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Stereotype of the Month Entry

Another Stereotype of the Month entry:

I have a cousin who is one of the Kickapoo attorneys. It hasn't seem to register with this writer that states have no jurisdiction over Native American tribes. It also hasn't seemed important enough to mention the income the state(s) realize from Indian income, businesses and jobs in their region. Interesting journistic approach. Ignorance is rarely funny, but this comes close. Unfortunately, this ignorance will spread a lot of misconceptions and possible repercussions to tribes in Kansas.



Date: Mon, 22 Sep 2003 09:23:37 -0700
From: Andre Cramblit <andrekar@ncidc.org>
Subject: Pond Scum (racist musings)

email address and fax number for the Osage County Chronical:

fax 785-654-3438

Subject: Fw: Anti_Indian editorial

This is from the recent "Talk Sense" column by Jim Griffin printed recently in the

The Osage County Chronical
401 Market Street
Osage City, KS 66523
(785) 528-3215

"Once again folks, it is time for POND SCUM OF THE MONTH! This month's pond scum just happens to be the Kickapoo Indian Tribe.

I was reading the Topeka Capital Journal a couple of weeks ago, and they had a story about how the Upper Delaware River was just about dried up. The Kickapoo leaders were complaining that they didn't have much drinking water, and that Congress had promised them taxpayer money several years ago, which was intended to build the Plum Creek reservoir. Except Congress has never given anyone the funds yet.

I know what some of you are thinking? But Jimbo! We need to help those poor poverty-stricken, helpless Native Americans? Well folks, for those of you who don't get out enough? Those poor Kickapoo Indians own the Golden Eagle Casino, which rakes in millions of dollars a year in profits! And one of the things that irritates me about those so-called journalists from the Topeka Capital-Journal, is they never ask tough questions! It seems they wouldn't want to offend an Indian? If I had been doing that story? I would have set down with the tribal leader and said, now look here Sitting Bull, or whatever the heck your name is! Just what are you doing with all of that Casino money, that you can't take care of your own water problem? Maybe if you people put the bottle down once in awhile, you might be able to quit mooching of the American taxpayer? Folks! It makes me madder than a wet hen when millionaires mooch off the rest of us! Some of you may wonder? Just where is the Kickapoo Indian Reservation? Well folks! You drive about 30 miles north of Topeka and then go east a few miles, and you can tell by the large supply of empty bottles lining the ditches that you are on the Reservation! As many of you know, I am a big fan of old western movies! I was thinking the other day about all of the old John Wayne westerns and how he had Indians attack him all the time. And did you ever once hear of John Wayne being attacked by the Kickapoo Tribe? he was always fighting off the Apaches, the Souix, the Navajo, but never the Kickapoo! Just why was that? Maybe some of you are thinking that he should have, because the Kickapoo are in Kansas? Wrong folks! The Kickapoo are originally from the Wisconsin area, and the reason the wound up here is because a bunch of dairy-farming cheese-eaters whipped them good and sent them to us! And now, we the Kansas people who allowed them to own their own casino, have to listen to them whine and complain for more tax-dollars even though they are now millionaires! Have you ever been to the Golden Eagle Casino? Have you ever seen an Indian sitting out front holding a sign that said "WILL WORK FOR FOOD"? Heck no you haven't! There isn't any Indians starving on that reservation! Have we become so stupid that we now allow the rich to spend our tax dollars just because they are too cheap to spend their own money? And just how come, we the people of Kansas, get stuck with all the wimpy Indians that have names like Kickapoo, Potawatamie, and Sac and Fox?

I used to to work with a friend of mine whose Dad was Potawatamie, and his mom was Kickapoo and I told him that made him a Pot-a-poo! Maybe the Kickapoo Indians are living in the wrong country? Many Americans view Indians as worthless drunks! Maybe we should build them a reservation in another country such as Ireland? Just imagine folks! In Ireland, our Indians would seem to be respectable citizens compared to the hard-drinking ancestors that I have!

Comment from a Native

"Ditches full of bottles" tell you are near the Kickapoo reservation? That doesn't even make sense. Why would any of the Natives leave that rez to drive elsewhere? Can you prove a bunch of happy NON natives didn't throw stuff out their car windows on their way home from the casino? And, with all that casino $$$$, don't you think the Indians would've hired someone to keep the place clean, rather than lay themselves open to the jibes of the likes of YOU? Sitting Bull was an honored Lakota Indian, of historic import. Your tacky sideways sneer at that isn't respectful.

Potawatamie, Sac and Fox, etc.—those are the names given tribes by the whites who did not understand, nor speak, the language. Close, maybe—no cigar.

Jim Thorpe, All American, one of the century's greatest athletes—was Sac and Fox.

Your lack of education shows if you can only name tribes out of a John Wayne movie (whose birth name was Marion—guess you knew that, too?) We have at this writing some 570 Federal Tribes, over 250 waiting in line for BIA recognition. Hundreds more were destroyed, moved, splintered upon contact so rapidly their names are lost in the shroud of time. Your writing reminds me of school yard name calling—juvenile rhetoric to mask fear feelings of inadequacy.

You, Mr. Griffin, are ignorant, hateful, racist, a bigot, and, if not physically, then verbally, a bully. You don't even respect your own ancestry from Ireland. I will offer prayer for your ancestors, who are shamed by you, deserve better. Had they not survived, you would not be here, to do whatever it is you do. You certainly are not using your venue towards solving the problem, you are part of it.

Sheila Spencer Stover aka Firehair Shining Spirit
Delaware/Minisink Band

Rob's comment
Besides Griffin's inability to punctuate his sentences, his premise is flawed in several ways:

  • Who says the Kickapoo are millionaires? If they were, they'd be the wealthiest tribe in the country. That distinction usually goes to the Pequots with their Foxwoods Casino.
  • The Kickapoo tribe is probably spending its casino revenues on necessary government services, as required by the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. Because the tribe is making up for decades of inadequate federal funding, it may very well be spending all its money on these services. If so, that wouldn't leave any funds for large-scale water projects.
  • The Kickapoo tribe probably doesn't have jurisdiction over the Plum Creek reservoir. Any number of legal or jurisdictional questions could prevent them from taking responsibility for the reservoir. That Griffin assumes otherwise shows he isn't arguing rationally. He's ranting like a racist, as Firehair correctly noted.
  • Related links
    The facts about Indian gaming
    Greedy Indians
    Drunken Indians

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