The conservative students at the University of Massachusetts have endured a legacy of leftist insanity on campus, but they have triumphed of late. They deserve real and significant commendation for their innovative ideas and aggressive endeavors.
Tony Vo and Kevin Randall, UMass Republican club officers decided to invite unusual conservatives for the 2004-2005 school year. Back in October, they had decided to invite me, a conservative American Indian patriot, to speak on campus. “We wanted to present conservatism from unusual perspectives,” said Vo. They thought of me, even before the Ward Churchill crisis. I spoke at UMass on March 29, 2005. I had opportunity to address not only the Churchill crisis, but also the recent Red Lake Reservation shootings, and the immature, degrading statements that Clyde Bellecourt made at that time
But my engagement was not without obstacles. I was originally scheduled for March 8. I arrived in the midst of the worst snowstorm of the year, and the UMass campus was actually closed. The engagement was cancelled.
Vo and Randall had nevertheless met me at the airport, then took me out to dinner, then drove to my hotel on campus. “I’m very proud of you,” I said. “You persevered.”
“Well,” Vo said, “I never cancel.”
The words of a conqueror, in my book.
They rescheduled me as soon as possible, March 29. C-SPAN filmed the entire speech with Q & A session following, including a fundamentally disrespectful episode orchestrated by a leftist student who came in the room toward the end of the speech.
I began my speech with commendation for the perseverance and determination of the leaders of the UMass Republican club. Perseverance, I said, was a key principle necessary in creating new paths. I explained how perseverance has been central to my own experience as a conservative American Indian. “When you are creating a new path, you must be willing to persevere,” I said. Many people consider the idea of an American Indian patriot an odd thing, unexpected, and disingenuous.
There were two articles in the university paper, The Daily Collegian, addressing my engagement there and my ideas. Unfortunately, the first one put the speaking date a day late. The second article found great irony in some of my positions.
The conservative students weren’t terribly impressed with either article. “We’re used to distortion and misrepresentation,” they said. The school has a very left-wing tradition.
UMass conservative student Ben Duffy pointed out that the UMass logo was once “The Redmen,” with an Indian image, but it was changed to “Minutemen,” in 1972, with an image of the American colonial soldier. “The PC forces got all upset about the Redmen because they thought it offended minorities.” It suggested that Indians were violent. Then, after the Minutemen logo was established, the PC forces objected again. The fact that the image was a white male was offensive to minorities! And the white male was glorifying violence.
Duffy recalls a recent incident in which some students lassoed a small Indian statue (Chief Metawampe) on campus and dragged it down the street. It was deemed a “hate crime” by the campus PC authorities, Duffy said, “as if it were a message to Indians that they aren’t welcome at UMass.” Duffy said, “This is the East Coast; most people here have never met a real Indian, and yet it was a ‘hate crime’ [according to the school paper], as if they knew what the motivation was behind it. If you ask me, it was probably drunk frat boys who just felt like being destructive, but of course somebody needed to feel victimized, and we needed to justify our new ‘diversity commission’ and its findings.”
Conservative students at UMass are astute in their observations of leftist mechanisms. They are quite familiar with such manipulations, and easily detect them.
During my speech, I described how these machinations have worked in Indian country, warping the great Indian warrior image into some writhing, whimpering thing that deserves more pity than a helpless, dying woman in Florida. I slammed Clyde Bellecourt’s comments on the death of Terri Schiavo, saying that Bellecourt degraded the Indian image lower than ever before.
I denounced Ward Churchill as a fraud, as someone who insults Jewish people by trying to compare the Holocaust with the American Indian story.
The students had never heard such thoughts from an American Indian. But, like Tony Vo said, they wanted to present conservative values from unexpected sources.
The next week, April 6th, they presented Tammy Bruce.
This kind of perseverance is the reason why academic leftists no longer have the campus to themselves. Keep fighting, proud conservative warriors!