Jodi Rave Interview with Ward Churchill 1993
70 minutes of a 130 minute interview conducted November 1993 with Jodi Rave at Boulder, Colorado
So where are you from?
Okay, I'm, from downstate, Illinois, very far downstate, part of the Otero/Old Cairo Crossings aah, and my family, at least that I know about, from the last couple of the family generations, come out of the area you call little Egypt.
What do you mean the family that you know about?
Aah, I know about my mother's side of the family very well, I know nothing about my father's side of the family, my mother and father divorced when I was about seven months old[.] I met my father one time, I didn't ask him to[o] many family questions or any other questions, and I really never tried to pursue it, or never really pursued him, cause it seemed kind of bad for him _____________. So there's a blank on that side. OK, now on my mother's side, their people came up north of, well they got moved they didn't just come north out of Southern Tennessee. ____________The Area__________ the river crossings there. Beginning about 1835 to around 1845 that[Ď]s when, they shifted[--]
Were you just wearing that ear[r]ing?
Aah, yaaa it was on this pin, but then the pin broke off..... I don't think this is going to work OK
Aah, the first one I [k]now about is Joshua Tyner, moved up from South Tennessee into that area about.....
Now who is this Joshua Tyner?
Oh I think he would be what, my Great, Great, probably Great-grandfather since this is 1832.
Great since 1832?
I think, I'd have to look, and the reason I haven't figured it out.....
Now, this is on your mother[']s side?
Yaa, Mother's, Father's side. Actually.
Yaa, probably came on my Mother's side and later in the 1840's.
Came from where?
From Eastern Kentucky. Everybody ended up in these groups __________ they call it Little Egypt at the Shawnee National Forest in Southern Illinois.
Don't know why they call it that, there sure aren't an[y] Shawnees there.
Ok, so how long have you been living in Colorado?
Came at the very end of 1976.
Immediately I came from Wyoming, I had been in South Dakota for about two years before that.
Where were you living in Wyoming?
Gillette, at the University
And what [did] you do?
I was doing mock-ups for a little advertiser paper in ________ and getting away from the South Dakota authorities, this is what I'm doing.
Oh yaa, really?
Yes, I like to _________ one step ahead of the sheriff of Mead County and one step ahead of the John Birch Society, Gillette seemed like a really nice place to be to figure out what to do next.
From the John Birch Society?
Yaa, the John Bircher had a bad case of the _________
They were very irritated by my presence.
Woo. Ok, you want to elaborate on this?
I taught for a year, when I first went to South Dakota when I first moved west out of Peoria, I taught for a year at a little place at Spearfish called Black Hills State College at the time, now known as BLH State University, all right.
They were paying me $7,000 a year, for the year which even in South Dakota you can't live on, and had to commute from Sturgis which was the closest place they could find to live.
And it was Black Hills State College?
That just must have changed just recently?
Yes, about three years ago, the name of the university, it was still a college then. So I agreed to teach some extension courses for them, I thought that once I would do that, and at the Loneman school on Pine Ridge, I would do some workshops there... But what they assigned me to do was to teach the police force in Rapid City.
They were not thrilled, but they had to pay attention in order to pass.
Why did you have to teach them about the American Indian Movement? Was that your choice?
That was my choice, umm, they were suppose[d] to be taking art history, and I decided there were things they needed to know more about than art history.
I had ways of (spending/Spinning) particular points off of history and into the current events in the area. You see.
Ok, that was part of your teaching job, was to teach...?
Which was about Indian history?
Well art history includes Indian art, I had a component on Indian art.
Was this for some culture relations sort of thing?
Yaa, they needed some kind of arts and humanities course in order to fulfill their requirements ok, and Rapid City is just south of Spearfish, so a whole lot of faculty who had been around got paid formal salaries and didn't want to do this shit. And they said, if you do this we will pay you three (3,000) grand. Well, hell, it's half of your salary, so yes, I'll go down there every Saturday, and who am I teaching? The police force. So I had some real bad actors like, Kenny Schoos/Sues, who runs their intelligence unit now, he was a student of mine in 1975.
So this got their attention, because otherwise they weren't paying a whole lot of attention to me.
Yaa. So at what time did the John "Birch Society......
Well, some of those cops were Birchers, so you see how it all begins to fit together.
They were..[.] I was shot at a couple of times and this and that.
Did they put a warrant out for you or something?
Well, they were running warrants for all kinds of strange things, unpaid parking tickets.
Yes, it was a a kind of minor stuff, but you got to remember this South Dakota is a state where a man was sentenced to life in prison for unpaid parking violations.
It wasn't an Indian was it?
No, it was a white man, and it was in the very town I was living in, Sturgis, so you understand the sentence was overturned on appeal, but it gives you an idea and understanding of the attitudes in general about law enforcement in general out there and about Indians and the ways they are treating Indians ..... and most everybody I was working with or everybody I should be working with was on trial, in jail, underground or whatever so there was less of us. It wasn't like I had much to fall back on in terms of the community or friends either.
So you went to Gillette?
Ya, I went to Gillette first.
How long were you there?
60 days. I didn't want to stay in Gillette. I just needed some place to wash up on the beach there and figure out what to do next. (laughing) So I came down here. Worked for Soldier of Fortune Magazine for a couple of months.
And Doing What?
Ahh.. layout and selling ads, and they provided me with the [rolodex] for selling ads. I'm sort of rolling by some of the this stuff in a weird way and biting them together...... but I wanted to find out what their operation was about, so I went in, I know how to do publications and layout and so..... so they had me do this for their magazine because it looked like shit, and so I volunteered to that because that, at that point they gave me the entire [rolodex] of contacts, to call up, so I had all of their connections.... I was running around with the mercenaries, for a while, they figured out who I was, fired my ass.
So you did that for a couple of months back then?
Yep, hired on for the alternative musical paper for the Rocky Mountain Musical Express and a juvenile diversion program at the same time to run a house.... an alternative to jail house for adolescents... which gave me a roof over my head. Ok...
So that [W]hat[']s your question?
When did you..... what were you going to tell me?
Professors aren't suppose[d] to be this way, are they?
Are you going to tell me some things that are interesting?
Not that you haven't been interesting up to this point. [Y]ou say that while you['re] smiling.
Well I had a third job on top of that.... where the school district needed a coordinator ok.... and I got that, well thatís where they kept me and later on Norbert Hill came in the school district and asked me if I'd be willing to take over for him at the University working a ________ program there. Indian EOP, Educational Opportunity Program as they called it. That was in 78.
So you worked with an Indian program. How long did you do that?
Well they tried to mutate it. I worked with it up until they reorganized the EOP into units, two service units, so I ended up, I directed Indian EOP for the last three months of its existence. ok, so Norbert went over to AISES and then during the period of reorganization, transferred a piece out of each program. So all the Hispanic counselors and all the Asian counselors were put into an overall counseling unit..... The piece I ended up with was Special Projects, they called it educational development program, so EOP merger thing, reorganization probably happened in 81, if I remember right, the outcome of that was EDP, and I directed that until 1988 or 9, when they did another merger with EDP under the university learning center until and the university learning center until 1990.
Yes, Rick used to be my upward bound director.
Oh really? and in 1990 you left?
Ya, in 1990 I took a leave and went back to Alfred University as a visiting scholar.
And where is Alfred University?
Its in up state New York.
What kind of school is that?
It[']s a small back state and private liberal arts school, about 2,000 students, almost all white...2 Indians, 20 blacks, a couple of Asians and everybody else is white. So when I come back here.....
So it[']s just Liberal Arts, like
Yaa, they have a high profile, their emphasis is on ceramics, both art ceramics and stuff like computers, silicone stuff, it[']s like world class, if not.... and when I got back to, you see there's this other stuff that orbits about it. So I wasn't teaching ceramics., but I was the other part.
Upstate New York, is there a town name?
New York. [S]o you got your bachelors there?
ohh Degrees, I got degrees before I left Illinois.
Yaa... I got a BA and MA in communications
BA and an MA?
Yaaa.. In communications at a little place called Sangamon State University..... Springfield Illinois.
What year was this[?]
Got my BA in 74, and my MA in 75 and then I went on to South Dakota
To Pine Ridge?
Just North of Pine Ridge. I went to Pine Ridge first and then I lived north of the reservation.
Where is that?
Where I was living... Sturgis, that's when I was teaching in Spearfish. Kind of looped back around here now.
When was it you began teaching as a professor?
Ok, when I came back from Alfred.... Kay Howe who is the Vice Chancellor over those units, who is doing that now, Gene Delaney, I guess is the acting vice chancellor now, ok.... thatís when I continued my leave, I had a years leave, so I continued my leave here, so I could teach at SERA, I helped start SERA up, but I was not faculty. There is no Indian faculty.... That is the Center for the Studies of Ethnicity and Race in America, the ethnic studies program.
[You] helped set that up?
Ya, there was no Indian faculty to do it, so I was in that as CERA ULC director, ok so in the spring of 91, which was when I came back from Alfred I taught there, alright and interviewed for a position.
So you got another degree at....?
At Alfred, no I was there to teach, but then they brought me back... this is where it gets complicated, they brought me back for [their] 1992 commencement and gave me an honorary doctorate degree during the commencement address at Alfred, ya
Right, I interviewed that spring for a position.
So have you been teaching long[?]
This is my third year.
I taught courses you know. When I was ELC director, but I was not faculty.
So are you considered full time faculty?
How long have you been that, three years?
This is my third year, so how does that work, the fall of 91, 92, 93 yaa... ok. So I came in as an Associate Professor, tenured, and this is unusual.
You came tenured. How could you do that, because you were working in the ULC?
Um... I had teaching experience, ten books.
Is that how many you have written now? When did you write your first one?
Ahh, the first one I actually wrote was published in 89, I had two books, I edited a book in 1983, Marxism and Native Americans, that came out in 83, it[']s a collection of essays, mine and others people on the subject and I co-authored another one the following year, a short one on the same kind of subject.
What do you consider to be your best?
Best one.... the one that is coming out next month will be the best
[You] have one coming out next month, what do you call it?
Indians R us. Kind a like the toy company.
Indians R us?
That[']s how it was, the toy company has explained it is going to sue us, so we changed it to ARE see, right and added a question mark and they are still going to sue us.
They are, even if you['re] going to spell it?
Indian R us
No, Indians Are Us?
And it[']s coming out next month?
[Y]aa, what ever I've done last, is what I did best[.] Should be out by November. Actually the most important one is Agents of Repression that I did with Jim Vander Wall.
[I]t[']s the most important?
Yaa, probably. Jim is his first name, VANDER WALL.
He is a coauthor. it that what...?
Yaa, we did two books together, and that was the most important in a lot ....?...... It appears to have had the most impact, I'd say ....?..... the one I like best is Struggle for the Land. People don't want read about Indian land rights much.
Ok, so how old are you?
46, a battering old fool, yaa.
Do you have any kids?
I've got two step-children, step-sons.
How old are they?
One is 25, one is 19 and I've got a foster daughter who if she was still living would be 27 at this point, and one who was killed by an IBM executive in 1982, he never made it past twenty-one.
Killed by an IBM executive?
Girl or Boy?
What is the story on that?
He was having a thing with a girl about two years younger, out in the sub-division, actually they weren't even romantically involved... they were just good friends, he was having problems with her successor boyfriend and he was up in the room talking to her about it, came downstairs and her old man had just come home and he was drunk, got a shotgun and said you were upstairs with my daughter. He said, it was probably true that he was trying to scare him, but the gun was loaded and he fired a shotgun.
Did he do any time for that?
He did three years, and then they put on a, it[']s not a witness protection, but it[']s like witness protection, they give you a place to be, yaa, and then I had cops all over me, you know, in case I might do something to him.
Is this [your] biological son?
Foster son, I ran into these kids when I was running that alternative thing, I got them when they were like 12 or 13 years old.
Now the alternative program here?
Yaa it[']s in Boulder, attention homes, attention not detention for Boulder County Youth.
[Were] they mostly all Native?
No, three native kids came through there, these are small residential programs. The one I ran with my ex-wife was five kids. Alright and they would stay an average of one year, we stayed three years so we got a dozen kids, three of them were native kids. One Chicano, one black kid and the rest white, that Boulder.
So are you married?
How many times have you been married?
Twice, well.... I actually got married once, I got divorced once, I didn't get married, but I got divorced, then I got married, but I'm not divorced.
Wait, you have been married twice or what?
According to me, according to my way, according to anything reasonable as far as I'm concerned I've been married only the one time. The one I'm married to now. All right, Colorado common law said, you need to hear this.... if you share domicile with someone of the opposite sex for 24 hours or more and/or sign into a hotel as husband and wife you are in fact legally married.
Are you sure?
Yes I am, first it cost me $30,000, I'm sure.
Yaa, I had lived with this woman a little longer than 24 hours but that is the law, alright, so I got a divorce before I got married, then I married, but have not been divorced.
Alright, OK... so
So what can I tell you, this is the truth.
So where is your wife from currently, your only wife?
My wife is from, Mesa Arizona just outside of Phoenix
And her name is, I've met her.
Yes, Annette James
I remember. I worked at Alternative Voices Radio Station.
Yaa, she came down and did the thing with Susie Aickman, was she awake?
Yaa. Was I awake? That is another thing.
Well I know I wasn't, so..
What do [you] consider your greatest, now [you're] in the paper a lot.. I tuned into the radio the other day, and you were, [you're] all over the place.
Babble, Babble, yaa ok.
So, and [you're] controversial also.
I just read an issue of Indian Country Today.
Yep, my old buddy Tim Giago.
He didn't write that article did he?
No, but he ordered the guy who did it, and one of two things happened. The reporter either quit or Tim fired him because of it.
Wait a minute.
Well, Jerry Reynolds no longer works for Indian Country Today.
After that article?
After he was assigned this, he didn't seem to be too comfortable doing what he was doing.
So that just came out just recently. Was he fired?
Well he is no longer there.
How do you know?
I called up to give him my compliments on the article. I thought he did a good job with it. Except he miss-represented my position, in the sense that, it's a little confusing, but it sounded like I was calling everybody that was enrolled an ass licker of the federal government, which I never said. I said people who were trying to impose that standard as a sole classification for an Indian identity were ass lickers of the federal government. And I was talking about Tim Giago, Suzan Harjo, David Bradley and that bunch, you know.
What do you think of Suzan Harjo?
What do I think of her?
Yaa, because I know she had another article that she wrote. I have it.
I just wrote a letter in response to that, Using her as an example of what I was actually talking about so that people who were just enrolled, thinking I was calling them names, I am not.
Was she just enrolled?
Very recently, politically - she's always been a Muscogee ok, she's enrolled as a Southern Cheyenne, now how the hell does that happen?
Yaa, tell me.
She's [waving] her enrollment papers around, now she never had any, all right. The whole time she was chair of NCAI she never had any.
Thank you. I'm glad you clarified that because I've heard people say she was on Oprah Winfrey as an Indian advocate and some said I don't think she's enrolled.
She got herself enrolled, she is connected to Westman? That is a political arrangement, ok, Suzan Harjo is a red headed radio personality for WBAI in New York who once interviewed Russ [Means] and Dennis [Banks] when they were in town you know.
Ahh, [you're] kidding?
Became an AIM groupie, married this guy, I can't remember his first name. Harjo all right? Next thing she's a Creek, well traditionally maybe, well traditionally he'd become a non-Creek, I guess because it[']s matrilineal. In any event maybe by marriage or getting adopted or becoming a naturalized citizen you can be Creek by definition. She was always running around trying to be a Muscogee. Then, she... encounters lady ferrell? The red hair turns black and she becomes an enrolled Southern Cheyenne. Now she runs around [waving] her enrollment papers before the ink can dry.
How did she get Southern Cheyenne papers?
That's a good question. You'll have to call Southern Cheyenne, to get an answer to that. Because I donít know anybody else that knows. I know I will say I'll talk about this because she's made it an issue denouncing everybody who didn't have paper work that she suddenly encountered as being non-0Indian, a fraud, an imposter and rip-off.
What year do you think she ha[d] the Southern Cheyenne enrollment papers?
I think about four years ago, because people tell me it[']s more recent than that, but I think it was four years ago or something like that.
She just got them?
Yaa, she was in her mid-forties, I mean she had a whole career as an Indian before she got her enrollment papers. So now if people who arenít enrolled are ripping off Indians, then she's a professional rip-off by her own definition. I don't happen to share her definition. But she is condemning herself.
How do you feel when people bring this up. I mean make a big deal about you're supposedly, well I read in the article that you say you aren't enrolled.
Never have, In fact I say I am (I'd rather not/not going) to be enrolled and I'm adopted Metis which they are careful to explain, specifically means French and Indian mixture in Canada, but there is no classification for that mixed blood status down here, so I sorta borrowed it. You know and thats why I borrowed it, because I don't want to misrepresent it, I don't claim to be part of a Nation specifically and on their [rolls]. I also am part German. Funny thing nobody jumps up and gets all offended because I say I'm part German because I'm not a German citizen you know. I am who I am, I say who I am and if they don't like it - fuck em.
Nice scholarly approach to it.
Well, that's good.
That's what Phillip Deer told me a long time ago. I talked to the old people, it's what they told me. That's who I listened to.
Who is Phillip Deer?
A Creek spiritual leader. Very important man. He is dead now. Ya know, I listened to my elders, I listened to my grandmother. Suzan Harjo is neither.
Is there something you want to tell me about yourself? Describe yourself, how do you view yourself and everything [you're] involved in - You've done so much and [you're] watching? so many things.
Yaa, I never outgrew my anger and injustice makes me angry.
You never outgrew your anger?
They always talk about how you grow out of it, all right.
Ok. [A]nger from what?
What I encountered is circumstances that I encountered, Ok by myself and other people when I'm around and I have my own Ė pick a point and where do I start?
Pick a point where you want to start, the Indians are always fighting the Italians where I grew up,.. There was that, but that is kinda like unformed, it[']s just eh way things are done. I came back from Viet Nam a very angry individual and I've never gotten any less angry - anger has changed its form, hopefully it[']s become more focused and more constructive in its application. And that is something that some of the old people talked about [to] me too, you can't continue to do things the way [you're] doing them.
Because I was heavy into physical confrontation in the late 70's a lot of us were,. The time of Yellow Thunder when we were trying to make the decision about going toe to toe with the feds again and defend that by arms if necessary. Mathew King and some people came and asked, maybe you don't want to do this., Maybe we need you to be around a little longer than this. They were talking to Russ [Means], they were talking to me and they were talking to a bunch of us, yaa know.
What is then, one of the most difficult moments or situation?
Waking up in the morning in what was called Indian Country in 1968 and finding out I was a member of the 7th Calvary. Not literally, there was a 7th Calvary.
In the morning in what they called Indian Country, this is what hostile territory is called in Viet Nam, yaa know, I figured I was a member of the Calvary and not the Indians.
That experience kind of changed my life.
In which way?
I decided to get on the right side, which isn't with the Calvary, it wasn't with the United States. And just about everything I've done since then was drawn from that experience and all kinds of things have added on. But everything has been very, I can make sense of it, [i]t's been very consistent in that way. Then, I'm always engaged, I never stop, I'm never unplugged.
Do you?.. that article that Susan wrote, I suppose you didn't cut it out and save it did you?
Suzan wrote an article about me?
There was something. I don't remember anything specific about you, but she wrote an article, it must have been about enrollment in the Lakota Times editorial se[--]
Ooh, that was about Raina Green, on Raina Green.
Raina is a Cherokee that works the Smithsonian that is not enrolled, Cherokee enrollment is a little weird - ok - they say straight up, you got to ......... enrollment it[']s got to say straight up, that you can be enrolled as a Cherokee with any degree of blood, you can be 200th, what-ever, so long as you can trace your lineage to someone who is enrolled on the Dawes, original Dawes Rolls 1907, ok, unfortunately this is exactly what is said, "Unfortunately Cherokees resident to Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Texas can not be enrolled." No, it doesn't say, if you think [you're] Cherokee, want to be Cherokee, it says straight up, Cherokee can not be enrolled. Wilma Mankiller wrote a letter to her, Raina[,] saying this is the situation. According to the regs ......? although she's Cherokee, they can't enroll her. And Harjo is still hammering away at her as an imposter fraud. I say that is an intervention in the sovereignty of the tribal nation, ok, what business does a Cheyenne have in passing judgment on the membership decision of the Cherokees. What business does anyone have. that's an internal Cherokee decision its an act of self-determination... don't tell me [youíre] trying to over-ride the sovereign determination of the Cherokee Nation in the name of Cherokee sovereignty.
It's none of your business.
Do you mind, this stuff that we talked about Susan, which is another point I'd like to [bring] out, can I print all this?
Just making sure.
Anything I donít want you to print, I won't say.
I believe you. I'm the same way, I won't say anything I don't want printed. yaa, I'm going to bring that out, because. I don't know, it's for my finals.
Do you want a couple of other sacred cows? the guy who passed the arts and crafts act - out of the house, his name is Ben Campbell, became Ben Nighthorse Campbell late in his life. We call him Ben Nightmare Campbell and he's a Northern Cheyenne, he says, he's enrolled as a Northern Cheyenne. Northern Cheyenne requires quarter Northern Cheyenne quantum. Ben himself admits he's not sure what his quantum is.
Doesn't his enrollment[--] does he have enrollment papers?
And doesn't it say his blood quantum on there?
He doesn't know what his blood quantum is, so how did he get enrolled. And if we are making exceptions for people like him, how is it he passes a piece of legislation, that makes it a felony subject to 10, no 15 years in federal prison and a million dollar fine for misrepresenting himself without a certificate of degree of Indian blood, without a federal enrollment, enrolled in a federally recognized tribe - you see what I'm saying?
And this guy made a career being an Indian artist before he was ever enrolled and then became a political figure and got his act passed.
So isn't one of his parents?
Yaa, ....tss well, he's Cheyenne, I don't question that. What I question is his imposing a set of regs on everyone and then making exceptions for yourself.
How are you saying he is making an exception for himself?
If you can't say what [y]our blood quantum is, how can you say you meet the quarter blood standard? And if you can't say for sure that you do then how can you be enrolled? That's the requirement, I'm not saying that the requirement is right, it just is the requirement.
True, but isn't one of his parents Indian?
To some extent. Does that make him an 1/8th Cheyenne, 1/16, quarter, three quarters, what? He doesn't know. And if he doesn't know how can the tribe know? And if the tribe don't know, how can they enroll him?
But they did.
But they did.
Do you know why?
Because he was a Congressman.
He didn't get enrolled until he was a Congressman?
That is right.
The last deputy commissioner of the BIA was enrolled as part of the process of getting him the job at Pascua Yaqui, whose rolls are closed. They opened it for this one guy who couldnít say very much about his ancestry, but they decided it would be really good to add the commissioner of Indian affairs to the Pascua Yacui (sp)
So what is that last word [you're] saying?
Now what is that?
That is in Arizona. It's a recently recognized tribe ok, they did all their paper work and they enrolled all of their members, and still take applications but they have some fairly strict standards. Which are bullshit, but that's still their standards ok, essentially their rolls are closed. They opened them back up for this guy.
I can't remember his name right now, but his was the last commissioner of Indian Affairs under George Bush. All right, so they opened it up so this mysterious figure becomes enrolled as a Pascua Yaqui and they close the rolls again, and then he becomes the commissioner on Indian Affairs. Ok. David Bradley, the king pin of the NCAIA, National Council of the American Indian Artists or whatever it[']s called down in Santa Fe.
Is he from Santa Fe?
He is a Santa Fe Indian. Alright, he is enrolled as a White Earth Chippewa, but that[']s, I guess maybe he is enrolled early on, but he didn't know it.
So is he from up north?
Well that's where he was born, that's where his family is from, he was adopted out and didn't know anything about it until he was about 17. Then they arranged for it because he was a good painter to go to IAIA and suddenly he is a super Indian.
He didnít know he was an Indian?
He has never lived amongst his people. He lives in Santa Fe by choice, Then he is a Chippewa and he has attacked every Cherokee painter in[--]
Has he attacked you to[o]?
Well, yes, but to be fair about it, only after I attacked him.
Because he went after Jimmie Durham.
Who is Jimmie Durham?
He is Wolf Clan Cherokee on the Arkansas side, so he couldnít be enrolled. He is a member of AIM security. He was the founding director of the International Indian Treaty Council and he got, when it was still a viable organization, he got all that U.N. stiff started, almost single-handedly. He has been an activist on behalf of Indian rights for all of his adult life. David Bradley hasn't lifted one god-damned finger, or acted on behalf of anyone's rights, all right? And he burned out on the activism stuff and went back to painting. That's what he done, so...
Yaa, he got a lot of, he's good. And he was starting to get attention[.] And so Bradley singled him out.
He's not enrolled?
No, and doesn't want to be.
But he is India...
Jimmie is stone Indian, Jimmie is a stone Indian. I mean, Jimmie you can look at him and see he is an Indian.
Jimmie has forgotten more about his culture, his heritage and his family than Bradley is ever going to know about his. Jimmie has lived poor, hard and bad in behalf of Indian people all of his adult life, David Bradley has never, and this little punk has the audacity to stand up and discredit Jimmie in order to make a name for himself so he can sell his paintings, so he can live in Santa Fe like a yuppie. Ok, I call him a hang around the fort Indian. You know, a federal puppet. That's when he started coming after me, and you throw rocks at people you can expect them to throw them back.
And what kind of, where is he from?
He is from the very western portion of Arkansas, just across the line from Oklahoma, that is where his whole family is from.
From Arkansas? What kind of Indians are from Arkansas?
Well he is Wolf Clan Cherokee.
That is the name of the tribe?
Naa, just Cherokee, his clan is wolf clan. He can trace his ancestry back to 1750 or something like that.
Well what I'm going to do is just have something to go on for this. I'm going to type it up, the information I have and then when I get some specific questions I'll talk to you again, Thatís ok. what do you think is driving these people to speak out and try to discredit people like yourself or Jimmie Durham?
It is [their] own sense of confusion, their own sense of self interest perverted as it may be. The same thing that drove little big man to grab Crazy Horse by the arms, I'm not Crazy Horse, I'm not saying that, I am talking about the impulse of these people, ok, none of the people who are being attacked are Crazy Horse but the people who are doing the attacking, are acting in the same way Little Big Man acted when he grabbed Crazy Horse's arms and held him IMMOBILE so that the generals of the U.S. government can bayonet him in the stomach twice, The same thing motivated the Goons on Pine Ridge to attack the traditionals and AIM, they are aligned with the federal government because they perceive in their insecurity that they must align with power,. It is a false power, but that[']s what they perceive is the way, all right.
A false power?
Yes, the federal government is not a valid power, it is an illusion of power, but they are confused by it, they are confused about themselves, the[y] are confused about who they are. The have nothing else going for them ok, so in order to make them feel better about themselves they'll destroy anybody else that has anything going for themselves at all. If you notice that everyone who is being attacked is an activist who is in opposition to the federal government in one way or another. And the people doing the attacking, with one possible exception and that is Vernon Bellecourt, who I think is a FED in any event, they have a long history of direct association and service to the federal government, Suzan Harjo......
What is her association with the federal government?
She is a lobbyist and constituent, she is a consultant right now., She has been a lobbyist for the whole period she was with NCAI, and that's what the organization does, ok, is reach accommodations with the government on how legislation will be passed to control Indians.
Is that how you see it?
Ok, I never heard of it put that way. [T]hat's why you are interesting because you give a totally different point of view where normally people see NCAI as a benefit[;] a strong organized group of Indians to better the lives of Indians around the country. What you said was, well it puts a different twist on it anyway.
Yaa. You see, does the government of France put lobbyists in Washington DC to get the federal government to pass legislation so that they can manifest their self-determining sovereign [prerogatives]? No, why in the hell would one country go to another country to get legislation passed so it can exercise its sovereignty? Huh.... all [they're] doing is validating federal authority when they do that.
So you would never become a member then?
Never have, don't see why I should start now. Alright, it doesn't mean I won't talk to them ok, there are other Indians, I look at them at being more colonized in.. the sense that they buy into the colonization and think it is a valid structure, but no, I wouldn't ever work for them, I would never participate. Would you?
That's not my question. And Jerry Reynolds was fired after he wrote that article?
Reynolds, I don't know why he was fired, but he was very upset.
Did he come out here[?] [H]ow did they do that interview?
I met him last year on Columbus Day.
That article isnít from the interview where [you're] involved is it?
No, but he met me then and we had done some talking around these issues while he was here and then Giago assigned him to go down this hit list, I mean it just wasn't me they focused [on in] the article, they had about fifteen people. And Giago decided to be security police, self-appointed, he was going to challenge their integrity as individuals, or whatever, and Reynolds says he went down the list getting increasing[ly] upset aw what ever it was he was assigned to do, alright. Well, he really didn't trash anybody but Roxanne Ortiz, who was self-trashing. I mean she misrepresented herself in so many different ways it's hard to say anything nice about her. Now since he didnít trash anybody but the obvious target, I'd say it's an odds[-]on possibility that he was effectively fired by Tim Giago who will in any event print the stuff, I will say that about Tim. He will if you send him stuff, usually print it, or in the alternative, Reynolds was so disgusted with the whole routine, the accusations were being hurled by people like me against Giago were being borne out in the process, either way he is no longer with the paper and it is directly related to this.
And either way Jerry Reynolds comes off with an integrity that Tim Giago lacks.
Ok. I would like to send this to the Lakota Times.
(Break in the Tape for new cassette while discussion goes on)
The particular thing we were talking about, I donít believe the guy intended it that way, it's just the way it looked, the way he put it.
Explain that again. He called....
He quoted me, you know, with regard to the enrollment thing, as saying those people I consider to be ass-lickers of the federal government.
That's the question see, that is the question[.] It wasn't really nailed down who I was talking about and it could be interpreted to say I was talking about all enrolled Indians are ass-lickers of the federal government in my view, that's not what I said. It's not what I meant.
Ok, specifically I was talking about Suzan Harjo, Tim Giago, right. So I have responded to Indian Country Today on that, compl[i]mented the guy on his story because I thought he did a pretty good job with it overall, but this misrepresented my problem.
Did you send this to Indian Country?
Yes I did
Did they print it?
Well, we'll see, ok, and I used Su[z]an Harjo as an example of what I considered to be an ass-licker. You know, and I named them, who it was who I meant, including the publisher of the paper.
[probably Rave speaking] They won't print it.
Hard to say. Giago is a weird guy, you know.
You are right he does print a lot of things. I guess I'm kinda surprised he does. So you call those kind of people... ass-lickers. what are those kind of people?
Those who take a position of enforcing upon their own, the imposition, preexisting imposition of federal authority and federal regulations, and federal priorities. They are acting in service to the federal government at the expense of their people, in my opinion, for personal gain, alright. In the tradition of the hang-around-the-fort Indians, those who hung around the fort, took trade goods and stuff in exchange for rubber stamping land cessations and all kinds of things they had no authority to do from their own people, alright., And we could name a bunch of them, you know who they are, just as I do, historically.
Now we're talking about the contemporary ones.
Do you mind. I am going to go home and start writing my article, not this minute but can I call you...? because I won't see you until next Tuesday.....
Thatís right and your article is [due]....
Can I call you at home?
Yes, you can and then you have to tear the paper up when you are done, chew it and swallow it so it never leaves your possession.
The one where my phone number is written on.
It's my high security line, 661-9550.
Ok. I am anxious to get this written, I will be objective, It will be good.
Because it is going to be objective. Everything I've seen, Ward, is either negative, or it's mostly negative, but I think your point of view... I can be objective and see your point of view in this. (Churchill laughs) I can, but anyway ok my next question. That's what I was saying, now the majority of our class over there is white, I don't know if they are aware of the controversy that you create in Indian Country.... amongst those that know.
[end of transcript]