Monday, October 03, 2005

Anti-Columbus Day group makes an offer Denver will refuse

The group is Transform Columbus Day, a front for the Colorado American Indian Movement of which Ward Churchill and Glenn Morris have been leaders for many years. The Rocky's Charlie Brennan has the report:

Activists presented Mayor John Hickenlooper today with four requests they say must be met to avoid a confrontation Saturday between Columbus Day parade participants and those who oppose it. Their letter to Hickenlooper and to the city council asks the following:

  • That Hickenlooper and the Council make an "unequivocal declaration that celebrations of Christopher Columbus should end in Denver because such displays are historically flawed, and divisive to our community."

  • That the city facilitate a dialogue with members of the American Indian and Italian-American communities to foster better relations and create celebrations that honor all groups and their contributions "to the Americas."

  • That money previously spent on "paying overtime to riot police" be spent, in part, on health, homelessness and educational projects involving American Indian
    people in Denver."

  • That the Mayor and Council endorse a review of the Denver Public Schools for the teaching about Columbus and "U.S. policy of expansion."

    The letter, from the Leadership Council of the American Indian Movement of Colorado and the Elders' Council of the Colorado AIM chapter, states that if those request [sic] are met, it will withdraw its plans to protest Saturday's Columbus Day parade. The activists' letter asks for a city response by Thursday.

  • Gee, Ward, is that all? Heck, if you'd just told us what you wanted 15 years ago we could have avoided all these stupid protests. So, okay, we'll stifle the Italians' right to free speech, celebrate the Sandinistas' contribution to the Americas (oh, sorry Ward, you didn't like the Sandinistas much either, did you?), give tons of money to leftist organizations you do like, and teach our children that America has committed and continues to commit genocide against Native Americans.

    Anything else?

    By the way, after last year's Columbus Day debacle and its aftermath the city passed two ordinances in an effort, according to the Denver Post, to "thwart chaos" during the parade. Transform Columbus Day's response?

    "The city is fighting the last war with these ordinances," said Mark Cohen, a member of the Transform Columbus Day Alliance. "They passed these ordinances based on what we did last year, and what we plan on doing this year is different." Cohen declined to elaborate, other than to say the protests would involve street theater. "It will be a creative way to make the parade organizers aware of what it is they're actually celebrating."

    Now, some might think this means "Cue the giant puppets!" But remember, Wardo hates giant puppets as much as right-wingers do. His preferred street theater, in fact, has always been violence. Look for lots of arrests this year.

    Update: Commenter Shawn at Pirate Ballerina points out that on its website Colorado AIM says Churchill is on a leave of absence from the Leadership Council of the group. Can't vouch for Shawn nohow since I don't know him, but he continues quite interestingly (fourth comment) that

    I was in Boulder this weekend, and I heard that Churchill wasn’t going to be around for Columbus Day b/c he was going to meet with Hugo Chavez in Venezuela this week. The story went that Churchill was going to try to rehabilitate himself in Indian circles by striking a deal with Chavez to bring cheap oil to some reservations through the Venezuelan-owned Citgo Oil Co. Hmmm?

    Shawn must move in some odd circles, but Chutch has done stranger (and nastier) things than that. And it is odd that nowhere in the recent spate of Post/News articles is Churchill quoted or mentioned more than peripherally in TCD plans for this year's protest.

    Update II: I keep forgetting to mention that Colorado AIM now has a blog.

    Update III: Hickenlooper's refusal.

    Update IV: Pirate Ballerina found a recent Indian Country Today article that seems to confirm Shawn's claim that Venezuela might supply cheap oil to reservations and other indigenous communities. No mention of Churchill specifically, though.

    Update V: Shawn responds to my request for further info on the same PB thread (11th comment):

    Sorry, jgm, I’m not Charlie Brennan[*], although I do appreciate his journalism. I just wanted to say how I got the previous info on Churchill. My sister works as a waitress at Illegal Pete’s restaurant in Boulder. She was working when Churchill and Co. came into eat—I think that it was Churchill and his wife and Russell Means and his wife. Churchill was showing off his new passport, and talking about the invitation to go to Venezuela. My sister said that she overheard Churchill say that the leave of absence from Colorado AIM was his idea because of all of the hassles about his case, and he didn’t want to cause distractions for the Columbus protests. She also said that Russell Means isn’t going to be around for the protests this year because he is making some movie up in Canada. One of my sister’s co-workers is taking Churchill’s class this semester at CU, and she is trying to find out more of the details about this story. I’ll try to let you know what I find out.
    *In denying he is Charlie Brennan, Shawn is referring to a commenter on another thread at PB who, remarkably, also labors under the initials "jgm" and who said he or she thought Shawn was, indeed, Charlie Brennan. Cynical reporter though he is, it never even crossed this jgm's lumpy little brain that Shawn was Charlie Brennan. Ward Churchill, yes, Brennan, no. That's a joke.

    Anyway, no Ward or Russell Means for Columbus Day. Around here that's like not having Grandma over for Thanksgiving.

    Update VI, 10/6/05 RMN: "Columbus Day clash on tap."

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