A second pillar of white supremacy is the logic of genocide. This logic holds that indigenous peoples must disappear. In fact, they must always be disappearing, in order to allow non-indigenous peoples rightful claim over this land. Through this logic of genocide, non-Native peoples then become the rightful inheritors of all that was indigenous-land, resources, indigenous spirituality, or culture.
–Andrea Smith (“Heteropatriarchy and the Three Pillars of White Supremacy” from The Color of Violence)
I had seen enough from the previews to think I wasn’t going to like Disney’s The Lone Ranger, but I wanted to actually view the film before judging it.
The Lone Ranger opens with a young turn-of-the-century white boy, dressed in a Lone Ranger costume, attending a carnival in San Francisco that includes a quasi-historical display of what can only be described as the conquered west. The boy passes displays of a buffalo, a grizzly bear, and finally “The Noble Savage,” a wax-like figurine who turns out to be none other than Tonto, or “THE Tonto!?!” as the amazed white boy exclaims.
Tonto expresses himself in the classic incorrect-personal pronoun Indian speak. There is no way that a Lone Ranger film could have been made without a shout-out to the 1930s radio series that first introduced/fabricated Tonto’s distinct style of speech. But unlike other iconic and even idiosyncratic speaking styles, e.g. Star War’s Yoda, Tonto actually represents a real ethnicity. As Randy Woodley, Keetoowah Cherokee (legal descendant) observed, Tonto’s speech demonstrates a paternalistic white view of Native Americans in the same way that “me love you long time” stands in for Asians/Asian Americans. Disney could have easily dealt with the nostalgic aspects of the series and legitimate native concerns by having the Tonto character address the Lone Ranger directly “You think all Indian talk like this? We don’t and we never have” and continue with normal dialogue (a confrontation that actually happened in the 1980s Lone Ranger comics). Continue reading
On January 16, 1893, 162 American sailors and Marines sallied forth from the USS Boston and took up positions around American installations in Honolulu. Without firing a shot, this intervention changed the history of the Hawaiian people forever.
In the months prior to the January 16th invasion, monarch Queen Lili’uokolani sought to amend the Hawaiian Constitution in an effort to restore native rights and sovereignty. Six years earlier, her brother and predecessor, David Kalakaua, was forced by what amounted to a white settler aristocracy into signing the “Bayonet Constitution” which stripped the monarchy of its powers, installed a white-led legislature and disenfranchised natives, Japanese, Chinese, Filipinos and pretty much anyone who wasn’t white. Queen Lili’uokolani’s proposed reforms had broad public support from the majority of Hawaiian citizens, except for those in the Euro-American landed “Reform Party” (a.k.a. Missionary Party”).
Alarmed by overwhelming evidence of an imminent coup attempt against the Queen, the Royal Guard assembled, with a final count of slightly less than 500 volunteers and Hawaiian regulars. They were opposed by 1,500 “Honolulu Rifles,” white militiamen who owed their allegiance to the now insurgent Reform Party.
Sensing the danger of open, armed conflict in the city streets with not only the Honolulu Rifles, but also the US military, Queen Lili’uokolani ordered Hawaiian forces to stand down and voluntarily abdicated her throne: Continue reading
A few days ago, former President of Guatemala Rios Montt was FINALLY convicted of genocide against Indigenous Mayan villages, land “needed” for development. Now, we in the US have culpability as well.
The Reagan administration should face charges of being accomplices to crimes against humanity. Reagan helped Montt in his genocide on many different levels including propaganda and cover up. The US trained military leaders, and the US & Israel supplied all the arms which were used to murder untold thousands of innocent people in the most gruesome ways including rape, strangling, cutting babies out of pregnant women, making whole villages dig their own mass graves, etc (sound familiar?).
Beyond this, I call for all Evangelical radio and television talk show hosts from the 1980s who both interviewed, defended and lauded Montt as a “born again” Christian in order to push the conservative economic (Reganomics) agenda, to repent publicly and attempt to make restitution to the families of the Guatemalan survivors. Otherwise, you continue to misrepresent Christ and as Paul says, “crucify him anew!” You Christian talk show hosts should show integrity and show your repentance so we can learn from our mistakes and help restore the villages and families who have lived through hell.
I remember well as a young radio announcer at KRKS in Denver broadcasting the programs who pushed Montt’s faith in Christ and the fight against non-capitalistic economic ideologies as if capitalism was somehow a prerequisite of Christianity.
Finally, I ask, what atrocities are we currently contributing to and covering up? We need to look at war, power, trade agreements and see what is really going on. Can we keep our heads buried in the sand and not be held accountable? I don’t think so. What true follower of Christ would want to?
a circle of grass
by the prayers of dancers.
A ring of drums
the smell of burning sage.
A light breeze and a warm sun.
We’re gonna sing an honor song
For our Brother Richard Twiss.”
The sound of
drums and voices lifted up.
Can you hear them Richard?
The saints sing to honor you.
clothed in buckskin and feathers,
Beads and shells.
Leading them all is one whose hands and feet are pierced.
the grass sprouts through his soles,
the sun shines through his palms.
Can you see him Richard?
The Son of God dances to honor you
and welcomes you home.
You stood with your people
And now you dance with our Creator.
I will miss you Richard.
by Daniel Fan
As the final days of 2012 wound down, I, like most Americans, found myself thinking a lot about the children and families connected with the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting. It felt personal to me because I know what it is like to have experienced gun violence first hand. I also know what it is like to have lost someone I love through the violent act of another. So with this in mind, I would like to join this conversation. Here’s my story….
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Tagged christian, Christianity, Church, colonialism, Community, Diversity, Emergent Village, Ethnic Space, ethnicity, God, Indigenous, jesus, Native american, Race, Randy Woodley, Theology
Hi again. It’s me, Daniel. I figured I’d write early just in case my letter got lost or you saw my list and decided to procrastinate a couple weeks before starting (honestly, that’s what I would do). Oh, and it’s ok if you want to sit down before continuing. In fact, it would definitely be safer.
Okay, here goes.
Last year, I asked you to send me a producer or two and at least one major movie studio that would be interested in filming a powerful and moving epic about the formation of the Hawaiian Kingdom, based on true events, historical research, and interviews with indigenous sources. So you know that production part? Yeah, it sort of didn’t happen. I’m not saying I’m not grateful for the awards my screenplay won, but, as far as props go, I was kind of going for the kind you get after the movie gets made.
So, I kind of figure thatcha owe me.
And I think I came up with a couple of ideas that would be easier to pull off than motivating Hollywood to make a film that wasn’t just about white men killing each other, white men saving this planet, white men saving a different planet, white men romancing brown women, or some combination of the above.
I’d like to ask you to give me one of the following:
- World decolonization: Sort of like “World Peace,” but better. Give back the gift of land—the gift that keeps on giving. I’m not saying “instantly send everybody back where they came from.” Fitting that many settler colonials in with all the presents you already have to deliver would be tough, even with your magical bottomless bag. And with my luck I’d be stuck between some kid’s soon-to-be pet hedgehog and a medieval re-enactor’s authentically spikey morningstar. But land reparations, or at least an honest offer of reparations has to be part of reconciliation with colonized peoples. I think you could even package it in gift wrapping that would say “Restoring the Land to its People: building relationships, not reservations.” See, I already did half the work for you. Continue reading