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American Indian Movement of Colorado

Spirituality • Self-determination • Solidarity • Sobriety
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Thursday, January 27, 2005

Unpublished letters sent to the RMN and Post

We typically post letters to the editor that never make it into the paper. The Rocky Mountain News and Denver Post have a solid track record of ignoring letters that are written in support of our various actions.

We would like to thank Barbara Cohen and Lauranna Johnson for sending these letters to us.

Papers openly hostile
On this day, the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz/Birkeneau it is with a heavy heart that I write to the "free and open press" in this city. This is a democracy where we treasure our jury system.

The open hostility of the Denver papers to how a jury of "our peers" decided the Columbus Day case is appalling. You can disagree, don't call your fellow citizens morons for making a decision in a legal case where you did not participate. As a Jew who finds this is becoming increasingly hostile to people who are not Christians, I am also appalled by your lack of sensitivity to the peoples who lived in
this country before it was invaded by Columbus.

Columbus was an admitted slave trader who was personally responsible for the murder of millions of people. Yes, he can be compared to Hitler, Pol Pot, and others who
were likewise responsible for genocide. Those of us who support transforming this "holiday" support celebrating Italian culture. All we have asked is to take out one word from this supposed celebration.

Barbara Cohen
Denver, Colorado

A history lesson for Ed Quillen

In his designation of the north part of Ireland as Protestant and the south part of Ireland as Catholic, Ed Quillen in "These Are Civil Rights?" reveals himself to be long overdue for a lesson in both history and demographics. Fortunately, Professor
Glenn Morris is not the only person in this cow town who can take ole Ed to school.

Despite Mr. Quillen's limp rant against American Indians struggling for national liberation and respect in their own land, and his willful ignorance of his
Ulster Scots' history, the Six Counties of the North of Ireland do NOT belong to the Protestants any more than North America belongs to treaty-breaking whites.

This I know because Ed Quillen's Scot-Irish ancestors, like my own, were invaders and dispossessors of the Native American nations in which he and I now find
ourselves illegal immigrants, as well as Scottish invader-settlers in the North of Ireland who served as mercenary buffers for Anglo-Saxon theft and domination
of the lands and resources of the native and Catholic Irish.

Johnson - my colonized, patriarchal surname - is an Anglicization of the clan name McSeoin (literally, son of Sean). The McSeoins are descendants of the Dal Riada people of County Antrim of the North of Ireland who became Scottish by way of emigration from Antrim to the Argyle area of Pictland in Britain in approximately 500 A.D. under the dynastic leadership of Fergus Mor MacEirc.

Making alliances with the Picts against Roman and Viking rape and plunder, we grew in such strength and numbers as to overwhelm the native Picts so that this area became known as Scotland. Scotti is a Roman word for Irish. Through later conflict with the invading Anglo-Saxons, many Scots were steadily dispossessed of their lands and driven into exile in the urban lowlands and then into the Protestant English "Plantation of Ulster" as a colonizing hedge against the defeated Catholic Irish. Being largely Scots Presbyterian, these settlers often faced as much
exploitation by their Anglican English landlords as the Catholic Irish.

The threat of a Scots Presbyterian/Catholic peasant alliance against these landlords under the leadership of Wolf Tone and his United Irishmen is what gave rise to the counter-Revolutionary Orange Order and its first parades in the 1790s. Wolf Tone, a Protestant, is considered the father of Irish Republicanism because of his daring assertion that the people of the the island of Eire are all Irish whether "Protestant, Catholic, or Dissenter." As this alliance threatened
England's domination of Ireland, the rebellion of Wolf Tone's United Irishmen was brutally suppressed.

However, it needs to be emphasized that saying that the conflict known as "The Troubles" in the North of Ireland today is Protestant versus Catholic is like
saying that the Vietnam War was about Christian versus Buddhist. The problem is one of power - who has it and who does not. In the North of Ireland, the English and their quisling puppets the Ulster Scots Orangemen have held overwhelming control since King William of Orange's defeat of King James II at the Battle of the Boyne in July 1690. It is this victory that Orangemen all over the North have celebrated
every summer since the late 1700's with an orgy of murderous pogroms of Catholics that often follow the Orange Order's triumphalist parades.

The Loyalist lynch mobs who followed Nationalist protesters back to their ghettos to beat and burn them out of their homes subsequent to the Civil Rights marches in the late 1960s was what gave rise to the neighborhood armed defense groups that became the IRA. Some of the most severe rioting in the history of Northern Ireland happened in the Battle of the Bogside (a Catholic ghetto) following an Orange parade in
August 1969 in which the Loyalists hurled pennies from the old walls of the city of Derry down onto the dispossessed, poverty-stricken residents of the Bogside. The Irish response to this state sanctioned celebration of subjugation was a three-day riot that barricaded the ghetto behind No-Go areas that the Loyalist-controlled police were forbidden to enter.

In a familiar echo of triumphalist jeering last October, the paraders in the Columbus Day "Convoy of Conquest" violently hurled candy at American Indian
defenders and their allies in an act of extreme contempt comparable to the Orange Order and their hate-filled, genocidal parades. Needless to say, the Transform Columbus Day alliance has been amazingly restrained in light of such despicable provocations.

Mr. Quillen, you and I are relatives. We belong to the same wave of European-American invasions that overwhelmed and dispossessed, in blatant violation of
numerous treaties, the indigenous nations of this land just as we were once overwhelmed and dispossessed of our indigenous heritage in the lands of our Celtic ancestors. The difference between you and I sir, is that you are on the losing side of history, wrong-headedly making an example of the St. Patrick's Day parade that celebrates native Irish pride and freedom as being on par with an Orange parade that celebrates the Irish people's conquest and subjugation. They are not the same!

The one represents a risen people defending their homelands against another people celebrating the conquest and theft of those same lands. Sound familiar? It should! Every October in Denver, the Sons of Italy - New Generation celebrate Christopher
Columbus and his rape, plunder, and genocide of the indigenous peoples of the Americas. Thankfully, it goes not go uncontested. And it never will!

Comparing St. Patrick's Day parades with Orange Parades is like comparing Martin Luther King Day parades with KKK marches. They are not the same and they do not deserve equal protection. A Klan march constitutes ethnic intimidation and is a violation of Colorado law and international law. You know, Mr. Quillen, we hanged the Nazis at Nuremberg for their genocidal conduct in Europe. In addition, we held the German people accountable for failing to prevent the rise of the Nazis in the first place by confronting their racist parades long before they could become
the mass rallies that would ultimately lead to the devastation of two-thirds of the Jews of Europe.

Judge Burd, during the trial of the Denver Eight Defenders in her courtroom, told the jury that there were two times when citizens had great influence over the course of their government - the ballot box and the jury box. But there is yet another box that Judge Burd left unspoken. When the ballot box and the jury box fail to render a just society because of the tyranny of an apartheid government - there is, in the
last resort, the ammo box, as the IRA and South African freedom fighters have more than amply demonstrated.

Let us hope that the good citizens of the city of Denver can come to some reasonable agreement as to what it means to live in respectful, mutually cooperative
relationship with all the Nations, native and non-native alike, in this beautiful land. To begin making this happen, non-Indians like Ed Quillen need to stop whining about their "rights" and start stepping up to their responsibilities.

Otherwise, in the words of Padraig Pearse, one of the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rebellion in Ireland's war for independence from England: "Beware the risen
people / Ye who have bullied and bribed / Ye who have harried and held."

Lauranna Johnson
Denver, Colorado


At 1:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Guest Editorial - AIM Colorado Chapter

The Genocide of Dissenting 'Indians' Continues...

From the Declaration of Independence:
...governments are instituted among people, deriving their just powers from the consent
of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these
ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it and to institute new

The recent character assassination of Native 'American' University of Colorado
professor Ward Churchill elucidates just how much people in this country are in denial
of their true history.

Churchill, who teaches ethnic studies, was invited to speak at Hamilton College in
Clinton, NY. The panel discussion was to be entitled "Limits of Dissent". The fact that
we should even have to be discussing limits on dissent in this country says a lot about
where we, in the land of free speech, are heading.

The talk has been scrubbed. Why? The school said it was because of "credible threats
of violence" (maybe war should be scrubbed for the same reason). Most likely it was
because people don't want hear the things that we as a people have to know, no
matter how much they may bump us out of our comfort zones. The things we don't
discuss gave rise to the day that that comfortable bubble burst, Sept. 11, 2001.

Shortly after that horrible day, Churchill wrote an essay entitled: "Some People Push
Back: On the Justice of Roosting Chickens". At the time, not much was said about it,
and it didn't make the mainstream newswires. There were too many ugly truths about
US foreign policy in it for most American people to handle in one pop.

Being a native of Turtle Island (now disrespectfully renamed to North America,
assuredly not with the consent of the natives), Churchill has studied the genocide of
his ancestors, and he knows the horrors all too well. He also knows that this 'manifest
destiny' did not stop at the Pacific Ocean. The Hawaiian Islands come to mind first,
let's work to see that Iraq will be the last.

He made a case in his post 9-11 essay that what happened was 'blowback'. And that
some of the people killed were not so innocent. The target, the WTC, was
described as "America's global financial empire – the mighty engine of profit" (over
people, I might add). And in the rubble was the bodies of those who the day before
were "arranging power lunches and stock transactions," out of mind and out of sight of
the "rotting flesh of infants".

His reference to the infants was from the information freely available to all of us. In
1996, when Leslie Stahl on 60 Minutes asked the then secretary of state Madeline
Albright if the price of 500,000 dead Iraqi children as a direct result of the sanctions
was worth it, she callously replied, "I think this is a very hard choice, but the price, we
think the price is worth it." So who exactly is 'we'? 'We' are not so innocent if 'we' do
not put an end to atrocities our government commits. Like the words from the
declaration of independence, it is our right, and it should be our duty.

What's not very clear is why the establishment pundits on TV have waited until now to
attack Churchill's four year old essay. It was OK for him to speak at the Local To
Global Justice Conference at Arizona State University at Tempe in February, 2004. A
clue may be found in the words his trembling voice offered up as he fought back the
tsunami of supressed tears manifested by the 513 years of oppression and genocide
that was/is being imposed upon his people:

"Justice begins locally...a delivery of justice on a first priority basis to the first
'Americans'. The internal decolonization of native North America...will not however be
done by vote. It will not however be done by petition. It will not be done by rallies. It will
not be done by marches. It will not be done by anything that could lead to a liberal
reshaping of the system in order to maintain the sanctity of the status quo. It will have
to be done, every inch along the way, in the fashion of struggle, kicking and
screaming, knowing that the state will apply the means of power to maintain itself that
it has readily in hand, and that is not a non-violent process."

Frank Gubasta
Pahayokee (Fort Myers, FL)
(239) 939-1908


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