Guns, mascots, and casinos: Native American life in real time

Dr. David Yeagley shares his thoughts on the realities facing Native Americans in this follow-up to our interview. Photo: Conor Ogle (Flickr)

FLORIDA, July 4, 2012 — The interview was completed days ago, but the conversation was far from over.

“I’ve been trying to establish talking points about Indians for conservative pundits for years,” David Yeagley explains. “Limbaugh, Ingraham, Hannity, they are all painfully ignorant, embarrassed, and really don’t like the subject of Indians. Then years I’ve been at it, and have not been able to turn this bias around. The liberals scooped up the Indian image, warped it into the slovenly dependent, pitiful, miserable left-over. It suits the liberal agenda.”

No argument there, sad to say.

“Apparently it suits the conservative talkers as well,” he continues. “But they just leave it alone, period. And they make fun and condemn Indians when and if they ever do make a comment. More on this later.”

This is usually where the columnist interjects his own opinion; it is always nice to get a few words in between interviews. However, Dr. Yeagley is not yet finished speaking. A great deal was left unsaid about Native American life during our discussion.

In an additional question-and-answer session, he has some remarkable comments about the trials and tribulations of those descending from our country’s pre-Founding Fathers. This session was not originally intended for publication. Rather, Dr. Yeagley sent it to me simply as a helpful guide for understanding his views.

Dr. Yeagley’s opinions on everthing from gun rights to the Comanche Nation are his own and unrepresentative of the Communities at the Washington Times, but they are too well-presented and far too interesting not to share. Therefore, with Dr. Yeagley’s consent, they are presented here as a coda to his interview.

****

Question: Is there a general opinion among Indians about guns?  What is your personal opinion? 

Answer: He who takes my weapon is my enemy. That’s what I said in a FrontPage Magazine article in 2001. It was my first op-ed for David Horowitz. I later gave speeches against gun control for Young America’s Foundation, speaking at 2nd Amendment clubs on different college campuses. There was a time when even the early Americans valued their guns like they valued the Bible. Both were placed on the sacred family hearth. Only those who do not value the home enough to protect it themselves are to be found protesting gun possession. A vote against guns is like voting against the family, against the home, and against the foundation of America.  

Indians use guns to hunt with all the time, even today. It is a matter of course, to procure deer meet, or elk. Indians don’t give it a second thought, really. It is taken for granted that an Indian uses a gun or a knife. I’ve been on northern reservations when my friends took a quick trip to the mountains to go get a deer to provide for extra food needed for visiting family. There is simply no moral issue associated with a gun. Protection and provision are both fundamental aspects of weapon possession. Today, of course, provision - procuring food - is the more weighty consideration.

I urge everyone to consider what it means to give up your guns. To give your weapons to some authority that commands you is to surrender to that authority. Giving your weapons up is surrender! If a government seeks to take your weapons, that government is your enemy. No question about it.

Q: What is your opinion about Indian mascots?  This has been a national issue for some time.  

A: It has been an issue because white people have made it an issue, not Indians. There have been two national, scientific surveys of Indian people on the subject, and the evidence shows that most Indians don’t care, and are not offended. Peter Harris showed in 2002 that 83 percent of Indians weren’t offended by the “Washington Redskins.” In 2004, the Annenberg Foundation of the University of Pennsylvania found that 91 percent of Indians surveyed were not offended, nor cared.

Of course, the NCAA has been commanding all Indian mascots be removed from collegiate sports teams for years, based on “white” psychology. And few people know that feminists are a strong force behind the anit-mascot movement. Why? They want to remove masculine, “warrior” images. In 2001, the USCCR (United States Commission on Civil Rights) created a formal statement declaring Indian mascots to be harmful, and to create a hostile environment for an educational campus. The merits of this statement are highly questionable, of course, since the data were gathered mostly in North Dakota, by Elsie Meeks, who was then Senator Tom Daschle’s special appointment to the USCCR. The whole point was to bring down the “Fighting Sioux” mascot from the university of North Dakota. The data was reputedly unreliable.

Personally, I want to see the Indian warrior head on every high school and college in the country! The Indian warrior represents all that is glorious in manhood—any manhood, of any nation or people. The warrior is the protector, the provider, and the strong man of the people. Indians earned this image, with blood, in the mind of the conquering race. The Indian image found its way into nearly every state seal, and Indian names to this day remain as the names of states, rivers, cities, mountain ranges, and even businesses. The white man even put the Indian image on his money! Never before in history was a conquered people treated with such honor by those who conquered. To seek to remove the Indian image from the public view is simply an ethnic cleansing. It is a virtual genocide. It is erasing history.

For this reason, I appealed to the United Nations for an injunction against the whole anti-mascot movement, and the restoration of all the damage done. There has been no affirmative or positive response, but that can only be because I have not gathered sufficient support for my protest. These things take time, especially since the pro-mascot position supports truth, history, and honor. The liberal approach is to dissolve all such issues in the name of equality.

Q: What do you think about Indian casinos? They have offended many white land owners, and municipalities. Are they a viable solution to Indian financial problems? Do they provide a future of hope for Indians?

A: I think Indian casinos have created another bad image of the American Indian. It is the final stage in our evolving image in America: 1) from original host, savior, and guide, we found ourselves being crowded out, and pushed against one another; 2) we became the enemy, the warrior, the savage. Then, after the wars were over, we were confined to land ghettos, as it were, and were known only for slovenly, listless behavior; 3) we became the loser, the alcoholic, the diabetic, the suicidal, and the dysfunctional; 4) finally, we evolved into the gambler, the casino Indian - the gangster. I don’t really see this as movement in a positive direction. It is true that the casinos have brought more economic opportunity to the tribes than anything else - but at a price. We surrender key points of sovereignty; we surrender basically rent our tax-free land to the syndicate, the liberal politician, and other varieties of fundamentally lawless social entities. Furthermore, only about half the tribes actually have casinos, and the craze for money has cause an up-spring of a host of non-Indian people groups claiming to be Indian in order to procure federally recognized status—in order to get a casino. Pop-up tribes, I call them. In this sense, casinos have done more harm to Indian identity than Christopher Columbus.

I would not, however, blame Indians for profiting from the white man’s vices. A painful reversal of circumstances, indeed, but not really an honorable one. Perhaps a necessary one, given the circumstances.

What I suggest is an entirely different style of Indian government, and a wholly new financial basis. When I ran for chairman of the Comanche Nation (2012), my campaign included the initial call to sell the tribe. Put the tribe under private ownership, and shape the economy after a corporate model, and not by some archaic, 1934 BIA-imposed constitution which bears no resemblance to Indian tribal process, nor accommodates natural Indian sociology. What the BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs) allots our tribe is pocket change for a billionaire like Warren Buffet, Donald Trump, Ted Turner, or even George Soros. What is the difference if we are owned by the federal bureaucracy or owned by a private businessman?  

A private business contract would give us the opportunity to create our own terms. Thus, private ownership would procure for us true sovereignty. No, we would never surrender our nation status under the United States government. We would simply divorce ourselves from government control.

It was a radical suggestion, and I was not elected as the new chairman of the Comanche Nation. (That special honor went to Wallace Coffey.)  

****

What about treaties? It should go without saying that they are pivotal to the prosperity and survival of various tribes. In both the past and present alike, what significance do they really carry for Native Americans?

Also, beyond myths and stereotypes, what do Native Americans want? Can there be honestly be a simple answer to such a complex question? Dr. Yeagley will have something to say about it.

Read Also:

David Yeagley: A man in his own words

The concluding fourth part of an interview with a conservative Comanche. Published 6:22 a.m. July 3, 2012

David Yeagley: Can America stand divided?

“America is going down … We’re at the point of no return.” Conservative Comanche Dr. David Yeagley explains why. Published 2:06 a.m. July 2, 2012 

Changing challenges for a changing country

Illegal immigration, the Great Recession, and flawed national security plans make for a country in crisis. What does Dr. David Yeagley have to say about these pivotal matters? Part two of an interview with a conservative Comanche. Published 8:30 a.m. July 1, 2012 

Conversation with a conservative Comanche

Dr. David A. Yeagley is one of the most controversial voices in American politics. How does his ancient heritage tie in with his outspoken views? Do political labels really matter? What does he think about the rise of Ron Paul libertarianism? Let’s find out. Published 8:12 a.m. June 30, 2012

This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

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Joseph Cotto

Joseph F. Cotto is a social journalist by trade and student of history by lifestyle choice. He hails from central Florida, writing about political, economic, and social issues of the day. In the past, he was a contributor to Blogcritics Magazine, among other publications. He is currently at work on a book about American society.

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