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tv   Native American Activist Vine Deloria  CSPAN  October 13, 2019 2:55pm-4:01pm EDT

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provide authority for regulation, it washed its hands. it abdicated its authority, its ability to oversee the broadband market. >> monday at eight a copy on p.m. onwo -- 8:00 c-span2. >> next, philip deloria reflex only work at -- on the work and activism of his father, vine deloria. this event was hosted by the university of colorado boulder's center of the american west. >> it's really my great pleasure now and honor to introduce the luncheon speaker. in january of 2018, the standing of harvard university ascended departedip j. deloria
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from michigan and settled into his role as professor of industry at harvard, the first full professor that is native american at harvard. it only took over few centuries there. just think of the next 4 centuries when it might happen there. we will accuse harvard or the university of michigan of theft, it's in this beautiful fact that this absurd and good fortune for those institutions was ours before it was theirs. philip deloria received his degree from the university of colorado in 1982. wanting to observe and understand humanity from many different angles, he then taught band at a denver metro high school. having observed high school music performance to satisfaction, he then returned for an mma in journalism and communication, which was back when you could remember what to call that program when it was an acronym that comes out different
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whenever i try to say it. he took my american history course which was called the early american frontier in the journalism program. in that course, the first assignment required students to write an autobiographical essay about a western adventure they experienced. the assignment launched on the -- an adventure of my own. i had 50 students in the class, but i ended up with 51 papers. so i poured over the class registration list, comparing the names there with the names of students who had submitted papers. this did not solve the mystery , but it did give it a little bit more definition. a person named hank gomez paper, ad in a particularly lively paper i should note, that something had gone awry with the university of bureaucracy and his name did not appear on the course list.
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welcome you probably figured out where this is going. from time to time, he doubled his workload. he had written very capable papers and had the work name of philip deloria and had a different version of the paper colorful information and full of vitality and probability and submitted it. that as the work of hank gomez. [laughter] >> harvard has that on their website or something. no, it is not on harvard's website. it is now public record. that is good. what is also public record is they were in my opinion both a
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students, but i never suggested that hank apply to the phd program. i wrote a letter of recommendation. a week ago, i had a sudden archival impulse to find the recommendation letter i wrote iree decades ago that said did not find the time to perform in resourcee management. and now i stand before you. but first, philip deloria is the author of two remarkable and influential books with a of intricacy and clarity, original insight, and grounded common 1988 andblished in 2004. , he published an book, bringing well-deserved and long-delayed attention to an extraordinary indian artist who was also his great aunt.
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that caused widening and deepening understanding of what it means, american indian art. continuing his quest to observe human nature in unlikely and eliminating settings he served , as president of the american society organization and will be the president of the organization in 2022. i see this as a continuity through the band experience, which he will be doing fieldwork and chairing that board and noting there is more harmony in the high school band classes then there sometimes in those circles. philip is a trustee of the smithsonian of the american indian and the repatriation committee which seems to be something of a family tradition. got us all writing about whiteman's -- white men's hats.
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be a co-author probably. in teachingnovator and mentorship as he has been in research and public engagement. he has relentlessly and unstoppable he disciplinary. instantly incorporates the area of specialization into his world and introduces it to other specializations that have been waiting for decades to get to know each other. finally, philip deloria is the son of vine deloria, junior. he and i had a very memorable -- to me, very memorable. we were at the yellow art gallery and were giving talks on a panel about an exhibit on art. goofiestdience was the white lady any of us had ever encountered. you see this white lady. she got up, very outraged.
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she looked at the panel and said she thought it was unconscionable and intolerable that yale university would have a session on western american rt without a native american participating. i was not her fan. i will say that. i was not her fan and would not become that. i did not know what to do. this masterful taking on of that challenge. said, to paraphrase, sometime probably in the 17th century, french traders named deloria came to the area now known as north dakota. does thisgoes, what have to do with anything? that is indeed a story of his origins. she shut up really fast.
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i don't recall her joining us at reception. that was fine, too. she is a smarter woman today. all of us here today are lucky beyond any possible estimation to hear the talk that philip deloria is about to give about his father and his father's "custer died for your sins." [applause] mr. deloria: yeah. that works. well, i'm so happy to be in this room extraordinary people, generously gathered together to celebrate the 50th anniversary. my former colleague here at colorado, and i was just talking about the morning session. moments as we were serving memory of this book and of my dad.
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i had a few of those going and i suspect there will be a few others. i am grateful to all of you for coming today to the center of the american west at the university of colorado law school. thank you for hosting this liberation and for putting it altogether and for the most generous and revealing introduction. feel i cannot begin with a couple of repertory notes. regretswant to bring and appreciation for my mother. we were both hopeful she would be here today but she had her second knee replacement a month ago. while she is doing fine, in fact great, she thought it was too early for her to start traveling. so greetings and thanks to you from her and my brother and sister and extended family. second, i want to say a word about humility. humility is a great virtue. as i to my students, it is the precondition for all knowledge. to be humble is to admit not only our ignorance and the
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possibility of our learning, but also possibility of other perspectives and other possibilities, like debate, discuss. i knew my dad like a son knows a father. i knew him as a colleague here at the university of michigan as he was closing out his academic career because i was beginning mine. we were down the hall. we shared the same office. convenient thing for the chair of the department to be able to do. we were short offices. i knew him as an intellectual figure. i studied his writings. i know him in other ways as well. others of you know him through different experiences. teacher, collaborator, colleague, mentee, mentor, the subject of detailed historical analysis, inspiration, as an author you have read. he was a complicated man. active in many different spheres of life. complementary saying i
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am a disciplinary but he was much more than me. ethnic studies, history, and probably a few others i can't .ven quite remember i never failed to learn something new about him when i meet people who knew him or who engaged his work. i want to think everyone here . -- thank everyone here. a practice in which critics should and can engage with each other more than in the past with sincere engagement and willingness to ask tough questions. i'm going to say maybe a piece of heresy that it is a great book, a world historical book. it is not a perfect book. itsgreatness - -its -- greatness derives from the way it catalyzed the moment and the set of possibilities, particular style and voice that it modeled
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for those it came after. all those things are super important about the book. to see the gravity it is discussed does not actually -- is not actually a sign of disrespect. any book that gives us this, we need to embrace those with respect. i think that kind of engagement measures a sort of respect my father would actually appreciate. he did not shy away from a tussle. he made congenial verbal combat part of dinner. he did it the ferocity of a marine to the point where he would bring my brother and sister and i to tears. as we were playing, he was gleefully destroying us. i feel it incumbent since many people have told stories about his relationship to the telephone, just one of my own. one of my favorite moments was when my dad, who love to
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the film "the godfather" and watched it many times, he would watch it before he would sit down and write and watch it over and over and over again. over the weekend my wife and i got maybe, he recorded this message on our answering machine. my daughter's wedding. [laughter] you are now the scum who did this to your daughter. suffering every day. that really captures some essence of him as a prankster, as a guy with an incredible sense of humor. "custer died for your sins" was sometimes the critical catalyzing text. at the same time, it called out to a non-native audience with a critical voice the demand for accountability and action.
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five decades later, it is still relevant, and we can begin with some of the obvious reasons, some of which we talked about this morning. the book codified and institutionalized the fighting american critique of anthropology. defensiveness on the part of someone who freaked out. commentary. and in the end, a real transformation of that discipline. it may be the book's most visible contribution, perhaps not as most significant, but visible. at the same time, one might argue it until we did the decline of an already fading christian church in indian affairs, a tradition that had been dominant for over a century largely but not entirely to the detriment of indian people. it was consistent with a long tradition of people. the book took the pummeling to new heights and new audience. had a when no indian text
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voice in that market. moment of native presence. wounded knee and everything after. in 1969, white americans, black americans, and others saw native people in their face, new to the 20th century. many of the writings surrounding custer trimmed my father as a radical voice of red power. that is how the story is often told and remembered. edward abbey reviewed this in "the u.s. times." reading the book now, one is struck by very different configurations of radicalism, conservativism, and problem solving. think of it in the context of the present moment. 1975 interview, my father
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framed himself as sympathetic. he was frustrated at the failure of the federal government to respond to the document authored by hank adams that accompanied the trail of broken treaties, which emphasized the renewal of treaty rights. he was more frustrated by what he saw as the failures of the tribal council and national indian organizations to press on that argument. light, "custer" in that one might recognize what came before that, that he was not a young radical. but he was in many ways a fundamentally institutional person. he claimed no membership in the american indian movement, though he provided strategy of testimony at the wounded knee trials. he seemed to have paid dues to the council but was not associated with its members or strategies. indeed, he rather consistently and in this book named the
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national congress of american indians and tribal governments as the most active and most hopeful institutions for the future. at the conclusion of his 1971 edition, he actually draws a list of the major indian groups at work today. he encouraged readers to go and promote and support these particular groups. there was nothing illogical about him. he grew up in the shadows of the 1934 indian reorganization act, which helps create culture politics around tribal councils. theworking to beat back termination policies of the 1950's and 1960's which sought to eliminate the tribal government. the culture of the critique they seemed to him capable and competent or at least potentially so or at least mostly so.
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he had a powerful faith in the future of indian people. and tribalism. or tribal nationalism i think was one of the cornerstone basis. he contrasted tribalism with militancy and framed it as the more challenging and ultimately the more productive route. he recommended tribal nationalism to african-american activists. he was willing on occasion to praise countercultural lists for on thisit kind of right particular kind of person. he even tried to see the corporation is a modern form of tribalism. failing to launch the requisite critique of capital and profit under capitalism. although i think you are right that this is an open question
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for him and an interesting and intriguing one. seems to me he was perhaps interested in a slightly different question about the kinds of rights that might be held by collective entities now that i think about those in bigger and broader terms. the definitions of national tribalism were sometimes used in precise. clearly rested on native stasis as distinct nations. that is a bit of a nationalism. another bit of a nationalism came out of his conviction that indian people had distinct and i want to emphasize this superior forms of self-governance, social relations, cultural production. those forms crucially were tribal. relational interdependent responsible, spiritual, and highly developed over time. this is a word that mattered to him. things developed over time and they could reach a certain level of maturity in which things work better. trial and error and experienced produced certain kinds of
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results. so anyway, the radicalism of the book, which i think reads as may be differently radical in retrospect comes from how much optimism and faith he had that people when given control of their lives would do well and would develop new forms of tribal nationalism. it would be a model for changing relations across the board. this is the tone as i read the book that struck me. how much faith and confidence he had. this is a critique of course, but a futuristic book. a book looking to things that can and do and will happen. there is nothing crazy about this either. that moment of the ira in themination -- i possibilities for strong tribal administration were very real for him. he was a personal admirer of many of the tribal leaders in the 1950's and 1960's who he
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characterized repeatedly as an excellent cohort of leaders rising to daunting challenges. i find myself at this moment thinking in parallel about the career of his friend and ally, which will be celebrate it next week at the national museum of the american indian. one thing, i happened writing a piece on this. one thing that strikes me about her career is the sheer number of indian leaders with whom she partnered over the years. this was and is no small closed off world. but a massive one of hundreds and hundreds of tribal leaders and political workers. in that context, which was also his context, it is not difficult at all to locate important and powerful work, being enacted in constitutional settings. aim aswe often point to high watermarks in the story of the power movements. the critique of tribal councils serves as something as
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an origin story. i think it is worth remembering that is not the story in this book. as he sat down to a typewriter in 1968, those narratives had really no traction for him. the 1968 poor people's march was front and center in his mind. the ncai's strategic triumph on the bus bill, obviously one of his own shining moments, offers a central linchpin that is less often remembered today. the alcatraz takeover had not happened. it broke the same time the first reviews of "custer" came in. it was uncanny. alcatraz, the takeover, november 20. it is all unfolding in november of 1969. the treaty to take over at wounded knee, those things are quite unimaginable at that particular moment. in the book, he surveyed the landscape of indian country and thought.
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he would come later to imagine a kind of plan of consideration. youth tod train native form the next cohort of leadership. the tribal chairs organization would coordinate policy and legal strategy across tribes. the ncai would lobby congress and the administration. congress. press it is a good vision for how things might unfold. it did not unfold that way. not to say that is not a good vision. so one way to trace the origins of this book and that kind of institutional political activism would be to focus in on the three years my father served as director of the national congress of american indians in the fall of 1964 to the end of 1967. in "custer," p offers an origin story -- he offers an origin story. as a recruiter, he was around wyoming.
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he wandered into the meeting in a moment of political struggle and uncertainty. somehow when the dust clears, he was the director, the young guy that everybody thought they could push around. martinez dismantled the story, saying my father came with a slogan, platform, something of a plan, and a competitor to debate . it is essential to his career, planning and strategy and forethought with situational awareness, good timing, certain operational and political depth . his first months were taken up. soma refused to give up the financial records and the checkbook. a time of intense stress for the organization. then there was a period of learning on the job in which my grandfather, who conducted a massive sociological study for the up his couple church in the
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of0's played a major role introductions and helping him think strategically about indian country as a whole. some part of his training for ncai was traveling around with my grandfather,'s father -- grandfather, his father. part of it was drawing on sociology and being an all-american football player in 1922. my grandfather kind of schooled him in many ways about some of the ways to think about indian country. my father was also reproving the experience of his aunt, whose initial experience was deeply structured by her father's network of church and can -- kin and the introduction he provided for her. every time i show deloria min in a geological trajectory like
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this, i feel it imperative to show the women. one of the things that is cool is there is that painting of my great, great grandmother done by alfred sully, who would be the father of her child. institutional capital in many ways was a ministry to but also at its core baked in native kinship relations. established in a network with his family and friends. there is a lot of traces of learning, not all of which is completely indian positive. there were notes on the challenges and burnout attending the ncai director's position, frustration with the unevenness of tribal participation, observations on the unpredictably of indian politics -- unpredictability up indian
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politics. it takes aim at stereotyping, legal and political history, government, churches, and anthropologists. the second half is a little more meandering, moving through different themes, race relations, civil rights, possible futures. these are essays. they are thought pieces rather than a sustained argument. it seems likely, as someone mentioned earlier, that his editor put them in a sequence that we encounter when we read the book today. i want to pull out a couple chapters. since patty came into this through humor, i want to pull out a couple chapters and think on them with you for a little bit for consideration of the legacy of "custer" today. the chapter i liked best as a kid when the book came out and you can take it and read it as a standup routine, as a set of jokes, has an important but a light veneer of argument. indians are not silly people. humor is a survival
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strategy. when you are reading through the book, it is easily read as the literary equivalent as sitting around. as a young person reading it, this was the easiest chapter that i can assimilate. kind of taking a breath. you come out of the tough chapters in the beginning before launching into the rest of the book. i don't think it is that at all really. i am increasingly inclined to read it as a master key. and to i think a problem he confronted as a writer, which is a relationship between style and art. in my father's writing, there is this tension between the two. argument sometimes sublimated to style. sometimes it allows you to coast through arguments that might be stronger. but style is oftentimes married with argument in ways that are incredible strong and incredibly powerful. like all writers, you don't always get it right. dealing with tensions between
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those things is interesting in terms of reading his book. and style i also want to say carries meaning and content in and of itself. style matters. it is not a superficial things. the humor chapter suggests to me it is not just him but we are talking about something larger, a native sense of style which he embodied, which he pulled together, which he model. to explore this dynamic more, i thought we might linger for a moment on two of the most famous passages in "custer," the introduction to the tick down chapter on anthropologists in the very first paragraph of the book. i will sort of let you read these quickly for a second and then talk about them quickly. it is delightful to hear you chuckling. more chuckling, good.
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so, in sticking my claim, i will just coast on that for a while as an american studies person. critical methods are interesting and important to me. kinda one of the things that allows me to convert to an art historian with this last project. so i have just sort of try to digest these sentences a little bit. one of the things you can see, i want to make an argument that this passage, as famous as it is, is one where style does not support argument quite as well. we begin with this sort of general statement. fine, cool. this sets the parameters for what will happen. we have a couple specific types of things. people have horoscopes. tips on the stock market. chuckles appropriate here. tfx,this is something --
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this is something time sensitive. it is a fighter jet. what's supposed to be procured that would serve all the branches of the military and turned out to be a huge disaster that did not work. but the edsel -- [laughter] mr. deloria: yeah. i don't know. churches possess the real world. interestingly when this was published, that sentence was moved by some copy it or. replaced by -- copy editor. makes much better sense. right? but then we can see how it all comes together. the absolute sort of incredible superlative hyperbolic claim. world history, right? indians have been cursed more -- meeting this hyperbolic claim is what gives it power and humor and style. and it is great. the punchline comes. but what we often forget, the
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set up to this, it could have been better done. right? it maybe was not his best example. contrast that with this, which is one of my favorite passages. a friendly opening. hey, gentle white reader. one of the finest things about being an indian is people are interested in you and your plight. it tells us something is coming. this beautiful set of. point plight -- plights. incredible,m, this critical, sarcastic. this is serious, deadly serious stuff. people can tell just by looking at u what wes want, what should be done to help us, how we feel. this is for me what captures the kind of style. this is funny.
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things and then keep going. not to disappoint people who know us. he is calling out to those readers. you forced us to live our lives according to what you think. and then the killer, the kicker at the end, this does damage. this is harm. these are the hurts of history. we have suffered. right? iss is a piece of rhetoric fantastic,. andanalysis and the wit humor and irony all happen at once. so much of this writing functions like this. more functions like this than the other. because the other works ok, too. but this is where the power lies. the anthropology riff, famous for its republication, this
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opening, less humorous but more devastating. --le and labor and argument labor of argument. hyperbole, inversion along with sequence and timing and appointed politics. read for this kind of writing across time and you can see as my friend reminds me the same kind of scathing irony found in generations of native american writers before all the way back to william chapter five and codifies native stylistic continuity, defined his own writing and offers a contemporary model for an indigenous style of critique that subsequent generations of writers, artists and cultural producers will emulate. all you have to do is look at cool, funny native stuff on youtube. you see the young generation has the same kind of voice. scathing irony, smart analytical
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kinds of stuff going on. was in that instant refraining another a style we could call the super serious indigenous modernism which would also be emulated by later generations. this is why the two are so important in this moment. irony requires intelligence and self-awareness. the conversion of deadly political and historical ironies into humor requires even subbing mark. kind of transcendent awareness. which is exactly what my dad was trying to inculcate, both the synthetic awareness among white readers and a generative forward-looking meta-self-aware intelligent sense of self among indian readers and future indian writers. that selfhood would produce a new ways of thinking closely and critically tied to old ways of thinking. in that sense, he was a product of the 1960's, the groovy 60's. imagining a new age that would be built on indigenous foundations.
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i point you to this. no progress is are made in developing the concepts right for us. the law is 40 years old. the ira. its ideas, adequately phrased for depression america, cannot aw state the realities of space-age american community. that is not from custer. but it captures the sense of an intellectual and local project ahead for native people. in that new thinking has not come to pass. the other hinge chapter in my view is the red and the black. this marks his first effort at placing native concerns in relation to an african-american dominated civil rights movement. he felt it important to articulate the sense of the different histories, goals and methods visible in these two struggles for justice. if the chapter is sometimes insensitive,imes occasionally didactic, i think he also correctly perceived that indian people needed to deal not only with white supremacy, but
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also with ways the civil rights rights-based legal pact between the individual and the state also post a problem for argument's based in tribal sovereignty and collective rights. as it does so often, custer lays down a marker for the future hurt when he took up in greater and perhaps more sensitive detail in we talk, you listen and subsequent writings. today is white's premise he has become a cultural currency, public embraced by zig get americans, date of face a similarly counterintuitive challenge. that is, african american histories and struggles have come off to the co-opting efforts and effect of white liberalism. to stand for all histories of racial oppression. indigenous histories demand an accounting on their own terms of which we can be holy and whitley supportive. a more specific origin story for
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custer might begin with the 1967 book by stan steiner, the new indians. it was billed as a translation of young native activists philosophy to the white mainstream. groupr featured a verbal along with find gloria, one in, surely he'll wed, roger george date, mary lou payne and bob thomas. new york publishers, sensing a market and aided by steiner, recruited number of these intellectuals to write books paired my father was able to make it happen. just write books. a $500 vancehad for macmillan. after three month and two chapters he flew to new york with a check for the advance money, convinced the writing was no good and wanting to forestall the inevitable rejection. to his surprise, his editor liked it. pagelled out a copyedited of one of norman miller's many scraps.
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it was covered with red ink. -- manuscripts. to the extent that my father realized with great delight that mailer only half wrote his own prose [laughter] and that there was both editorial help and copyediting had for him as well. he told me about his mailer pays a couple of times. when i was in graduate school and struggling to write longform argument, always with great delight. according to my mom, after the new york meeting he relaxed and began a much quicker pace of writing. when you think of this, as we heard this morning, as something of an ntai book in style and content. custer's chapters organized speaking points and talk tracks he organized as of the director. my mom's memories of the writing process, and i had light full-time sitting down the summer and having long conversations with my mom about the writing of custer and how it went down, from her memory. her memories of the writing
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process are that he did not need to do extensive research for this book. i want to emphasize that. because he did a lot of research on a lot of other books. but here he sat down in the evening after we had gone to bed and let it rip. so my grandparents were poor or poorer people in the jan teal way of the chronically underpaid native rural clergy -- and the chronically underpaid of native rural clergy of the episcopal church. to watch my parents climb in my life from the intellectual working poor when they started into the upper-middle-class. when he wrote custer we left and an 800 square-foot house on south monroe street in denver, colorado. it is near denver university. i went to university park elementary school. a brother and i shared pass-through room to my parents
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tiny headroom. my sisters crib was like a harry potter tiny closet. there was a tiny kitchen and an equally small living room which was the only place my dad had to write. ofs began his lifelong habit writing sitting cross like it in an easy chair with a typewriter sitting on the coffee table, which eventually helped destroy his back. if you can imagine the kind of leaning over you have to do. and no one slapped in the house because everyone could hear the typewriter clacking away all night. then my dad would drive up to boulder for law classes during the day, study, and i hate to say it that he was not a super studious student as he often confessed. but he would study a bit and then write all night. reveals a beginner struggling to learn the craft. it is at his best when you can hear the oral in the written language. that is when the writing reflects his every day speech patterns. often that means the funny ironic sarcastic bets. because this is a world in which
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he operated verbally. it is perhaps not at its best when he is using his thinking language, not quite practiced are fully confident of what he has tried to say. did he mean that the tribe and the corporation were close echoes of one another echo it reads uncertainly or half-baked a bit today. the black and red chapter in my view shows him uncomfortable in his own skin when writing about the larger parameters of race and racial formation. in various chapters you can see the early thinking for bucks later to come. the chapter on treaties clearly presaged the later book behind the trail of broken treaties, his musings on religion found throughout the text foreshadow god's red and the metaphysics of modern existence. says custer can be read as in a perfect first draft for the career, with deeper thinking and more substantive writing yet to come. he was lucky with mcmillan as his press. especially the book jacket. we were chatting about the book jacket.
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not tong to show you read oklahoma version but the green mcmillan version, which features this scary dead eyed eagle holding a tomahawk in its beak. notice where the color comes in and the handle of a tomahawk and the tie-dye thing on the blade. the design of this was by a guy named jason. curiousa sidebar, i got about it. it is a designer with pushpin studio, the definitive studio in york for 20 years between the mid-1950's and 1970's and beyond. a number ofne of young guns in the studio graduating from the school of visual arts. one of my debts happiest moments around this book was getting a letter from native soldiers in vietnam who had taken the eagle at the tomahawk and made it into a pass for their flight jackets. they sent him a couple of them emotionally was so important and meaningful to him.
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what is interesting is the way this reflects the late 1960's design. her you can see a textual design and conversation between the designer and his boss who was a cutting-edge designer, milton glaser. partnering together on jacob javits campaign buttons. dan clearly going back to glaser's 96 t7 design, the middle panel for the cover of we talk, you listen. covers reflect pushpins place. reflect the studio's place design innovator reflect in the narrative tradition of design. think norman rockwell. and focus instead on comedic ending concept and ideas. often throughout surreal pop art backed by research its visual archives. takean see this when they this visual photograph and put it over this 1960's psychedelic
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thing. both of these covers are fantastic examples of this. served,ink is well mcmillan in this sense. i want to do a quick shout out also. maybe i don't. it is later. sorry. it is also worth load noting -- worth noting that mcmillan's publicity did a great job at this book. they were the ones who placed the anthropology chapter in playboy, helped get pieces in the new york times magazine, they push those reviews and cultivated pete hamill to embrace this book for a couple of months before it came out. magazine. playboy if robin williams was here, he does this hysterical rest for he pulls out a medicine bag and is the sacred object, which is this playboy magazine.
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i want to second what robert said earlier. play by was at this moment a place where some pretty intense political writing actually took place. in this 19 sick the five interview with martin luther king was on for pages and pages. whoghly commended to anyone is interested in king's legacy. it was incredibly revealing. and king speaks extemporaneously on this. these playboy interviews would take place over several days. what they said is that they want to break down the subject, past the august things they say, and then get them to say other kinds of things which are axley more interesting. you can see -- which are actually more interesting. there's an incredible interview with ramsey clark, attorney general at the time. you firstwhen did find playboy. for me it was my neighbor buck way onho was just on the
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monroe street. a working class guy who worked at coors brewery. and ascribed to playboy he looked at the pictures. playboy andibed to look to the plate shares. at the first time i saw him reading the articles. that familiar joke that i just get it for the articles may turn out to be true and it may reach a different audience than we imagine. [laughter] wereis one of the deals that thing which is a hegemonic. is hegemonic is also counter hegemonic paired i do not want to displace the gender violence playboy also represents. isaac is important to put things in a calm place context. once he finished custer, he never looked back. we moved to a slightly larger house where he is hamilton office in the basement. my mom and sister slept upstairs but the office was behind the basement room my brother and i shared so we listened as
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overtime he developed a writers routine. if a cup of cold coffee, left over from morning, cigarettes, and hours worth of solitaire with the occasional curse and shuffle as he organized his thinking before touching the typewriter and ibm selectric. a writing dog at his feet. dog, jd, then harbor, then dog. we were not imaginative about our dog names. later would come the stereo with old country songs cycling over and over and over. [laughter] listening to spent one. ♪ [singing] [laughter] in the song would finish and start all over again. [laughter] why did this, i do not know, but he did. he turned out we talked, you
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listen, wrote god's read and several others, indians of the pacific northwest, regional case study, and a short church focused paperback, the indian fair. he did curis products -- like revision of the red man in the new world drama and important books like behind the trail of broken treaties. he cap them with that metaphysics of modern existence. he crank out more books in a decade than most writers do overfull career. out toant to do a shout fulcrum press which is taking mind as lazy and writing and fantastic job. [applause] thank you. it ties back to the covers. fulcrum never fails to have an amazing cover. on these books they are just beautiful books and i think we
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can all be grateful. over those years he grew confident as a writer. though it was perhaps a more fragile thing than we let on. he felt he could not get comfortable writing in arizona, where my parents moved in 1978. he sometimes word about whether they respected him as a writer. he struggled through three drafts to finish his book on carl jung. these because of worries confront all writers. there was a wonderful moment in the beginning when custer defined him anew as a writer. in an audit by graphical fragment he talks about finding his way to the lions had head bar in new york city shortly after custer and being embraced by a set of writers who occupy the place, joel oppenheimer and others. talking about his first night coming into the lion's head. i will let you read.
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on this magical first night, he stays on after pete hamill leaves. the poet and village was call message oppenheimer, zen and they talk and then walk to joel's apartment so my dad can autograph his copy of custer. then they come back to the lion's head and the night shift is arriving. said.s what he the topics would shift from one illusion to another as fast as people could get the quips out. this was a moment of smart people back and forth constantly. it is no quince, robert, that he met you there. as he later went on to recollect, it had become a member -- incoming obsession for me. coincidence, robert,
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that he met you there. it later became an obsession to me hamill talks about my dad being at the lion's head and how much he loved it. do not thinkays i vine into laura ever came to new york city without going straight to the lion's head and there are many other things, great stories that come out of this, fantastic jokes. as i was make my way through my 20's, my dad told me that our men do not think figure out their lives until they're 30. it will all come together. hisas 29 when he started first job in indian country. 31 when he became director and 36 when custer came out. it is emotional for me to read these auto by graphical pages. autobiographical pages. inspired by the selling of the lion's head and the frame to memorabilia there. and thinking back to him as a younger man, when custer opened
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up a way for him in indian affairs and as a writer and the wider world of american writers. in the ways he enjoyed and loved and braced. these were moments for him of really coming together. so his final evanescence on this is worth pausing on. ways, custer died for your sins is also a just occasion for him leaving the national congress of the american indians. and concluded the buck with another just so story. wandering aimlessly around the convention in 1964, 1960 eight he was struck by the need for lawyers. in diversity of colorado -- 1968 he was struck by the need for lawyers. you see law was also a refuge.
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book as i have has placed me in a certain position in indian affairs, which unfortunately i shall not be able to retreat at least not soon. one reason i wanted to write it was to raise issues for younger indians which they have not been raising for themselves. another reason was to give some idea to white people of thus unspoken but often felt antagonisms i have detected in indian people toward them and the reasons for such antagonisms. here, again, is the double edged critique for which is so well-known evilly hostile to the american institutions he targets a specifically wild the same time questioning strategies of the young militants and his version of -- and pushing for his version of travel nationalism. by 19 six d4, the militants had had their moment, responding his critique, waking up to the traditionalists for whom he had the greatest respect. those activists revealed to him the failures of the travel administration in which he put such faith. in another way they had confirmed his fears and conventions -- his fears that
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militancy when jump start a new politics but what it be able to sustain a lasting movement. and he felt confirmed in his belief that a steady but aggressively bald work in law and policy militant in its own way offered the best path forward to the confusing mask -- landscape of the 1970's best example five by the resurgent nc aii and the native american rights fund a new legal casings -- cases, laws and challenges. that is one message behind the trail of broken treaties, his last piece of any writing for some years. custer, we talk, god is read, behind the trail of entreaties, an explosion of writing between 19 629 in 1974. one may expand that to six or seven bucks. books of writing inescapably linked to custer.
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i have not often gone back to of utmost good faith in 1971. when i do, i'm struck by several things. superficially it is a document collection that i just finished law school student might put together. but it turns out it is more than that. with close study. it is worth returning to the framing he put around each of these excerpts, which is not a standard introduction but often an impassioned plea to pay attention to history and learn, followed in many cases by smart and pointed interpret conclusion. the final sections on indian leadership and dealing with indians are contemporary as custer and just as powerful, especially in his elevation of the voices of joe gary, a role old person and robert lewis. it is also worth noting that the publisher of a straight arrow press, chose to release it in hardback and paper, with a trade press cover and in a popular audience. that tells you about the impact of custer that a document
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collection might masquerade as a trade book in this case. then there is that curious case of his rewriting of jennings wise' red man in the new world obscure book that is still not part of the canon of indian issues. this was fundamental and mysterious to me. here too i think we can turn back to custer for spec, have insights. throughout his writing career, my dad understood that the root of local and legal change lane cultural attitudes, ironically and as a logical position perhaps drawn from his aunt alla who was -- aunt ella who is sensitized to cultural politics. custer and we talked, you listen began with a teak of serotypes and the master narratives that cling to an that underpin americans sense of itself. of red manlanguage in the new world drama offer something interesting and important. not a critique.
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another counter narrative that consistently centered indian agency and rebuild colonial dominations, cheese, lies and brutality. it is in the tradition of helen hunt. jackson perhaps or deep brown. -- dee brown. in the beginning and ends with the present moment, long and deep history. heart -- bury my heart at wounded knee, published in 1970, had not become a this longererhaps history might become a bestseller, offering white readers and additions counter narrative of time in depth and political power. what if this had seized the market in 1971? bookly there's a treaty project he did under the offices of the institute for the developer and of indian law he printed collections of treaties tribe by tribe so lots of tribal members could have quick access to their treaties.
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these are the books my brother and i painstakingly collated in our basement. to save money, my dad had them printed but not collated or bound. so we had hundreds of boxes of treaty texts, and spend at least a year assembling them a book by book by book. that was our conservation to the cause. he paid us a nickel apiece. [laughter] it aselibate custer at 50 a great world historical landmark book him and is an imperfect first effort on the part of someone who continued to grow as a writer and scholar for my grad students who look upon him is fully formed i think that is important and comforting idea. that custer died for your sins needs to be seen as an introduction and a master key for tremendously full body of work of four or seven books, as you choose, constituted over only six years, that would form the core of ideas further
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developed over a long career. vine deloria- would elaborate the ideas of self determination and sovereignty that spoke powerfully to the post 19 six tease moment and into our present. it is important -- post 1960 moment and into the present. robert has asset to think about all the articles and reviews, this -- asked us to think about the articles and reviews. customers not only a singular x -- intellectual object but part of a broader effort to build new oppositional master narratives and crate legal and illegal thought structures for indians and non-indians. legal and illegal thought structures for indians and not indians. it matters for me how these texts get written, that there is trial and error and work and missteps, plans, unexpected contingencies.
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it matters that my dad was attending law school and writing at night. or that he had a thing about music. i want to share these pictures of you of him as a young man with his guitar. his willingness to turn custer into a record, only if westerman got to the artist. for those of you who do not know this album, it is really good and hold up over time. the song custer died for your sins is really a good song. and it shows off floyd westerman as a great singer. ability to sing and go up a little bit ♪ died for your sins ♪ in these three different pitches
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including this low gravelly range. i commend it to you. i have to show you his favorite picture of himself. [laughter] it is holding jerry jeff walker's guitar. he was a serious man and a he was a serious man and a planking trickster. a risk taker willing to experiment and adventure and he had his networks of friends, connections to indian country, dogs, family, students and colleagues and readers. convocation with his good friend bobby bridger floyd. here he is being the master of ceremonies at a music vessel at winter park. he was a risk -- a music festival at winter park. he was a risk taker. it is easy to look at this book and the other books from a distance and assume he had some kind of master plan prayed i do not thing he did -- master plan. but i do not thing he had much of one.
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but it was in the act of writing itself that he started to see the lines and directions and threads and webs and possibility and dead ends that would come to make up the body of work that first constituted between 19 629 in 1974 and that would be pursued over the course of his career. 50 years later it would take on a visible thematic coherence and consistency that is made him one of the most important native intellectual of the 20th century's. with an echo and impact and words, living words, they carry strongly into our own moment. thank you. '[applause] [applause] monday, columbus day, on american history tv. at noon, supreme court justices ruth bader ginsburg and sonia
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sotomayor discuss the judicial impact of the first woman on the u.s. supreme court, sandra day o'connor. >> sandra, if you read between the lines, what she is saying is, if you want to improve the status of women in the nursing profession, the best way to do it is to get men to want to do the job. because the pay inevitably will go up. [laughter] announcer: explore our nation's past, on american history tv. every weekend on c-span three. >> of anyone, an estimated 175,000 protesters gathered on the national mall in opposition to the vietnam war. in the days following the peaceful protests, about 45,000 antiwar activists stayed in the city to begin a series of mayday actions, locking access to
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government buildings and disrupting traffic. there wilyn circulated tactical manual, their goal is to shut her through government. next, the whole world is watching, -- next, "the whole world is watching," a half-hour film by the washington dc police department documenting these events, including the may 3, 1971 arrest of thousands of people, the largest in u.s. history. >> 1700 block. massachusetts avenue, northwest. we have a wagon headed up that way. [radio chatter] [sirens]


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