IS THERE A PLACE FOR PATRIOTISM in American universities? Judging by the experience of Dr. David A. Yeagley, maybe not.
A Comanche Indian with a divinity degree from Yale, Yeagley is losing his job as an adjunct professor of humanities at Oklahoma State University, Oklahoma City. His conservative politics seem to have played a role in his ouster.
"As a neo-conservative American Indian columnist, I guess I'm one of a kind," says Yeagley, who recently joined our editorial team at FrontPageMagazine.com. "They always told me that I didn't fit in at the school. I guess it was just a matter of time."
OSU-OKC spokesman Tony Vann said that state law prevented him from confirming or denying Yeagley's termination.
However, Yeagley says that his supervisor told him that he will no longer have a job after May. Inside sources also told Yeagley that his extracurricular activities as a spokesman for conservative causes contributed to his termination.
For months, Yeagley has been lobbying to institute a patriotism course in Oklahoma public schools. Things came to a head in December, when he posted a letter to David Horowitz on our FrontPageMagazine.com message board.
"I am a Comanche Indian teaching college at Oklahoma State University, OKC" he wrote. "I have recently submitted to Governor Keating a proposal and plan for the teaching of patriotism in the public school systems of Oklahoma. The Governor is quite supportive Clearly, patriotism is the missing element in our country right now I feel, as an Indian, it is my sacred honor to save the white man again, this time from himself. Before he gives this country away, thus defeating me twice, I want to try to save what he built out of my land. Have any suggestions?"
Needless to say, we were intrigued. I called up Dr. Yeagley to sound him out.
What followed were many delightful hours on the phone, listening to Yeagley expound on patriotism, Zoroastrian theology and classical harmonics.
He is a kind of American Indian Leonardo da Vinci.
In addition to his masters of divinity from Yale, Yeagley holds degrees in music, art and ancient humanities. He has written a grand opera on the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising; exhibited pencil drawings of his Comanche ancestors; and composed an epic poem on the life of Farah Diba Pahlavai, wife of the deposed Shah of Iran, which has been serialized in Persian Heritage magazine.
"When I met the Empress, she asked me one question: Why?" laughs Yeagley.
How did such a multitalented fellow end up in Oklahoma?
"My mother," says Yeagley. "When my father died, I came here to take care of her."
Yeagley helps support his 78-year-old mother with his meager $800 per month stipend from the university. That runs out in May.
Years ago, Yeagley could have chosen a more lucrative career as a "professional Indian."
When he first arrived at Yale, an Episcopal priest proposed to Yeagley that he get involved in speaking out against America's mistreatment of the red man.
"We could make a career of this for you," offered the priest.
Yeagley turned him down. "My parents brought me up to love America," he explains. "As a child, I used to choke back tears when I said the Pledge of Allegiance."
Eschewing the path of professional victim, Yeagley chose hard work and serious scholarship instead.
"I ended up going into academic fields where being an Indian didn't help me. I had to succeed on my own merits."
It was Yeagley's mother who suggested that he write to David Horowitz.
A great-granddaughter of the Comanche war chief Bad Eagle, Mrs. Yeagley admires Horowitz for his warrior spirit.
"He's very brave," she says. "The first time I heard him on the radio, I knew he was telling the truth. Hating Whitey and Radical Son are terrific books."
Thanks to his mother's advice, Yeagley has now joined the FrontPage team. He has written hardhitting commentaries on gun control, eco-extremism and the false idol of civil rights.
In his latest column, Yeagley warns fellow Indians against walking "the black man's path."
"It's all about playing the victim It's not the way of our warrior ancestors."
That sort of talk has made Yeagley an instant hit with conservative talk show audiences. Sadly, it has not been popular among some of his academic colleagues, who have accused Yeagley of generating "bad PR" for the school.
Regarding his dismissal, Yeagley is upbeat. "My whole life has been about facing hardship and conflict. I'm looking forward to what lies ahead."