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Topic: Yeagley, what's with this article?< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 08 2003,19:51  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I read this article that is getting emailed all over the place. What is your reaction to it?

Harjo: One small and unworthy man

Posted: February 07, 2003 - 10:43am EST
by: Suzan Shown Harjo / Columnist / Indian Country Today

You probably never heard of David A. Yeagley. He’s the darling of the right wingnuts, especially David Horowitz, who pays Yeagley for columns that attack Indians (mostly women) and advocate ultra-conservative positions.

While parroting the Horowitz line against affirmative action, Yeagley is a virtual poster child for getting a leg up because he is, as he writes incessantly, "an enrolled Comanche."
Nearly a lifer of a student, he claims credentials from Arizona, Emory, Hartford, Harvard, Oberlin and Yale, and describes himself as a pianist, composer, lyricist, portrait artist, social worker, gourd dancer, flute player and professor of humanities and psychology.

Yeagley’s Web site claims that he teaches at the University of Oklahoma’s College of Liberal Arts. OU doesn’t have one of those, but it does have a College of Liberal Studies, which is quick to point out that Yeagley taught only "one course, one time" in the fall of 2001. The Horowitz Web site also falsely states that Yeagley teaches at OU.

His brush with greatness occurred when he was fired from Oklahoma State University for, as he claims, "being conservative" and promoting "patriotism" in the classroom. He later lobbied for a state bill to require public education courses on patriotism. When it fell short of passage, he blamed the failure on a "lone leftist" legislator.

In response to 9-11, he wrote a stereotype-laden column, "Comanche War Cry," and Horowitz put him on the road as part of his take-back-our-campuses campaign to "expose the leftist plot to control America’s young minds."

Yeagley doesn’t write columns or give speeches about any big ideas or anything that could help Native nations or people. His writes ad nauseam about how Indian symbols in sports are good for Indians. He attempts to discredit anyone who disagrees, using the same tired arguments made by non-Indians with fanatical attachments to Indian mascots.
Yeagley hangs on for dear life to those "Indian" symbols, as if they define him. He views them, of course, as an honor.
His "Indian" twist on the issue is that it’s "ethnic cleansing to remove all Indian mascots and monikers from American schools." As if that weren’t shrill enough, he calls it "virtual genocide" and likens it to the forced marches of Indian people from their homes in the 1800s.

While he does seem to have read a book or two about Indian history, there’s nothing in his writing to suggest any knowledge of tribal ways and protocols or involvement with actual Indian people.

The only Indian he seems to like is Betty Gross, a Sioux woman who also earns her living from conservative white men. Gross and Yeagley scouted for the "Sports Illustrated" article that denounced the many Indians who want to get rid of Indian references in sports and propped up the few who want to keep them.

Yeagley has a penchant for dropping names of prominent Indians. Those who have been the target of his snarkiness in print don’t know him and most never heard of him.
The more he publishes, the more he reveals his ignorance about Indian country. He recently referred to the National Indian Education Association as a state organization and called it and three California health and education groups "communist-style organizations" that "want to rule people, not represent people."

What was their offense? Like the vast majority of Native people, they called for an end to Native references in sports.
Yeagley makes some of his money from people who exploit and stereotype Indians in their sports programs, and he’s trying to make a lot more. He never misses a chance to call Indian people names when they try to stop these practices. As with his employers, it doesn’t register with him that name-calling is what the whole thing is about anyway.

Juanita Pahdopony, a renowned Comanche educator, poet and artist, says, "Mascots perpetuate bigotry" and "hurt the esteem of Indian children."

Recently, when a high school in Nyack, N.Y., hired Yeagley to fight Indian people seeking to remove its Indian sports symbols, Pahdopony asked: "Why didn’t (Nyack) fly me in? I’m Comanche; taught at Comanche Nation College; culturally ‘connected’ to the tribe; live in the community; advocate for Native people."

She would like to know when Yeagley has voted in Comanche General Council or visited or given back to the Comanche community.

Pahdopony takes Yeagley to task for calling the Mashantucket Pequots "black people" and questioning their tribal status.
"Today, I challenge his connection to the Comanche culture and Comanche people," says Pahdopony.

Yeagley writes that there are 12 groups in Connecticut seeking federal recognition and "all of their members would be seen as white or black, if judged by appearance alone."

Yeagley, who resembles the white men who used to wear feathers and tan pancake make-up for old cowboy-and-Indian movies, writes hysterically about the "dilution of Indian bloodlines" as a "national crisis." He says that, "unless common sense prevails, the final extermination of the American Indian does not seem far away."

He shrieks about being a warrior and a patriot, but has never faced combat or donned a uniform. The closest he’s been to war was a visit in 2001 to the Museum of the U.S. Army 45th Infantry Division in Oklahoma City. He wrote about the "Indian signs and emblems" there, but missed the myriad images of real Indian people.

My father’s picture is displayed in that Museum as one of the WWII Indian Thunderbirds from Company C (for Chilocco Indian School). Most of them were wounded or killed in North Africa and Southern Europe, and were highly decorated for valor and heroism. Dad also is a member of the Red Sticks Society of Muscogee (Creek) Nation combat veterans.

In addition to being a warrior and patriot, my father wants sports teams to retire their Indian-related names and images. This puts him in the category of Indians Yeagley belittles and calls names. But, Yeagley’s gum flapping about war and patriotism and what is offensive to Indians are puny indeed beside the real thing.

Yeagley wrote that he came away from the Thunderbird Museum "feeling like one small and unworthy man." On this one point, Yeagley is right on the money.

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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 08 2003,20:15 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Frankly, it's the same kind of juvenile pettiness that Harjo often writes.  

It's funny, when she writes about something I may agree with, I don't see all her faults as a writer.  But, naturally, since this is against me, I see all the errors, the slants, the implications, the accusations, in blazing color.  Now how can I have confidence in anything she writes, or has written in the past?  

It would take all night to unravel every subtle or obvious error, so, suffice it to say, it's a free country.   I may decide it remove it from BadEagle.com, but I didn't want to insult you.  You're new.  Maybe you're sincere.  Then again, maybe you just wanted everyone to see it here on BadEagle.com, because you're happy with it.

Indian Country Today is free to print or not print.  So is BadEagle.com.  

We'll see.  Why don't you ask about the points that you think are most important.  I'll try to respond to those.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 08 2003,22:08 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

It is conduct such as Harjo's that has helped "radicalize" me.

I used to think that leftists were mistaken, but acting in good faith.

Over the past ten years, I have slowly, step by step been drawn to the position that the motivating force behind the left is capital "E" Evil.

You just don't see conservatives or other decent people grinding out malicious screeds like Harjo's, even where a good deal of scorn might be thought warranted.

For that matter, leftists engage in many kinds of discreditable behavior that one rarely if ever sees to the right of them.

Where is the person of whom it can truly be said, "He's a leftist; but he's a good person?"

The story of the Garden may be allegorical, but one thing we can learn from it is that the Evil One introduces evil into the world by whispering into the ears of the gullible.

How else did something as toxic, as suicidal, as repugnant to all that is good as leftism enter the world?

Harjo's hatespeech is but a faint echo of its source, but carries the stench of brimstone with it all the same.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 08 2003,22:28 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I agree with you, DSC, on the spirit and tone of Harjo's piece.
I can only pray I haven't indulged the same.  The political world is a horrible place, really, but, I'm afraid its a necessary place.

Now, let start first with the last part of her article, with her mockery of my respect for the U.S. Military museum.   Here she disgraces all servicemen.  She implies I am unworthy to respect them.   They must only be respected by those worthy of them.  And if I disagree with her on anything, I am unworthy to respect them.  Well, there goes their neighborhood, and there goes their country.

Then she thinks bragging about her father's worthy service somehow makes her qualified to comment on the Indian warrior image.   Well, she can certainly quote her father's sentiments, which we all respect.  I will say, he is the first American Indian veteran I've ever heard of who is against the mascots, logos, or Indian names.   For that informaton, I am interested and appreciatory to know.  But, this does not at all validate or qualify Suzan Harjo's opinions about mascots, or anything else.  Shall we then count up our family and relative veterans and take a poll of their opinions?  

She shows no respect for servicemen here, but only uses her fathers service to validate her own opinion.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 08 2003,22:53 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

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He shrieks about being a warrior and a patriot, but has never faced combat or donned a uniform. The closest he's been to war was a visit in 2001 to the Museum of the U.S. Army 45th Infantry Division in Oklahoma City. He wrote about the "Indian signs and emblems" there, but missed the myriad images of real Indian people.


4th par. from bottom

Well, if there's no such thing as a warrior or patriot unless he wears the military uniform, then, again, there goes the neighborhood, and there goes the country.

There are many reasons why many people are not in the service.   There are health reasons, age reasons, handicap reasons, bad vision reasons, etc.  To limit the warrior image to the military or patriotism to the uniform, is precisely what I'm trying not to do.  I've been saying all along, we all need to be warriors, like providers, protectors, respecting other people, being truthful.  These things are mighty challenges today.  It takes a warrior to put the grocery cart back in the store, instead of leaving in in the parking lot, so someone else will have to deal with it.

So, Harjo validates my point completely, unbeknowns to herself, apparently.  By her definition, there are no warrior or patriots except in the service.   The rest of us are incapable of character.  I wonder if she supports the military.  

I missed "the images of real Indian people," she says.  I'm not sure what she means by that.   Does she mean Indians among the soldiers, in the pictures?  

Does she mean images of Indians today, in real life?   What are those images?  Drunks, diabetics, drug addicts, child abusers, wife abusers, criminals?   College teachers?  Office workers?  

I'll be the first to recognize, the activists (a term I have never, ever used in reference to myself) are creating a horrible image of the Indian now.  The American public is coming to see Indians as the last in line of the minority belly-achers, trouble makers, picking at straws (mascots, logos,) and protesting everything about America.   The reservations are seen as horrid habitations of international crooks, dealers, and havens for escapees, and also as places of poverty, depression, and hopelessness.  

What say you about these images, Ms.Harjo?   I prefer the Indian warrior image, any day.   That's the image we need to look at.   I prefer that all Indians be patriots.  Yes, a white color worker Indian can be an Indian warrior too.  Everyone must be a warrior, in one way or another.  

Our Indian fathers earned this image for us.  Why remove it?  Let's use it, to everyone's advantage.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 08 2003,23:09 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

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Yeagley, who resembles the white men who used to wear feathers and tan pancake make-up for old cowboy-and-Indian movies, writes hysterically about the "dilution of Indian bloodlines" as a "national crisis." He says that, "unless common sense prevails, the final extermination of the American Indian does not seem far away."


Is this a criticism?  I'm missing the point.  Is darker skin what makes the Indian?   Then I suppose all African Americans are at least partly Indian.  Most of them claim to be anyway.  

I've never met Ms.Harjo.  I don't know what she looks like.  I don't know what picture she's seen of me.  I suppose for my next pictures I'll demand a dimmer light, so I'll look darker.  

I think my point speaks for itself.  Ms.Harjo apparently thought so too, since she didn't counter it with anything. She was preoccupied with trying to denigrate me, and once again validated my point, inadvertently.  Intermarriage is the bloodless path to annihilation.  

I don't think there's anything wrong with wanted to preserve one's race.  Lot's of people want to destroy race altogether.  These people are called communists, I believe.  They don't want any racial distinctions.  They're communist on that point, anyway.  Of course, only those people who have studied something about communism would know that.  Otherwise, their attitude comes naturally from some distorted notion of "equality."  You're not allowed to love your own race, because that "offends" someone of a different race.

Need we ask what Ms.Harjo thinks of the white race?
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 08 2003,23:39 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

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Juanita Pahdopony, a renowned Comanche educator, poet and artist, says, "Mascots perpetuate bigotry" and "hurt the esteem of Indian children."

Recently, when a high school in Nyack, N.Y., hired Yeagley to fight Indian people seeking to remove its Indian sports symbols, Pahdopony asked: "Why didn't (Nyack) fly me in? I'm Comanche; taught at Comanche Nation College; culturally "connected" to the tribe; live in the community; advocate for Native people."

She would like to know when Yeagley has voted in Comanche General Council or visited or given back to the Comanche community.

Pahdopony takes Yeagley to task for calling the Mashantucket Pequots "black people" and questioning their tribal status.

"Today, I challenge his connection to the Comanche culture and Comanche people," says Pahdopony.


Well, this is just too bad.  Pahdopony would probably be disappointed to see this on Indian Country Today.  I posted on her twice, January 9 and 10 on the BadEagle Journal.  I said nothing untrue or dishonorable.  I'm going to believe now that Pahdopony surely regrets the use Harjo has made of her.  

I have never said anything disrespectful or untrue of another Comanche.  I have never sought to denigrate or insult Comanches.   Let's hope that's not what Pahdopony is doing, though that's what Harjo makes her appear to do.  I'll not say anything further of Pahdopony.  If she wants to know anything about me, let her ask me herself, and not let Harjo do the asking in a national newspaper--which does not accommodate public response. 

But for those onlookers, wondering what's up with these Indian women, I'll just say that the media has distorted a lot of our Indian ways of communicating.  The media has encouraged Indians to behave in ways outside our traditions.  Media is not in our tradition.   Things get out of hand, very fast.  

My mother was the first Comanche woman ever to serve on the trible committee.  Woogie Watchataker, Kassinavoid, and a few other men asked her to serve.   That was a while ago, true.  Comanches know my family.

The first scholarship ever to be named after a Comanche was named in honor of my uncle, Ret.U.S.Marine Lt.Col. Raymond C. Portillo.  It was at Cameron University, Lawton, OK.  I think that was in 1993 or 94.  It has since been replaced with a different name scholarship, because of.....well, I said I wasn't going to saying anything against Comanches...

I could go on and on about my family. My mother's sister was the first Comanche woman to enter the doctoral field of anesthesiology.  Navy Lt. Edna Marie Portillo.  

I don't expect the "challenges" to end, however, no matter what I reveal or say.  I respect my own family too much to toss them into this endless round of useless and pointless accusations.  

I usually just say, "Fine!  You're more Indian than me!"  That should settle all arguments.  This is generally the first and only discussion you here among Indians, especially Indians who haven't met each other before.  Attack mode is first.  Each Indian just wants to say "I'm more Indian than you."

Why?  Because its terribly special to be Indian.  Everyone knows it.  It means something, beyond what most of us can articulate.  Yes, it's a fact:  Indians often compete with one another for the authority, the power, that comes with it.
Especially is the competition hot in professional circles in the media.  This is what is happening here.  Nothing more, or less.

What do I give to Comanche people?   We should all ask ourselves that, Ms.Pahdopony.   I know what I think about my visions for the future.  I'm not in doubt about it.  I ask you to wait and see.  

I want us to love America.  That is my message.  Our brightest future lies in this path, not in licking unhealable wounds.  Self-esteem for children isn't developed by telling them how horribly wronged our people have been.  I preach strength, not weakness.  This is the warrior's message.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 09 2003,06:03 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

"I want us to love America.  That is my message.  Our brightest future lies in this path, not in licking unhealable wounds.  Self-esteem for children isn't developed by telling them how horribly wronged our people have been.  I preach strength, not weakness.  This is the warrior's message."

And that is a message that the left will always reject.

Why? Because evil always attacks good. That is its nature.

When I was born in Beaumont, Texas in 1951, I had blonde hair and green eyes. My father was in Korea, and my mother, afraid (she later told me) of discrimination, checked "white" on my birth certificate.

My father didn't come back from Korea. They never even found his body. I was raised white in a neighborhood that was mixed white and Indian. (All the blacks lived over in "ni**ertown," southeast OKC around the medical school.) There were Indians in my school, but no blacks.

I learned back then that when you look white and can't prove Indian blood, you don't claim it around "real" Indians, but I still hung out with them a lot.

I guess for Harjo and a lot of people, my fraction of Indian blood is meaningless, and it's wrong of me even to mention it. But it's always meant a lot to me. Maybe it explains the affinity I've always had for Indians.

One of the toughest duties I had in the military was investigating the death of an Indian I considered a friend, even though I was an officer and he was an E-5.

While Bush has done a lot of things that disappointed me since he was elected, there are really no grounds for the vicious hatred the left directs his way. The very depth of the left's hatred, viewed in light of Bush's actual record, is an indication that something is seriously wrong, spiritually and intellectually, in their camp.

I guess I don't qualify as an "Indian veteran," but I'm a veteran who served with Indians and would be a friend to the Indian cause, and as such, I think Harjo and her ilk are doing Indians a great disservice by trying to lead them down "the black man's road."
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 09 2003,07:07 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thank you, DSC.  You revealed a lot by your post! I hope people catch it.  It is really quite wonderful.

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Yeagley makes some of his money from people who exploit and stereotype Indians in their sports programs, and he's trying to make a lot more. He never misses a chance to call Indian people names when they try to stop these practices. As with his employers, it doesn't register with him that name-calling is what the whole thing is about anyway.


Is this another case of the pot calling the kettle black?  I wish I did make money, like everyone thinks I do.  If poverty validated one's Indianness or spirituality, I'd be a shaman for sure.  

But, for the record,  (which I've already written elsewhere), please call me "savage,"  "wild Indian," "redskin," and whatever else represents the most coveted states of being--those of freedom, independence, and distinction.  Identify me with the untamed, classify me in Nature.  

Harjo should understand what non-Indians really mean when they use these terms.   It is hidden beneath the surface.  But, then, racial agitation (invented by Communists) is all about the surface.   It's all about usurping words.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 09 2003,07:30 Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

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What was their offense? Like the vast majority of Native people, they called for an end to Native references in sports.


Vast majorty?   On what data is this based?  Hopefully not the Indian Country Today poll of August 7, 2001.   I queried the newspaper twice, with no response, about this poll.  

It has absolutely no scietific value.  There are no stats, just percentages.   It does not say how many Indians were polled, where they were polled, or any other vital survey info.  There has been, I repeat for the hundreth time, only one scientific survey Indians.  That was Sports Illustrated, March 4, 2002.   Harjo just doesn't have the facts to back her statement up, even if in some aggrandized subjective way it's true.  The work of surveying Indians has not been done.   That is the fact, even though I put merit in the SI poll.  

By the way, I don't like the term "native."  It generally refers to our more "primitive" states.  I'd rather be called "savage" than native.  I'm offended by the word native.  I'm assuming Harjo means American Indians, but, native means anyone who was born here on this continent.
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