Gary Fife/Radio Specialist
Missing, deceased women; A Justice, Murphy; college symbols; ‘fat Natives;’ new ‘news?’
OKMULGEE, Oklahoma — During the last couple of months, there has been more than usual national attention on the on-going epidemic of missing Native women and girls, and many eventual homicides.
Just about two weeks ago (from now) a little Alaska Native girl disappeared and was found deceased. My colleagues in the Alaska and national press did give it some appropriate coverage and that was a positive development.
But, in recent weeks, the national press has also been running stories and a series about this tragic subject, almost like it was breaking news.
Don’t get me wrong, but I have to ask: ‘Since when?’
Native advocates and families have been talking about this on-going tragedy for years, decades, with not much attention. National statistics here and among our Northern kinfolk in Canada point to the abduction and murder of Native women as one of the leading causes of death.
The dominant media just now noticed?
Every few years, the U.S. Congress has raged and hollered among themselves and maybe passed a law with a high sounding name that makes good press. Now, after having said that, the Violence Against Women Act IS a good law, but could use some more teeth and bucks to back it up.
Previous Mvskoke Media coverage on a new version proposed for the reauthorization seems targeted at this.
Now, the issue has been waved about as another national tragedy, (which it is) but do not characterize the topic as something you just found out about.
Native people already know it as an old and heartbreaking story.
Is it an insult to artistic expression or just getting rid of paintings of drunken Indians? That’s the question before the trustees at the Ivy-League Dartmouth College. The ‘expression’ in question is a group of murals done in the 1930s called the ‘Hovey Murals.’
The Hanover, New Hampshire, ‘Valley News’ reports, the paintings include Indians being introduced to alcohol and its effects, and images of half-clothed Native women. The murals aren’t exactly on public display but have long adorned the walls of a now-closed basement.
Already the battle between free artistic expression and the elimination of offensive images has been joined. Should they be removed; stored somewhere elsewhere; or left alone?
Tough decision for an institute of higher learning that has been supportive of Native American students and issues. A committee is supposed to make a decision in a few weeks.
Here’s another college-related tidbit. Stanford University is removing the name of Spanish missionary, Junipero Serra from a campus mall. ‘Indian Country Today Media Network’ reports the school is taking the name off of some, but not all buildings and facilities at the Bay Area university.
Why? Here’s Why: ‘…the legacy of the Roman Catholic priest includes the “harmful and violent impacts of the mission system on Native Americans, including through forced labor, forced living arrangements and corporal punishment.” ’
And this is the guy the church made a saint.
As of Sept. 19, President Donald Trump’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court Brett Kavanaugh battles charges of sexual harassment during the confirmation process.
For Indian Country, his record on tribes has gained attention.
According to ‘Cronkite News’ and ‘ICTMN,’ the nominee’s writings on the environment and voting rights are looked at as not favorable to Native concerns, but an unclear understanding of the tribes as sovereign governments to be dealt with, are a bigger issue.
Closer to home, the question of whether Muscogee (Creek) Nation lands are considered a reservation is the prime argument in the case Carpenter v. Murphy, which is pending before the high court.
Counsel for Patrick Murphy say, the murder he committed was occurred in Indian Country and therefore, federal, not state courts should have jurisdiction.
The state and others disagree. What bearing a Kavanaugh confirmation could have on the Murphy case remains to be seen.
Local news agencies, CBS affiliates and other outlets ran a story recently that an Oklahoma nurse working for the Choctaws got canned for a Snapchat selfie:
Reports said: ‘Nurse Jill White snapped a photo of herself, captioning it “My fake smile. Excited to go make sure a bunch of fat natives don’t stroke out playing softball. With no shoes or shirts on.” ’
Of course, social media exploded, some calling for termination and she was.
But there is an interesting twist to the story. Reports noted, an email by a friend of White’s to the chief of the Choctaw Nation said that the nurse had just repeated a joke that he had made about his team and was not meant against the Choctaws.
The writer said it was blown out of proportion.
Either way, it was a poor choice to post it. Say something like that around an Indian softball team and you could get ‘blown out of proportion.’
‘Tribal news outlets, such as the Muscogee Media, are funded by the very entities they should be holding accountable. Both scenarios create an inherent conflict of interest, meaning their information is likely unreliable at best, and, at worst, pure propaganda.’
That’s apparently the mission statement of the ‘Muscogee Nation Free Press.’
I just ran across this enterprise and know absolutely nothing about it. I looked around its website and noticed this phrase: ‘The contributors to this project have decided to remain anonymous with their works. This is to emphasize the content of this project, rather than the names associated with it.’ The only date shown was June 7, 2018.
Don’t know where they’re coming from but they haven’t said anything we haven’t heard before especially the ‘propaganda’ and ‘anonymous.’ Anyway, take a look for yourself, see how long they last, the job they do and quality they produce.
On the funding model, ever heard of public media?
Hvtvm Cehecares — I will see you again.