Reflections from the Ah­nish­i­nah­bæójib­way (We, the People)

May 30, 1989

Is the Star Tribune into propaganda?

To the Editor:

In the last month, the Star and Tribune has referred to tribal people as “vindictive,” published a large picture of a cigar-store Indian [would they have done that with a statue caricaturing a Black man?], and erroneously reported that Sanguinaria canadensis was used by Indians for “war paint” among other things.  Use of the media to mold public opinion into racist stereotypes is probably almost as old as Western “civilization”—these are just a few examples of this ongoing White tradition.

On Saturday, May 13, the Star Tribune chose to print an emotionally-loaded, one-sided piece of anti-Indian propaganda on the front page, “Resort owners high and dry in spearfish fight.”  It is unfortunate that innocent Whites were misled about the potential for pursuing the white value system of “making money” in Wisconsin’s so-called ceded—stolen—Indian land.  However, the story did not report fairly about the Indians to whom the land still legitimately belongs.

One of the justifications that Whites used for taking Indian land was that Indians were “nomadic.”  The Ojibway people to whom the Wisconsin land belongs have been right there for hundreds of thousands of years.  (The Whites called Indians’ ecologically balanced permaculture “wilderness” because they didn’t understand it.)  Whether Indian peoples’ land and subsistence base is taken by legislation, by fraudulently-intended Treaty, by bureaucratic regulation, or by misleading immigrant “pioneers” [there is more than one meaning in the dictionary] of the White middle and lower classes and then writing newspaper articles to mould racist public opinion toward sympathy for the Whites’ orchestrated plight, this Indian land and resource base remains stolen property.

If the Star Tribune wanted to print news instead of propaganda, they would have also given front page headlines to the Indian side of that particular story.  Simplistically, they could have written about how many Indian people the speared and netted walleyes would feed—and about the imported European economic system, which is a scheme designed to create hardship in occupied indigenous Nations and facilitate the theft of our resources (Communism comes from the same roots and is structurally indistinguishable).  Under the White-planned economy of corporate-lobbied, Congressionally-mandated bureaucracies, 90 percent unemployment on Indian Reservations is normal and economic opportunities for Traditional Indian people are near-zero.  Indian people are “red-lined” by the White-controlled dollar money system.  United States dollars are underwritten by stolen Indian land, resources and gold; but Indian people are forced to participate in this rigged system at the bottom of the imported Indo-European hierarchy, on blame-the-victim welfare, in below minimum-wage labor, through regressive and sometimes openly fraudulent taxation (e.g., White Earth).

Like Communism, Democracy is run by the hereditary White so-called “upper-class.”  The “Tribal Councils” which forcibly displaced our Traditional governments are run from Washington, D.C., and as long as they continue to follow the exploitive and oppressive mandates set in Washington, they receive a crooked stamp of approval from the U.S.A.  The current situation in Panama is part of the same colonial pattern.  The Treaty to return the Canal Zone to the Panamanian people is coming up—if the United States successfully ousts General Noriega it will be to put in a puppet whose strings are pulled in Washington, just like the “Federally recognized leaders” of Indian country.

If the Star Tribune truly aspires toward the quality of reportage which they claim, Pat Doyle could have dug deeper into the story.  Admittedly, many of the Indian owners of this Wisconsin land would have been difficult to interview—their ancestors were killed in the unmentioned Holocaust, the genocide of American Indians which continues into the twentieth century.  However, there are surviving Traditional Ojibway Indians around.  Many of the Indian people to whom the land belongs were “relocated” by the United States to urban ghettos (including Chicago and Minneapolis-St. Paul) in the 1950’s.  Some Indians have managed to hold onto their roots; many live in poverty on the Indian side of the tracks in Wisconsin “resort towns.”  Fair reportage would have discussed the economic and personal consequences of 150 years of White occupation and resource exploitation in Wisconsin to the Indian people; it would have explored White-caused pollution, environmental degradation and deterioration of fish populations due to White (mis-)management.  From an Indian perspective, the White establishment’s “management” of Indian resources includes the scorched-earth slaughter of millions of buffalo and billions of passenger pigeons; it also includes depriving Indian children of the right to eat their own fish so that upper-class “sportsmen” can aggrandize their own egos with stuffed fish on their walls and so that White-owned resorts can make money with fish-tormenting contests, “catch-and-release.”

Sooner or later, European immigrants to these Indian continents are going to have to stop living lies, and face up to the truth.  No matter how much the dominant society and religions lie about reality, reality is still right here.  An honest story in the Minneapolis Star Tribune would not have merely been a one-sided bit of propaganda about nomadic Whites whose ancestors migrated over great bodies of water to these Indian continents, a sob-story about unfortunate White victims of Indo-European colonization strategies.  We don’t really blame the writer of the story—that’s the way the news is almost always reported.

Francis Blake, Jr.

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