Tag Archives: Sand Creek Massacre

150 year remembrance of Sand Creek still firmly in grip of master narrative


DENVER, COLORADO- The Denver Art Museum assembled a panel of Native American artists to build collections of recollections of the Sand Creek Massacre on the occasion of its 150 year anniversary. Question: what do the artists think of resting the onus of remembrance of a crime on its survivors? How convenient for the perpetrators of genocide –by a hair we mightn’t have had to remember it at all, the aim of genocide after all. If Westward Expansion had succeeded in wiping out indigenous peoples entirely, a genocidal program which is ongoing, to repeat the obvious, that the great white tribe wouldn’t have to be bothered to remember Sand Creek at all. Wrestling the narrative from the hands of the white fathers isn’t solved by seeking indigenous voices only, many of those by now have assimilated the colonialist temperment, the burden of remembrance must be taken up by the white supremacist if we are ever expected to atone.

The Wondrous Tale of Brer Lamborn, Brer FOX & Obama the Tar Baby. Uncle Remus and Racism in Colorado Springs.

COLORADO SPRINGS- If US Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) remembered one thing from the Uncle Remus stories, it was not to touch that Tar Baby! You know, the one Brer Rabbit mistook for a cute black infant who would not tip his hat to his better. Or was that a Porch-Monkey? Colorado’s 5th District is unclear about the distinction if the local media and Fox News are to be believed. Either term refers to a poor person whose sticky problems become your “quagmire” if you ignore your natural prejudice to their skin color and you let them touch you. Can a representative of bigots be bothered to know if a racial slur is offensive? According to Lamborn, he can’t. More important, the congressman reiterates –as he professes his apology to people taking umbrage at racism he hadn’t intended to express– is: NOT TO TOUCH THAT OBAMA!
 
To be clear, Doug Lamborn hasn’t apologized to his constituents, he’s only claimed to have sent President Obama a letter, assuring all that Obama, the black untouchable, will have the grace to forgive him as “a man of character”.
 
And so this Uncle Remus tale simply goes on…

The story so far
Lamborn calls black US president a Tar-Baby, public outrage ensues, Gazette newspaper lends support to Lamborn’s excuse that Tar-Baby wasn’t used in racist sense. Protests held by NAACP, community groups and local progressives, all which Lamborn refuses to meet. Lamborn office erects sign NO PROTESTS.

ACT II: Lamborn office calls for his supporters to rally, presumably under the “no protest” sign. His office issues a press release: AP, Fox News, national and statewide outlets report before the fact that LAMBORN SUPPORTERS RALLY. Huffpo and Springs activists scramble to get images of said protest sanctioned despite “no protest” sign, find none. Local TV station KOAA which had depicted rally with a photo, hours before it was alleged to happen, omitted to mention photo was from file, conveniently unfocused and likely of a past year election event.

With every shenanigan, the theme resounds: the Colorado Springs establishment supports what Doug Lamborn said about Obama being a Tar Baby.

Racism in Colorado Springs
No one is in denial about the unsavory support behind Doug Lamborn. So does Colorado Springs support his bigotry?

Does the Tea Party shit in Acacia Park? You should see those clan gatherings, you can’t find a parking space for blocks, then it’s a sea of hate-filled white faces, with Doug Lamborn right there up front.

The comment section of every local media blog overflows with indignation that “Tar-Baby” is being construed to be racist. Commentators assert their preference for Freedom of Speech over Political Correctness.

BTW, Colorado Springs is as segregated as Chicago, with black neighborhoods, churches and schools. Many lives never cross the path of another of different ethnicity, so we’re blameless actually when we conclude there’s no racism here.

Except toward Hispanics, grouped conveniently with illegal immigrants, who don’t count, by definition, according to our favorite definition: legality. Same as used to apply to slaves.

The Pikes Peak region was a hotbed of clan activity in the 1930s, and obviously before that. At the turn of the century, the good folks of Limon had to hold up a lynching, make the poor young black boy wait hours in the November cold because hundreds wanted to come on the train from Colorado Springs to see 16-year-old Preston Porter burned alive at the stake.

Lynchings of Native Americans weren’t even recorded, being as they were, sanctioned as vermin control. It was seldom that white men distinguished themselves by speaking out in defense of Indians. Pikes Peak volunteers rode with Colonel Chivington to commit the Sand Creek Massacre.

Today downtown Colorado Springs boasts a lone statue of an African-American, a William Seymour, among the city notables immortalized in bronze. His is the only likeness made to take off his hat, outdoors, I kid you not.

Speaking of which, that was Tar-Baby’s offense.

Brer Rabbit and the Tar-Baby
Brer Rabbit was passing by the little black figure, and called out a friendly hello. But Tar-Baby wouldn’t answer when spoken to. When he wouldn’t even take off his hat, Brer Rabbit figured he’d teach him a lesson. Apparently, it’s not inappropriate to clobber some status of people if they’ve disrespected you.

Of course that was the only way Brer Fox’s plan was going to ensnare the rabbit, to mire him in the tar.

You might ask, how did Brer Fox know that Rabbit was going to mix it up with the Tar Baby? Would Rabbit have laid his hand on the baby if he’d been white? Would it have mattered if a white baby didn’t answer to his greeting?

Put aside that the Tar Baby expression became a racial slur in itself, the original Tar-Baby character impersonated an African-American child who didn’t show the expected deference to a rabbit.

The accompanying images reflect the changing visual representation of Tar-Baby. He makes his first appearance in an early chapter of the Uncle Remus Tales (as collected by Joel Chandler Harris) called “The Wonderful Tar-Baby Story.” Above is one of the original illustrations by artist A.B. Frost. There Brer Fox creates a “baby” made of tar to lure Brer Rabbit into his clutches.

The next images are from Disney versions. First the animated film SONG OF THE SOUTH, then the children’s books which followed.

Disney famously has not released Song Of The South after its theatrical run. The depictions were too ethnic, and Tar-Baby recalled the black-face entertainment that ought not to have so amused white audiences. Black-face is what passes for a negro face to whites. Similarly, a baby made of tar passes for a negro, but only in exaggeration. Oblivious to many, apparently, is that African-Americans are not by any approximation black. If Brer Fox had made a baby out of milk, would white people confuse its color for their flesh tone?

Disney rewrote the tale for its children’s book series, making the tar baby this time out of glue. Not only that, but they gave him ears to resemble a rabbit. This preempted confusing him for a human baby, black or white. Now Brer Rabbit could be seen taking him for his kin, which of course shifts the premise, and might puzzle some children to wonder why Brer Rabbit is so quick to come to blows.

Uncle Remus
Some will probably ask in earnest: are the Uncle Remus tales racist? No, but their context is complicated. The stories emerged from the plantation South, from storytellers who lived in slavery. The lessons imparted are universal, but the particulars were obviously crafted to help slaves come to terms with their unchallengeable fate. Shall I quote a few passages to see if you get the idea?

Brer Tarrypin, he lay back up dar, he did, des es proud ez a nigger wid a cook possum.
–chapter 10

He scrape it clean en lick it dry, en den he go back ter wuk lookin’ mo’ samer dan a nigger w’at de patter-rollers bin had holt un.
–chapter 17

Dey er mighty biggity, dem house niggers is, but I notices dat dey don’t let nuthin’ pass. Dey goes ‘long wid der han’s en der mouf open, en w’at one don’t ketch de tother one do.
-chapter 27

How about this wrenching bit from A Story of War?

Nigger dat knows he’s gwineter git thumped kin sorter fix hisse’f, en I tuck’n fix up like de war wuz gwineter come right in at de front gate.

From chapter 33: Why the Negro is Black:

ONE night, while the little boy was watching Uncle Remus twisting and waxing some shoe-thread, he made what appeared to him to be a very curious discovery. He discovered that the palms of the old man’s hands were as white as his own, and the fact was such a source of wonder that he at last made it the subject of remark. The response of Uncle Remus led to the earnest recital of a piece of unwritten history that must prove interesting to ethnologists.

“Tooby sho de pa’m er my han’s w’ite, honey,” he quietly remarked, “en, w’en it come ter dat, dey wuz a time w’en all de w’ite folks ‘uz black—blacker dan me, kaze I done bin yer so long dat I bin sorter bleach out.”

The little boy laughed. He thought Uncle Remus was making him the victim of one of his jokes; but the youngster was never more mistaken. The old man was serious. Nevertheless, he failed to rebuke the ill-timed mirth of the child, appearing to be altogether engrossed in his work. After a while, he resumed:

“Yasser. Fokes dunner w’at bin yit, let ‘lone w’at gwinter be. Niggers is niggers now, but de time wuz w’en we ‘uz all niggers tergedder.”

“When was that, Uncle Remus?”

“Way back yander. In dem times we ‘uz all un us black; we ‘uz all niggers tergedder, en ‘cordin’ ter all de ‘counts w’at I years fokes ‘uz gittin’ ‘long ’bout ez well in dem days ez dey is now.

But atter ‘w’ile de news come dat dere wuz a pon’ er water some’rs in de naberhood, w’ich ef dey’d git inter dey’d be wash off nice en w’ite,

en den one un um, he fine de place en make er splunge inter de pon’, en come out w’ite ez a town gal.

En den, bless grashus! w’en de fokes seed it, dey make a break fer de pon’,

en dem w’at wuz de soopless, dey got in fus’ en dey come out w’ite;

en dem w’at wuz de nex’ soopless, dey got in nex’, en dey come out merlatters;

en dey wuz sech a crowd un um dat dey mighty nigh use de water up, w’ich w’en dem yuthers come long, de morest dey could do wuz ter paddle about wid der foots en dabble in it wid der han’s.

Dem wuz de niggers, en down ter dis day dey ain’t no w’ite ’bout a nigger ‘ceppin de pa’ms er der han’s en de soles er der foot.”

And my favorite passage, called Turnip Salad:

“How many er you boys,” said he, as he put his basket down, “is done a han’s turn dis day? En yit de week’s done commence. I year talk er niggers dat’s got money in de bank, but I lay hit ain’t none er you fellers. Whar you speck you gwineter git yo’ dinner, en how you speck you gwineter git ‘long?”

“Oh, we sorter knocks ‘roun’ an’ picks up a livin’,” responded one.

“Dat’s w’at make I say w’at I duz,” said Uncle Remus. “Fokes go ’bout in de day-time an’ makes a livin’, an’ you come ‘long w’en dey er res’in’ der bones an’ picks it up. I ain’t no han’ at figgers, but I lay I k’n count up right yer in de san’ en number up how menny days hit’ll be ‘fo’ you ‘er cuppled on ter de chain-gang.”

“De ole man’s holler’n now sho’,” said one of the listeners, gazing with admiration on the venerable old darkey.

“I ain’t takin’ no chances ’bout vittles. Hit’s proned inter me fum de fus dat I got ter eat, en I knows dat I got fer ter grub for w’at I gits. Hit’s agin de mor’l law fer niggers fer ter eat w’en dey don’t wuk, an’ w’en you see um ‘pariently fattenin’ on a’r, you k’n des bet dat ruinashun’s gwine on some’rs.”

What about “nigger”?
When Russel Means writes of today’s economic and anti-democratic troubles, and addresses America’s newly impoverished middle class by saying Welcome to the Reservation, this is the wisdom I think he’s looking to impart. Welcome to niggerdom, Nigger.

With that word now struck from Huckleberry Finn, the concept of “nigger” becomes harder to grasp and can’t teach us its lesson.

Listen to Uncle Remus talk about what it means to be a lowest class being, beneath the interest of humanity, untouchable, as government functionaries like Doug Lamborn would prefer the underclass laborer remain.

It’s against the moral law for niggers to eat when they don’t work. AND
I ain’t handy with figures, but I lay I can count on one hand how many days it’ll be before [“knocking around” will land you niggers] in the chain-gang.

I suggest you reread that last passage of Uncle Remus in its original. Now I’ll try my hand at the last half of that phrase:

It’s against the moral law for niggers to eat when they don’t work, and when you see them apparently fattening on air, you can just bet that ruination is going on somewhere.

W.A.S.P. Triumphalism, Memorial Day and The Wingless Vultures

I swear the Territory Days Triumphalism celebration (Like the so-called “Islamic Triumphalism” rally around the world last September 11th, remember that? They were celebrating Eid, one of their holidays they celebrate every damn year using the same Lunar Calendar the Israelis use. It’s like Famous Racist Jerkoff Mel Gibson if he would actually go so far as saying that Passover is Jewish Triumphalism for killing Jesus) is getting More Racist every year. Anyway, at Territory Days they’re celebrating Custer, Kit Carson, Gen Palmer, Colonel Chivington… claiming once more that the Sand Creek Massacre was instead a necessary battle because the Cheyenne and Arapaho, ama-yetli de sdya da ni ludk, Ka no kwo 'uhwana hisd Tsalagi who had a legal right to be there, were Threatening Being Bad Indians And Not Doing What Their Newly Self-Appointed White Overlords Told Them To Do. The White Overlords who didn’t have a legal right to be there.

They had separate treaties with the Ute chief Ouray to be in Colorado City and Denver, but not where downtown C.S. is now. Ouray, according to the Brochure the Modern Klan organizers of the event are passing around, was a “Good” Indian for honoring the treaties even though Chivington and later Palmer consistently refused to honor.
And, the Military Recruiters are using all the massed White Supremacist Triumphalism AND Memorial Day to get more kids to join up and go fight the New Indian Wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, perhaps soon Iran and Pakistan…Libya, the Sudan, Somalia, Yemen,

They’re two-legged jackals, vultures without wings. They’re chosen to be recruiters because they look pretty in their uniforms and can therefore sell the Pentagon Bullshit effectively. They even get paid annual bonuses for every twenty souls they broker selling them to The Beast.

Using a memorial to the Dead to sell more people unto Death.

My assessment runs from “Tacky” to “Full-on Evil”.

Some will disagree, of course. The difference between my free speech and theirs is that I don’t threaten them with arrest or other forms of violence when they exercise theirs.

Oh, and they rewarded Chief Ouray for honoring the treaties, by passing a law while he was still alive that effectively made it a death penalty offense to be Indian.

It’s probably still on the books. Forbidding anyone to possess the regalia or implements of a Medicine Man.

The picture posted above says “ama-yetli de sdya da ni ludk, Ka no kwo ‘uhwana hisd Tsalagi”

Denver Columbus Day Parade wants to kick indigenous ass

DENVER- Does it look like the COLUMBUS DAY PARADE organizers are practically begging for a comeuppance? Here comes the US cavalry of the American Indian Wars to finish the job Columbus began.
Denver Columbus Day Parade

On Columbus Day, the anniversary which has now become a teaching moment about revisiting the Columbus myth, about the holocaust unleashed by the European discovery, conquest and enslavement of North America, isn’t it rather odd to CALL IN THE CALVARY?
columbus-2-cavalry-capitol

I MEAN, a celebration of Italian Americans is one thing. Is Christopher Columbus the only hero they can muster? Why not the Pope? I’m all for diverting Americans from the stereotype of the Sicilian American Sopranos legacy. But make it about pizza, not the frigging conquest of the American West. Columbus’ own diaries confess his exploitive inhumane designs in Hispaniola. White man western expansion was no less genocidal. Who should be celebrating that?

columbus-6-parade-routeThis squad looks like they’re reenacting Colonel Chivington and his raiders freshly back from the Sand Creek Massacre. Perhaps they are retracing the victory lap the soldiers rode in Denver, festooned with the body parts of their victims, women and children, they exhibited as trophies of their victorious raid on the Indian encampment at Sand Creek.

How fitting that for the modern day route, the western revelers drive Hummers. The glorification of the military is not coincidental, nor perhaps is the celebration of the uneducated. columbus-3-hummer-line
columbus-hummer-bannerDo YOU, for example, count Winston Churchill’s WWII England among your ancestors? Here is the invitation to the 2008 parade:

“On Saturday October 11, 2008, at 10:00AM, we will celebrate the American National Holiday which commemorates Columbus’ contribution to the formation of this great nation. It will also remind each one of us of the blood, sweat and tears our ancestors shed so that we might live and enjoy our lives in the land of the free.”

These are the Denver organizers’ own photos of the 2007 parade. In the next you can catch an unedited glimpse of a protester. And what other can that be but a reactionary scowl?
columbus-4-hummer-hitler

columbus-5-hummer-frown

Here’s what those opposed to the Columbus commemoration are putting together.

1. RACE, RESISTANCE AND THE COLUMBIAN LEGACY
Join nationally-known activist Glenn Spagnuolo, co-founder of Re-create 68, for a night of education and dialogue about race in America and resistance to the Columbian Legacy!
When: 5pm Thursday, October 9, 2008
Where: CU Boulder Campus, Hale Hall Room 240

2. Columbus Day Resistance March and Rally
The annual protest of the Columbus Day Holiday and the racism that it embodies will begin with a march from Four Winds that ends at the Capitol Building followed by a rally for a better future.
When: March starts at 8 am, Rally at 9am, Saturday, October 11
Where: Start of March is at Four Winds at 5th and Bannock in Denver

3. People’s Council
Following the Columbus Day resistance, people will be gathering to organize a new alliance locally that can act as a national vehicle for radicals. Bring your thoughts and cooperative energy. Please come and represent R68.
When: 1pm, Saturday, October 11
Where: The Great Hall at the Iliff School of Theology just past Evans on University Blvd, Denver.

4. Student Walk-out on Racism
Whether you are a student or not, join the students of Iliff, CU Denver, CU Boulder and DU as the educate the public about Denver’s hidden racial past on the 101st Anniversary of the Columbus Holiday. There will be a student walk-out, a short rally, followed by a march to locations with a racial history that will end at Civic Center Park.
When: 12 Noon, Monday, October 13
Where: CU Denver’s Auraria Campus, The Plaza Building Lawn

Sand Creek No Gun Ri

This morning will be the dedication of the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site. The headline of today’s Gazette? “One man’s battle” about whether the 1864 slaughter was a massacre or a battle, and reporting the re-release of a 1925 first hand account written by Irving Howbert who, 61 years after the fact, did not recall the atrocities ascribed to his unit. Whatever kind of near sesquicentenial slap in the face is this? Do you think the prominent placement of this insult could have something to do with blurring America’s vision about current military massacres?

Normally respected Old Colorado City historian Dave Hughes is republishing the book, and wants to repaint the Sand Creek Massacre as, well, not a massacre at all. A quick recap: One early morning in 1864, 700 cavalry volunteers swooped into a village of 500 Arapaho and Cheyenne refugees, killing nearly 200 (the Gazette says 150) committing unmentionable atrocities, following the command “Kill or scalp all, big and little; nits become lice!

I first heard Dave Hughes talk about the glories of war at, of all places, the traveling Vietnam War Memorial. It reflected a myopic immoral tide change I would never have been cynical enough to foresee, and it presaged our national sanction of the US war of aggression against Iraq and acceptable collateral damage. In the shadow of the traveling wall, remembering the 58,000 American dead, where not often enough did someone mention the millions of Vietnamese dead, Dave spoke of his immense pride of commanding his men, suffering the terrible casualties they did in Korea. The heavier the toll, the deeper his pride, the blustery commander was volunteering, if it weren’t for old-age, to do it again. I kid you not. Though he lost half his men to the battle, he would bravely venture more.

Downplaying massacres seems to be Hughes’ game. If you Google No Gun Ri, the now admitted deliberate massacre of hundreds of Korean refugees in 1950, here’s what do you’ll get: Dave Hughes on record standing up for the actions of American machine gunners. Here too, he wasn’t there, and relies on the recollection of soldiers who might have reasons to be blanking out on those parts. For shame. I know and like Dave Hughes, but he’s got a moral screw loose. And as we’ve seen in this town, that’s catching.

Elsewhere in the news, a play opens in London which retells the tragedy of Fallujah, in the actual words of participants on both sides. Authorities note 70 breaches of international conventions by the US forces. Soldiers like Dave Hughes can explain to themselves the necessity of sniping, gassing and obliterating hundreds of civilians in the regular conduct of war. Luckily wiser soldiers and statesmen before them have already addressed man’s bloodlust and agreed there are crimes that must never be rationalized.