Gary Fife/Radio Specialist
New leader, athletes, entertainers and armadillos
OKMULGEE, Oklahoma — It looks like another pain-in-the-backside statute will be removed.
The Asheville, North Carolina ‘Citizen-Times’ reports a local car dealer that formerly sold Pontiac vehicles used a 23-foot tall statue of an Indian man as a sales gimmick.
‘Chief Pontiac’ was raised in 1967. It depicted a bare chested Indian giving the usual arm outstretched ‘how’ gesture.
The dealer decided to remove the statue after one of its sales staff took part in an ‘unpleasant’ email exchange with a Cherokee woman who was a would-be customer.
A post on the dealership Facebook page stated, ‘We now consider the statue a relic from a different era that should be moved to a place of honor befitting the Chief’s legacy.’
After a year and a half, there is finally an assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs at the U.S. Department of Interior. The U.S. Senate has confirmed Tara Sweeney, an Inupiat Eskimo from Alaska, according to Indianz.com.
One reason for her long wait, were discussions of Sweeney being an executive of the Arctic Slope Native Corporation. Some questioned her nomination as a conflict of interest.
But, under the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, Alaska Natives have corporations instead of reservation-type tribal governments and many of them receive financial benefits of being a member of the corporation.
But, that’s not the only challenge facing new Assistant Secretary Sweeney. The red haired president’s administration is trying to change a legal opinion that affirmed the rights of Alaska Natives as tribes, like any other tribal government in the country.
So, as assistant secretary for Indian affairs, how is Sweeney going to enforce any policy that is trying to diminish the rights of her own people? What would such a policy mean for the rest of us? Time will tell.
By the time you read this, a team of athletes from the east coast will have played lacrosse in international competition in Israel. That in itself is a victory since some other countries have refused to recognize the passports the team carries, issued by the Iroquois Nation.
Not only that, local and international Palestinian groups say the team should have refused the Israeli offer because, they say, of Israeli oppression of their people.
The executive director of the Iroquois Nationals said, they will only be concentrating on the game and their tribal medicine, which he hopes will have a healing effect on the conflict.
“We are not choosing sides,” he said.
Here’s some interesting news about the movie industry that might have some effect on the images of Native Americans that we see on the world’s movies screens.
‘Indian Country Today’ reports The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced new members who will be eligible in voting for recipients of an Oscar.
Three Indian women actresses have been nominated. They are Irene Bedard, Q’Orianka Kilcher and Tantoo Cardinal. These three are some of the most well-known film artists who have brought accurate portrayals of Native Americans to the movies.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is inviting 928 artists and executives who have distinguished themselves. With these three new additions, maybe a Native actors’ work will appear among the nominations.
While we’re on the entertainment beat, a new TV series, ‘Yellowstone,’ is on the small screens. Starring Kevin Costner, the show includes a strong Native male character played by Comanche, Gil Birmingham. Costner is also executive producer.
Paramount Network news doesn’t give a time period for the program, but publicity photos seem to show a contemporary setting.
To strengthen that assumption, Birmingham’s character, ‘Thomas Rainwater,’ is a tribal chief and casino owner. There’s where the show departs from reality. No chief would own a casino, although a few have tried. They are supposed to belong to the whole tribe. Maybe, someone forgot to tell Costner.
The Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa has an exciting exhibition going on until October, ‘T.C Cannon: At The Edge of America.’ Over 90 works of the late Kiowa-Caddo artist are on display. They include works of paintings, poetry and music.
According to the Gilcrease website, senior curator Laura Fry said, “His large-scale paintings and expressive music show American history and pop culture through a Native American lens….”
Cannon’s work is credited in part, with being one of the inspirations for the expansion of Native American art and vision.
Hey, as of mid-July, the name ‘Council Oak’ was one of the names being considered to replace the ‘Robert E. Lee’ or ‘Lee’ elementary school names in the Tulsa Public School district. Wouldn’t that be nice?
Still on the student beat, Congrats to Kethan Harjo, Blayne Allen and Keland Bearpaw for starring in the July Indigenous Games football game. Lots of honors there!
Some of the participants got by us when we did initial coverage. Our team tries, but we don’t know about every newsworthy event and happening so, let us know about these things and we’ll do our best.
Had a group of my Ojibwe in-laws visit from Minnesota. Besides the heat, they were intrigued by the number of armadillos—‘hvrpe tvkvcwe’ that ended up as road kill.
Time to move on, sweat out the rest of August and count dead hvrpe tvkvcwe while I drive up and down 75.
Hvtvm cehecares—I will see you again.