Monica Whitepigeon in Entertainment. Discussion »
CHICAGO A little known fact, just off of Irving Park, a small group of Natives have been holding weekly writing workshops about the true lives of urban Natives. This Title VII writers group meets at the Kateri Center at the St. Benedict parish every Friday. The group has been doing so for the past year and a half.
In honor of Chicago, this community writers group goes by the name of Chi-noodin that is Ojibwe for "big wind."
The group consists of about fifteen members varying from young adults to senior American Indians. Mixed and full-blooded American Indians explore their identities and the struggle of blending in with mainstream culture through creative writing. Reading off of each other's work, the group encourages and challenges one another to express themselves.
Recently, Chi-noodin Community Writing Group published a booklet consisting of their members' works, totaling in over thirty different pieces called "We Write for Ourselves." Their hope is to be able to give out quarterly issues throughout the Native community and to encourage other American Indians to join and voice their opinions.
Charles Roy, Ojibway/M'Chigeeng
The Native News Network selected the writing "Stolen Identities" by Charles Roy, First Nations Ojibway/M'Chigeeng, who expresses his feelings about how he felt after finding out the United States military used 'Geronimo - KIA' as the code talk informing the highest levels of government, including President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, that Osama Bin Laden had been killed. KIA equaled "killed in action."
Roy resides in Chicago with his wife and daughter.
Stolen Identities: The Impact of Racist Stereotypes on Indigenous People
Geronimo was an Apache. Geronimo represents pride and freedom not only for Apache people, but all Indigenous peoples. He also represents resistance to the encroaching Spanish from the South and European invaders from the East. Geronimo was trying hard to hold on and preserve their culture.
In our way, you're supposed to choose your words wisely. When the United States Armed Forces operation found and killed Bin Laden, I felt that was a good thing. Yea, they finally got him, I thought at the time. But when I found out that they used Geronimo's name as a code word for Osama Bin Laden, it really pissed me off. I had an instant genetic flashback of how it was when they killed one of our Indigenous leaders. I can see it:
"Now that their leader is dead, let's take their land and move them somewhere else or exterminate them all."
This makes me even more upset when I think about the percentage of Indigenous peoples in the US Armed Forces who support this government. Why do our people help them fight these injustices or wars made of lies? This is not our fight. Our people had laid down their lives so that these big corporations can make billions of dollars with military contracts, when the US government and big corporations are still trying to take our treaty land, water rights and our natural resources.
Taking that name of Geronimo as a code name for Bin Laden was so disrespectful all to the Indigenous people here. They just opened a lot of old wounds. And, to me, the United States still feels that we are a problem to them. They compare us to a terrorist, when white people were exactly the terrorists to us. They were actually like the Nazis to us.
And, I do not want to hear that excuse, that they were just ignorant and not thinking. The US government would never use the name Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, or even Donald Trump as a code name for Bin Laden.
I would like to say to the United States:
“ You must choose your words wisely. You have just started another stereotypical comment to tease our children. Again, like someone said before, I'm feeling like an immigrant in my own country.”
posted March 21, 2012 9:30 am edt
Thank you for visiting. We are loading the new Native News Network website. Visitors always come first, so if you click on a link only to find the corresponding page is unavailable, please use this link to contact us here ».
Then, tell us how we can help you.
I will contact you personally.