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American Indian Movement of Colorado

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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

From this week's edition of Westword.

AIM, Fire
The American Indian Movement targets the Rocky.
By Michael Roberts

Published: Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Rocky Mountain News and the American Indian Movement of Colorado are a match made in hell. The Rocky's been consistently critical of Colorado AIM's position regarding Denver's annual Columbus Day Parade and has printed enough words attacking longtime AIM provocateur Ward Churchill to fill a Harry Potter book. Meanwhile, Colorado AIM contends that the Rocky carries a stain of anti-Native American prejudice that can be traced back to its Wild West origins; in an 1863 editorial, the paper described the Ute people as "a dissolute, vagabondish, brutal and ungrateful race" that "ought to be wiped from the face of the earth."
Relations between these two organizations could hardly be more strained. But during the past month, matters deteriorated even further, with Colorado AIM picketing the paper and calling for the firing of editorial-page editor Vincent Carroll. Not that anyone would know from reading the Rocky, which hasn't printed any of the particulars.

The latest dispute began shortly after the November 13 death of author and scholar Vine Deloria Jr. , who was "the equivalent of Thurgood Marshall, Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King rolled into one in the eyes of the Indian world," according to Glenn Morris, a Colorado AIM leader. Deloria's passing was cited by publications such as the New York Times and prompted a remembrance from syndicated columnist Clarence Page. Locally, the Denver Post offered a laudatory editorial and an obituary that was plugged on page one, whereas the Rocky positioned its obit in a bottom corner of page 6 -- placement that Morris finds highly questionable. He was much more upset, however, by a subsequent item by Carroll, who disparaged Deloria tributes that ignored the "wacky nature of some of his views." To Morris, this thesis is objectionable on its face, but the disrespect was compounded because it appeared on November 18, hours before Deloria's memorial service and burial in Golden.

"Vine died almost a week earlier, and Carroll had all that time to write something critical about him -- but he waited until the day of his funeral," Morris says. "What other community would put up with something like that?" full article

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