Another Stereotype of the Month entry:
A lot of blarney spews forth on who discovered America
Mar. 30, 2003 12:00 AM
Political Insider is a tongue-in-cheek look at the past week in Arizona politics.
Man alive, we have got to start checking out more of these House committee hearings. Such as the one when Rep. Colette Rosati declared two weeks ago that the Irish discovered America. As Johnny Carson used to say, we did not know that. Luckily they save these meetings on tape.
Rosati made the statement while questioning a representative of the Hopi Indian Tribe about ongoing issues with water on the remote northern Arizona reservation. The presenter was explaining that lack of water and economic development was driving young people away from the tight-knit Hopi community.
Rosati, a freshman Republican from Scottsdale, interrupted the talk with some observations. Such as, why is it bad that Hopis move away? And what is the draw of staying in a place with no water and no jobs?
It was like a polite, sweet-voiced version of the late Sam Kinison's rant on starving Ethiopians ("Move! Go where the food is!").
After all, leaving a place of low-opportunity to go seek your fortune elsewhere is a key facet of our nation's history, Rosati said.
"My thoughts are this," she forewarned. "Most of the people of North America are not from North America. We were initially settled by the Irish, who left Ireland because of the potato famine."
It would be easy to make a joke here—something like, "We think she's confusing 'America' with 'green beer'"—but that would be beneath us. But it's not beneath Rep. Bill Brotherton, D-Phoenix, who said, "Who is she talking about, Christopher O'Columbus?"
The Vikings might have a quibble here, too.
The Hopi presenter was very gracious. He patiently explained that the Hopis have occupied their small spot on the globe for over 1,000 years, and if they dispersed, so too would their cultural identity.
Scientists would claim no one was originally from North America. But by any standard, Indian people were here first.
Why do people stay in any rural town in America when they could find more opportunities in a big city? That people apply this charge only to Indians is thinly veiled racism. The implication is that Indians stay put because they enjoy the easy life of welfare recipients.
The "outdated" reservation system
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