. you would be astounded at how little some people who are in positions of genuine authority over native american nations you would be appalled at how little they know about this history. naturally, the outcomes are not optimal and not what we hope for. >> i appreciate that. i want to make an announcement that is ok. i'm involved in organizing a vigil that is going to be happening tomorrow night and i believe a lot of you guys have received flyers. the vigil is to draw awareness and connection between how native americans are perceived and the impact it has on violence against women. i hope you guys will help your support by attending. thank you. >> very good. thank you.
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[applause] >> is jim still here? i can't see him. how much longer do we have? ok, good. thank you. i'd like to -- >> i would like to introduce myself. my name is leonard rivers. i'm from salt river, arizona, the salt river community. i wanted to mention, i guess living and growing up around the metropolitan area of phoenix, scottsdale, mesa, fountain hills, and all those big cities around us, it was really hard growing up especially with the media that encouraged -- turned us into the european attitude culture thing that we assimilated to wanting cowboys to win over
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indians in the movies. i remember i was a cowboy fan growing up because of the cowboy name. it was tough. i really appreciate you all being strong enough and smart enough to get out and tell the truth. i want to say, i worked with the community council and the political side of things. i remember when i first got on council in 1998, i was working working with some representatives from mesa. mesa is right next to us. 79it is probably one of the friendliest communities we have. these representatives had never been on the reservation. they didn't know where the boundaries were. they didn't know the people that lived there. they had no idea what the issues were.
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yet, they were the ones basically representing us. i say this because part of it is them but part of it is us to. i think the apathy that we as native americans have, i think that needs to be worked on. i am glad that we have people like you and different people around the nation that are doing that. it is going to be important with things getting scarcer, land, water, things like that that we know people are already trying to get onto the communities and take. that sent carlos issue that was brought up, we are just considered second citizens. they will be able to conquer and divide us. that has been their m.o. it
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seems like. i just kind of wanted to mention that. i am really glad you are out doing this. it helps us understand and it will be a big victory down the road. hopefully communities can take this stuff and really understand and try to put a bigger effort into making sure that we aboard -- avoid those things coming in the future. so thanks. >> that brings them into mind for me. leo, most of your students i imagine our native students in the introductory course. do they come with a real working knowledge of native american history? >> to be honest, no. to be honest, no. it is a great disappointment because i wish that a native high schools or in high schools with high populations of indian people, or even just all high
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schools in states with large populations of indians had some standardized history or something to connect students to contemporary issues in native country. there is such a huge gap and our goal as professors is to try to fill that gap. sometimes i feel like we are not doing a good job because when you get at the collegiate level, students don't have to enroll in your classes. they can also take not necessarily indian classes. there is need for improvement. >> ok. [laughter] >> i am lakota. i would like to thank you
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for speaking your mind and allowing me to speak mine. >> why don't you just hold it? we can hear you. >> ok. i was watching the news when the march during the redskins game happened. i wondered how people like you guys thought about the people that supported the redskins that were native american. i just wondered what you thought about that. >> that is a good question. suzanne, jim? >> how do we feel about the native people who support them? >> yes. >> well, bless their hearts -- they will learn in the future
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and they want to be with winners. they think they are by cozying up to the nearest racist white person against them. they think that means winning. they think it will save them because we are being racist against someone else. so it's sort of like an abused child. don't hurt me, you and him thought it. they are not the ones we are upset with. we are not upset with the indians who can be rented or bought or who just willingly go with what they perceive is the winning side. there is no equivalence between the few native people who line up with the washington football team owner and all the major
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national native organizations who were on one side saying enough is enough. get rid of all of these racist stereotypes in sports. especially you, washington football team. [applause] >> one navajo official does not offset the fact that the medicine men's association and the navajo human rights commission and the navajo tribal council are all on one side. saying no, we don't like that name. just one person doesn't offset all of these native people and the people that all of these native organizations represent. we are on the side of the overwhelming native view of all
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of this and population and presence. very comfortably so. it is really a happy place to be , not just in the mainstream but way in the majority and we're all moving in the same direction. the fact that you have a few over here, stragglers who might be limping along or people who want to ride in the wagon of the white people who think they are hurting us, that's ok. they'll catch up and then pretty soon, once we definitively win everything, then they will be at the front of the line leaning into our pictures saying, look what we did. we will welcome them. >> they are already doing that. right? the other thing is, maybe, jim you can comment on this, it
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feels like when the team is out there with their foundation and trying to generate tribal support and busing indian people to the game, it that they are trying to get us to fight with each other. we just refuse to do that. >> first of all, thank you my young lakota person there, for representing us in a good way. this is why we are doing it. this is for you. [applause] >> and i believe you are discussing the oath, the original american foundation that dan snyder suddenly produced 10 months ago. he is suddenly wanting to do good things for indian people. at least that has happened. he is now providing money to tribes that are willing to support him.
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again, those tribes that refused his money, those are the ones that have really gotten that message in terms of where we stand as people in america. when we are on their reservation and we are trying to survive tomorrow, back home at pine ridge my people are troors -- trying to survive. this is not a big issue when survival is number one. overall, when we are talking about how the perspective of us infiltrates our governments, they are also ignorant by design , our senators and congress people because they are products of american education. unless they went overseas to europe or asia where they teach more about american indian history than we do here, they will not know about it. when we start 200 yards behind as i stated, it is really true because 15 states don't have tribes. therefore 30 senators don't have to do anything for indian country.
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we are already starting way behind when we are going into the halls. i have walked those holes and talked to those pimplely-faced staffers that they send out. i'm willing to discuss issues at a high level. what do i have to and talk to do? back to indian 101. just so they can understand why am as a person. how much did donald trump give to your family? you are all rich now to. it is that level of ignorance that's the frustration. it is happening and the efforts of suzanne and many others over the years is now our young people are getting that information. keep up the good fight, young person. we appreciate you. thank you for coming. [applause] >> hi. my name is donna.
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this is my son. he is 12. live here in the valley. my other two children are up there. they are own ada -- oineda and lakota. i want to say thank you for all your efforts. i had a conversation with amanda last friday. i have been a part of this effort since i was in high school. my mother was very much involved. i remember wearing the promotional t-shirts and sweatshirts with the pen rants on it with a different names where it says the new jersey jews and the different names. i wore it for 30 days straight in high school. to make a statement. i got harassed, chase home, i thought almost every day for 30 days.
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so if you think this doesn't impact youth i am an adult that grew up being impacted by these stereotypes and mascots. i grew up in a small farm town in nebraska where i was probably the only brown person in an eight county radius. i heard it for every single racial group. a lot of people say that this is new. that they haven't heard of it. where is this coming from? i am in my 40's. that happened 30 years ago. it is still happening today. my kids still get teased about their long hair. i just want to say thank you. i really see some momentum with this effort. i am so proud of everybody and everybody's efforts. thank you very much. [applause]
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>> thank you. my name is dan. i am not a native american. i was asked to come here and speak by a friend of mine. peter mcdonald. he is a president of a navajo code talkers association and he could not make it because of weather. you often call people of native heritage sellouts and -- that cheer for these teams sellouts and traitors. amanda, i have seen you chase people into stadiums with their families yelling that they are sellouts and traders. -- traitors i wonder, with all the issues that native americans in general suffer , and i know it's a very diverse culture, but the last credible polling
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company to take this issue on was in 2004 and they found 90% support behind these names. isn't the fight kind of being created by you guys? >> amanda, why don't you go first. then suzanne. >> first of all, i did not chase anyone down, run anyone down or any of that. i am not sure where you got that from. >> i was there. sorry. >> there were a lot of people that were there and who seen a lot. i think the 2004 annenberg poll is outdated, first of all. that was 10 years ago.
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in the last 10 years, many things are changing, including this movement. a lot of people's minds have changed. native american people and non-native american people. i think when you look at polls we are very misguided because we are looking at numbers. we are looking at several people participating in these things. the validity of them, it is not there. i always ask, would you leave the civil rights movement to a poll? no. because this is a movement. it's not going anywhere anytime soon. >> sounds like overwhelming majorities and things like that. i believe you even mentioned some polling. i'm wondering where that came from. >> suzanne, why don't you talk about the annenberg poll. >> we do know how to count.
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we have given our organizations , they have stints that they are responsive and responsible to for carrying out their wishes. since the late 1960's and the early 1960's for some organizations, our major national native organizations have all been moving in the same direction. they represent the overwhelming majority of native people here it that is how we know what we are talking about. i used to run one of them. the national congress of american indians. one of my co-plaintiffs in the lawsuit ran national congress of american indians for a while in the 1960's and i in the 1980's. we are not new to this. you wonder about all the other important issues. we are the ones who do face the more important issues.
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people who asked that question don't do anything for my people. peter mcdonald, for crying out loud, when he was in power, he stole from the navajo people. >> that's inaccurate. >> when he was voted to represent them. [applause] >> he was convicted and went to prison for ripping off the people. i don't call him a sellout. i call him a thief. that's what he was convicted of. [applause] >> know all of you are all put up to this by billionaire dictators and c.e.o. of united doneida nation incorporated, who pays for all your travel court cases. an out of work social worker can't fly across the country
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every week unless she's being bankrolled. that is where ray halbert or comes in. >> this is very valuable. let him finish. >> you sir, are the way -- are the one that recognized in federally as the leader of that nation against his own people. it is not a nation, is a corporation. he's a billionaire up against billionaires, right? you guys are playing a trick on people trying to act like this is a liberal issue when it really isn't. i'm a liberal guy. if i really thought you guys were fighting racism, i would be holding hands with you. >> thank you. let's have some yells -- somebody else speak now. thank you very much. >> thank you for demonstrating exactly what we are here for. we do appreciate those perspectives. keep talking in another forum. >> you call my friends ignorant and they are native americans and they are ignorant because they cheer for a team you don't like? this guy went to m.i.t.
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and a., u. he is not ignore antd. he is not uneducated. >> we see you come with an indian? >> excuse me. i just met him yesterday. the fact is is that a majority of native americans support these names. >> security? >> thank you. >> sit down! >> two more questions. >> my name is christopher. from tuba city, arizona. proud graduate of tuba high school. proud redskins fan since i was young. i've always been around native mascots. i've always traveled with the teams. it has always been a part of my life.
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for someone like me, i identified with the team. i identified with the name and the logo. that has always been a source of pride for me. i am not the only one. we are not ignorant or uneducated. we know why we are supportive of this team. sports is a big joining factor and for us, this is a sports issue. and a sport team that we can gather around and support each other and be proud. there's nothing wrong with that if you are a redskins fan. i'm not a fan of another team. the redskins have always been the one i started with when i was five years old. that's where i started and that's what it's always been. to hear a lot of these comments, this is such a divisive issue. it's probably the most divisive thing i've seen. a lot of you guys do a lot of
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good work. teaching, and a lot of your activism and your energy is awesome. being the head of the smithsonian institute and your work as far as the work with morningstar, yeah, you did a lot of great things and we heard that through your introduction. for some reason, i think this issue is such a divisive thing that when you go on to comments on twitter, on facebook, you just hear this back and forth. you are a sellout, you are racist. you're a half-breed, you don't count. everything back and forth. i have never been a part of an issue. you just see natives fighting each other. to me, how do we stop this? what's it going to be to unite ourselves to other things?
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i personally don't believe that native mascots hurt. i went back to my grandpa's house. i have always been a part of some type of native community. i'm lucky in that way. i have also lived off the reservation. i've lived in boston for 12 years. i finished at asu but moved back to boston for 12 more years. it was never an issue. i used to wear my redskins stuff and walk around. no one ever said anything to me. there are stereotypes and i have come across them and racism. i've been called many things. a lot of this and for a lot of other fans for myself, it has never been about the sport.
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the -- the only thing about sports for us is it's you auniter and we have been able to be fans together. when i'm coming down to as my question is, what is the end result? it is dividing people now. that's the scary part of it. >> it doesn't give you pause that dr. manly begay from tuba city used to be the pral of the school, was a plaintiff in the original lawsuit against the washington football team or that the navajo commission on human rights and the medicine men of association and the tribal council are all on one side of this issue and you and amanda blackhorse and you are under -- on another? doesn't that give you pause for a moment? >> no. it's not even about pride for me.
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the native mascot thing seems like a redskins bashing thing. that's really what it comes down to. we can talk about native imaginary and words all across the reservation. we have. in the navajo nation we have three of them, the scouts and redskinses. i follow joshua. he introduced me to the council. went to the council of nine people. six out of the nine. it's never been to the full council and he's never done anything else. they are trying to impeach him through the city because he doesn't do anything. this was his one chance to get into the national picture. there was an article about it today. spall little story. that's what i'm saying. there are some people that try to take advantage and i understand that you guys have your issues and your side. i respectfully disagree with you. i'm not trying to change her mind. i want people to know that there are a lot of natives like
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me that find pride in this team and the name. we see it as a unifier and wait -- a way for us to get together and celebrate one thing. >> we know the greater weight of the people, we know where they fall. right now, most of our people are moving in one direction. the people on your side of the issue are not as vocal anymore. it's good that you are being vocal about it and you still have passion about it. we simply disagree. but we are going to prevail or it >> i disagree with that. i don't think there is a majority. >> there is an overwhelming majority. you may take issue with that. [applause] >> i disagree with that because i know plenty more.
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we are starting to speak up more i think. >> the national congress of american indians, the national indian education association, just go right through them. how many native people they represent, how many people they are. have you been to a national congress of american indians association meeting? you go there and not one person is on the other side of the issue. that's our experience. for those of us who meet and make up these policies, we don't just invent them. we make them up because we all agree on this. >> i'm not saying you are making it up or anything. i'm just saying i disagree with -->> that is fine. you are entitled to do that. let me just point out that you won't hear me, certainly and you haven't heard people
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tonight talking about sellouts or traitors. that's just not productive. >> i am not uneducated or ignorant or needing help. it is like i said, it is such a divisive issue. it is one that i see the most where people are asking each -- just going after each other. >> thanks for coming. >> thank you. >> anything orance by design. that's all i can say. ignorance by design. >> this will be our last. we are out of time. >> my name is rated -- my name is brandon. i thought the presentation and the panel were awesome. i don't think it's a question that the mascots portray a horrible representation of indigenous culture. but what i did see was a lot of misrepresented in the dream where of men -- misrepresented imagery were of men.
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i wonder if you also think this affect indigenous women, and how you think they have been portrayed? and if western colonization has deemed indedge in -- indigenous women as docile and -->> 20 point. pocahontas was a woman. >>--let me point out pocahontas was a woman. >> as a mascot. >> the answer is yes -- men are stereotyped in a way that -- women are stereotyped in a way that invite, in essence assault on them. it is an ongoing thing. if you look at the imagery around native women that shows up in the media and popular culture, it's a very old theme that native women are in a sense representatives of the land itself, ripe and available for plunder.
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that is the imagery used for native american women since the very beginning when europeans began reporting back to their countries. oh, you should see this place, and the women, holy cow. that is what that was all about. the answer is yes. i could have done a powerpoint twice as long with outrageous images of native american women that are contemporary. >> i think overall when you have this level of acceptance in sporting events, everyone is impacted. non-indian and indian alike. when they are saying this is none of this racism happening, last week in rapid city, south dakota, a group of students who earned their way to a free hockey game through academics, not being indian, where doused -- where doused in beer and called -- and i
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apologize to my brothers and sisters -- but they use this term back home -- "go hem, prairie niggers." that was last week. was anybody arrested or asked to leave the stadium? no, it happened after it appeared in the press. these things are happening a lot. i have young women and men that will always have a different perspective because of what happened to them last week. that cannot be allowed anymore. if you can have this kind of imagery and be ok with it, then american statistics polling say that is ok, i say does not. -- i say it's not. how many of us does it take to say no more? i guarantee that this was an african-american, you can find african-americans who would say this doesn't bother me. but you would also find ever -- african americans who would say no way will i allow this to happen to my people.
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we are just asking for more understanding. [applause] >> we want to thank you all for coming here and listening so carefully and participating in the conversation. the arizona state university college law program for organ is eyeing -- for organizing the event. thank you for coming tonight, and we hope we will see you at the heard many times. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit]


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