SAN FRANCISCO -- Bill Means, Lakota, said there is no issue more important than racism. The racism of sports mascots continues the frontier mentality that led to the mass murder of Indian people. In Wounded Knee, more than 300 men, women and children were killed. This is the kind of racism there is in sports mascots, Means said, remembering the Dakotas who were hanged in Minnesota. It is the same mentality left over from Sand Creek when women and children were massacred. "These are the roots of racism we face today," Means said as he introduced the panel on Racism in Sports at the AIM West Conference on Nov. 22, 2014. Remembering Raymond Yellow Thunder, Means sang the AIM song. Means offered a tribute to Bob Humphry who just passed to the Spirit World and was at Wounded Knee. On the Racism in Sports panel today is Kris Longoria, co-chair of Bay Area Coalition against Racism in Sports; Dr. Jesse Johnson, whose real name is Maka Blu Wakpa, Sacred Sites Protection and Rights of Indigenous Tribes; Ms. Angel Heart, Sacred Sites Protection and Rights of Indigenous Tribes; Clyde Bellecourt, cofounder of American Indian Movement. Clyde Bellecourt, AIM cofounder, described how he was shot in the heart area at Wounded Knee and presumed to be dead, but his work was not finished. Listen to Clyde describe his dream and how it revealed that the Indian women and children must be in the forefront. Jacqueline Keeler, writer and activist, Dineh and Yankton Dakota, of Eradicating Offensive Native Mascotry, spoke as a mother on the real damage from racist images. "Mascots obscure our reality," Keeler said. She added that Native youths are paying the price for non-Indians who use racist images as a form of entertainment. Dahlton Brown, Stanford Student American Indian Organization, spoke on efforts at Stanford to halt racist images and racism in theater. Spike Moss said America has divided and conquered in order to wage war on one another. Moss encouraged everyone to teach others to be conscious, to be conscious of these divisions and wars orchestrated by the US government. "Washington is a place full of lies," said Moss who spent his life in the Civil Rights Movement and supporting the American Indian Movement. He said today libraries and public places in the US are named after the followers of Hitler. "The madness we follow in this country is what was taught to us." Moss said people "must get their minds right." "Don't allow them to write our religion and culture." "We've got to move from the madness. Most of our people are confused by America," Moss said of what is happening to people of color. Bill Means said AIM and Minneapolis schools entered into a memorandum agreement to eliminate racism, and to implement the true history of American Indian people. Means said it took five years of a coalition working with the school board to bring about change. He described how his grandson was counting in Lakota one day, then Dakota. Means told him, "That's music my grandson, that's music." Raquel Arthur, Paiute, said media is telling people what to think, what to buy, and trying to give people a way to escape. Raquel's father Webster Arthur, Nez Perce, described how the first Thanksgiving was a feast that followed the slaughter of Native People. Webster Arthur also described the profiling and jailing of Native Americans. He pointed out how the young, rich and white are not profiled in this country. "I'm proud of being Indian and I'm proud of all the Indians." Jean Whitehorse, Dine', described what is happening on the Navajo Nation. Jean said her father was a Navajo Code Talker. She said it was a disgrace when Redskins caps were given to Navajo Code Talkers. Jean recommended I is not for Indian, for appropriate reading for children as opposed to the biased and racist books often available in schools. Wounded Knee on Sacred Places Wounded Knee de Campo spoke on the protection and defense of sacred places, during the conclusion of the two day AIM West gathering. Wounded Knee spoke of the Keystone XL tarsands pipeline and the threat that remains when a new US Congress convenes. This pipeline is threatening the water sources of Native people. Wounded Knee said it is time to protect the sacred, protect the water, and protect Glen Cove in California. He said there is no ceremony to undo the damages of removing a sacred place. A threat looms for the Columbia River, with the shipment of coal. What will happen to this river and the Lummi people who depend on this river for their fish, Wounded Knee asked. "Whenever you travel to the Spirit World, and when you meet your ancestors, what will you tell your ancestors?" Wounded Knee asked. "The truth must be told of what happened to our people," he said, remembering the pain, suffering and struggle. Wounded Knee said Native people were put in boarding schools and denied the right to speak their own languages. "Racism in this country will always exist." Wounded Knee asked: What does a tomahawk chop mean to Indigenous Peoples? He said it was a Frenchman that began this tomahawk chop. Drumming, chanting and singing is the way of the Native people, he said. "I am not a chief, I am a warrior." Wounded Knee said his job is to protect the women, children and men. "I don't have fear. When I go in to the Sweatlodge, I ask for strength. I don't ask for money, you can't take it with you." Wounded Knee, remembering the words of Spike Moss here earlier, said he knows of the runaway slaves who came to Native villages. Wounded Knee said tomorrow, as they protest the racist mascot in Santa Clara, there may people along the way there to sabotage the efforts of Native protesters, or there could be infiltrators. He said, "Just keep walking." He said he learned a great deal on the Longest Walks across America. "Remember tomorrow you will be in prayer for your ancestors." "They scalped our people. They skinned our people."
Watch the videos from Friday and Saturday and listen to all the talks and comments.
AIM West Conference 2014 links at Censored News
Dineh Jean Whitehorse: Boarding schools, relocation and sterilization of Native American women