Thursday, December 15, 2005

Westword plays catch up

Westword's "The Message" this week finally carries an item on the brouhaha between the Rocky Mountain News and the Colorado American Indian Movement, this one caused by Rocky editorial page editor Vince Carroll's November 18 piece on the death of Native American scholar Vine Deloria. "The Message's" Michael Roberts isn't specific about what Carroll said in the piece about (in Carroll's words) "the wacky nature of some of [Deloria's] views," but Carroll, while acknowledging Deloria's "sense of humor" and "influential" work, wrote that,
in Red Earth, White Lies: Native Americans and the Myth of Scientific Fact (1996), Deloria rejected the Bering land bridge theory of prehistoric migration to the Western Hemisphere since he believed Indians existed here "at the beginning" - probably as contemporaries of dinosaurs. And this bizarre claim only hints at his contempt for much science.
Colorado AIM didn't like that a'tall, of course, as pointed out at the time by Pirate Ballerina (who later added examples of Deloria's wackiness), and they particularly didn't like the fact that Carroll's piece was published on the day of Deloria's funeral. The predictable series of demands followed (Carroll fired, Rocky apologize, establishment of a monthly column "to publicize indigenous perspectives on topical issues of importance," and another apology for the Rocky's role in "inciting and celebrating" the Sand Creek Massacre in 1864), and when these, inexplicably, weren't met, the predictable lackluster protest took place, this one in front of the Rocky's offices (which, also predictably, the Rocky didn't report).

Roberts adds nothing new to the story, but at least closes with a promise of further conflict:
With the Rocky unwilling to talk, Colorado AIM-ers met earlier this month to mull over what to do next about l'affaire Deloria. A boycott was among the actions on the table, but in the end, they took a more mysterious path. Spokeswoman Carol Berry says, "We plan to make the racist policies of the newspaper clear throughout Indian country."
But why only in "Indian country?" Don't the rest of us get to be in on the fun? Sounds a little racist to me.

(via, of all places, Romenesko)

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