‘It’s a hoax…’
Gary Fife/Radio Specialist
Big 2017 stories, insults to Native veterans, sexual harassment allegations
OKMULGEE, Oklahoma—Where to begin?
Well, let’s start with the big national story. This one made major news outlets across the nation.
In late November, Prez Red-Hair-Guy managed to insult both Native Americans and Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren with a single foot-in-mouth phrase, “Pocahontas.”
During a ceremony to honor World War II Navajo Code Talkers, the Trumpeter took a second to utter a cheap shot at Warren, using the nickname he has used for the senator ever since his election campaign. This was while three Dine’ veterans were sitting there wondering, “what the //// (heck) is going on?”
Native groups like the National Congress of American Indians and the Navajo Nation were stunned by the remark and quick to issue statements condemning the use of the occasion for a political jab like that. It happened in front of the portrait of President Andrew Jackson, the guy who signed the 1830 Indian Removal Act, which brought about the Trail of Tears.
Many agree that the name ‘Pocahontas’ itself, is not offensive, but its use in this repeated context is considered a racial slur.
One of the Code Talkers present was a guy who loved the spotlight, former Navajo Nation Tribal Chairman Peter MacDonald. In 1989, MacDonald was convicted of federal crimes against his tribe for fraud, extortion, riot, bribery, and corruption and did time in a federal prison. During that controversy there was talk of his $1,000 ‘golf balls,’ $10,000 doors for his office and the tribe paying for his wife’s (she was referred to as the First Lady) romance magazines.
Doesn’t somebody usually screen the guests at these occasions and who does and doesn’t get a photo with the chief executive?
OK, on to more local stuff.
Sexual harassment has become a big issue here in Creek Country. There has been ‘water-cooler’ talk about executives and managers in the tribe engaging in such behavior for some time now. A number of quiet ‘resignations’ in the recent past has had employees and citizens speculating about the hows and whys. Word from the Human Resources department said there had been ‘actions.’
The current allegations were raised by a Council representative against another who has responded with, “No comment.”
Here’s what Mvskoke Media reporters received when investigating the story: “Human Resources provided facts and information to Mvskoke Media about the MCN sexual harassment policy. They said the department has not received harassment claims of any kind in 18 months. Human Resources said the department did receive a couple of claims two years ago that were investigated and action was taken.”
Eighteen months? What action? Maybe more to come as our crew digs deeper.
Here’s a recent federal court decision that could significantly change who’s in control in this part of Indian Country.
Murphy v. Royal is a complicated legal case that ultimately examines how much and how far the legal jurisdiction of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation goes.
It’s an appeal of the 1999 murder conviction of Patrick Murphy, a Creek man, in an Oklahoma state court. The bottom line: an appeal of the conviction brought a ruling from a federal appeals court that the case should have been tried in a federal court, since the crime occurred on tribal land, “Indian Country.” The appeals court ruling said the state had no jurisdiction to try him.
Legal experts say that Congress never disestablished the Creek reservation — a part of Murphy’s defense — and that the Creek Nation retained jurisdiction over all the land in the 11-county areas considered tribal jurisdiction. That will bring up huge legal questions.
This is a horrible over-simplification, but it’s the best I can do for now.
Anyway, a lot of legalese is being tossed around with the State and a lot of other people getting worried about possible outcomes. The result is expected in the spring of next year.
The ‘Washington Post’ reported Native actor Steve Reevis, known for his roles in “Fargo” and “Last of the Dogmen,” has died. He was 55. Reevis passed in early December at a hospital in Missoula, Montana. The cause of death was not immediately clear.
The actor, who was a member of northwestern Montana’s Blackfeet Tribe, also appeared in “Dances With Wolves,” “Geronimo” and the 2005 release of “The Longest Yard.”
It was probably a scene in “Fargo” that got the most attention. In it, Reevis was exacting revenge on actor Steve Buscemi for allegedly ratting him out to the police. Remember that?
In one of the rare scenes like it, Reevis lashed Buscemi with a belt. When they saw it, the dear love of my life and one of her Alaska Native friends burst out laughing, but they were only ones doing that, in an audience full of white folks. I guess those folks just didn’t get it. You just have to be Native.
Reevis also appeared on television shows, including, “Walker, Texas Ranger,” “Jag” and “Bones.”
The actor left behind his wife, Macile and four children.
If you see a Facebook story about the Disneyland-On-The-Potomac professional football team changing their name to “RedHawks,” don’t believe it. It’s a hoax created by a Native advocacy group to show the need for the name change.
The owner of that pro team has repeatedly said he would not change the team name.
Too bad. From what appears in the comments section of those postings, reaction was pretty favorable.
Have a Happy 2018.1 comment