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American Indian Movement of Colorado

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Monday, September 26, 2005

Rocky Mountain News begins annual defense of Columbus

The Rocky Mountain News (RMN) began it’s annual defense of the Convoy of Conquest, on September 24, with an article that led all other stories in it’s print edition. The coverage started on page 4a(the page on which all RMN articles begin) with an above the fold article entitled“Columbus Parade could see less strife”
“Columbus Parade could see less strife” and was penned by Charlie Brennan. As is the case with the RMN in general, and Charlie Brennan in particular, the article contained omissions and distortions that expose their bias.

The slant that Brennan’s article takes is one in which our efforts to transform columbus day have been derailed due to the right wing attacks against CO AIM member Ward Churchill (led by Brennan and the RMN) and “many people” tiring of the arrests. Brennan also declares that “some American Indians and their sympathizers are determined this year to follow a less confrontational path..”

As proof of this, Brennan offers the opinion of only one American Indian, Darius Smith. Brennan describes Smith as the President of the Colorado Indian Education Association. What Brennan doesn’t reveal is that Darius Smith is also employed by the City of Denver as the director of the Denver Ant-Discrimination Office (DADO). In essence, Smith is a political appointee of the Mayor of Denver, John Hickenlooper. CO AIM has repeatedly asked Mayor Hickenlooper to demonstrate moral courage by denouncing the celebration of an indian killer; a stand which he refuses to take.

This omission is important because it gives the impression that Smith has no personal, economic, or political interest in attempting to minimize the work of CO AIM, around the columbus day issue, that typically has revealed the progressive pronouncements of the city administration to be little more than lip service. Though Smith publicly denounces Ward Churchill and peceived chest thumping by CO AIM members, he remains conspicously silent about the celebration of an Indian Killer and the City Administrations fence straddling over the issue.

Another source in Brennan’s article is Darius’s boss, Lucia Guzman. Lucia Guzman is the Executive Director of the Human Rights and Community Relations department of the City of Denver. Like Smith, she is a mayoral political appointee. Also, like Smith, Guzman has nothing to say about the nature of the parade or the lack of a mayoral response but instead suggests that CO AIM and TCD members are exhausted. She doesn’t name a single person or organization as proof which is understandable since she hasn’t attending any TCD or CO AIM meetings. In fact, neither Smith nor Guzman have attended a CO AIM meeting within the past year and have no idea what strategies are being pursued, despite what they may be telling their supervisors.

A question that arises is this. Are these two city employees abusing their positions of power and attempting to marginalize a grassroots effort to transform Columbus Day or could they simply have exercised poor judgement in being duped by Charlie Brennan and the RMN?

The Brennan article is typical of the coverage the RMN gives to Columbus Day. Long time critics of TCD and CO AIM will be trotted out and presented as objective commentators. More follows here


At 12:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why has CO AIM lost hundreds of supporters for their annual confrontation of the convoy of conquest? Respectfully, I would like to know why the overwhelming majority of Denver's approxiamately 10,000 American Indians do not join the confrontation every year. I was taught that indigenous people vote for their leadership with their feet.

At 12:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm going to be there this year. For the person asking the question about why hundreds have been lost I ask how do you know this is true? Can you see into the future and compare this years protesters with last years? While you are thinking of an explanation why dont you also explain how tribal chairman can claim to be real leaders when less than half of the people on reservations even bother to vote in the first place. Why dont you explain why that parade doesn't have thousands of people in it since there are more of them than us.

At 12:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

BTW, the rest of the blog doesnt come up when you click on link.

At 4:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Colorado AIM lost hundreds of supporters? Obviously, you haven't been in the streets. In 2000, approxiamtely 150 people were arrested for blocking the parade. In 2004, over 250 people were arrested. Does that sound like a decline? In both instances (as with the arrests in 1991), Colorado AIM and its allies, defeated the city politically and legally -- not by doing the bidding of the city, but by standing in opposition to racism in a strong and principled way.

At 10:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can't we even distinguish between wishful thinking and reality? The trial balloon in the press was just that--a creation of the mayor's office in hopes of creating divisions in the community over Columbus Day and a ploy to enhance the mayor himself and the current administration's ability to achieve "law and order." On some level, however, I'm sure the mayor is aware that it is shameful to dignify this "parade" as a civic celebration.


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