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Whining "Indians" Exploit Terri Schiavo By: David Yeagley
FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, March 28, 2005

Indians are more pitiful than a helpless, dying woman. He complains that President Bush lavished attention on Terri Schiavo, but paid none to the tragedy of Red Lake. Bellecourt has reached new depths of moral depravity, and has disgraced beyond description the honor and pride of Indian people.

Last Friday, March 25, he told the Washington Post, "When people's children are murdered and others are in the hospital hanging on to life, he [Bush] should be the first one to offer his condolences...If this was a white community, I don't think he'd have any problem doing that.” Bellecourt said, “The so-called Great White Father in Washington hasn't said or done a thing.”


Clyde Bellecourt thinks Indians deserve more pity than the dying woman (and possible murder victim), Terri Schiavo. According to the liberal distortions of the Washington Post, Bellecourt is not alone.


“Native Americans across the country—including tribal leaders, academics and rank-and-file tribe members—voiced anger and frustration Thursday that President Bush has responded to the second-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history with silence,” reads Ceci Connolly’s opening line.

”Across the country” is a stretch and creates a false impression of Indian people. Connolly quotes but five people besides Bellecourt, and only one of those is identified as “Indian” in the article (and that one is dubious). David Wilkins is interim chairman of the Department of American Indian Studies at the University of Minnesota, is identified as a member of the North Carolina-based Lumbee “tribe.” This is the mulatto group never recognized by the United States federal government as an Indian “tribe.” Wilkins is as likely Indian as Ward Churchill, and his concerns are just as fabricated and academic, politically and professionally.


It is prejudicial stereotyping to presume everyone working for Indians is an Indian. Many are white liberals, trying to shape the American Indian image into the effeminate wet noodle that Bellecourt loves – professional “girly men.”


However, there’s no denying that Indians everywhere have expressed mourning and regret over the Red Lake shooting. The long trains of funeral cars and the gathering of families show a shared reaction of sorrow from all Indians.


Yet even in this, the language used by liberal Indians in the media reflect the attitude of pity-mongering, as if Indians are dependent on national media for validation. We can term this the Bellecourt Syndrome.


I look at the lines of cars making their way to the funerals of the victims; I see the crowds gathered in mourning, and I ask, “Where were you when the Indian young people needed you? Where was your devotion when the youth were desperate for your attention?”


The attention you lavish now, though traditional, though appropriate, is completely hollow. It not only has no effect on the dead, it also has none on the young people currently living. It does not change a single thing on the reservation in the relationships between Indian “leaders,” parents, or youth in all of Indian country.


The pathetic, writhing appeal to national media and the president is the egregious pretense of professional leftists – Indian and white – and displays the most nauseating weakness ever associated with a people. We, once the brave warriors, are made into naïve slaves of the news. We have become the lowest of the low, the prince of spiritual paupers.


While the leftists are trying to find a way to blame whites, some Indians blame Indian country itself. Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley Jr. says the tragedy stems from “the loss of tribal culture.” David Anderson (Ojibwe) says “hopelessness and despair on reservations are to blame for poor student achievement,” and avers, “schools, parents and tribes need to work together to instill a sense of success among Native youth.”


But how can tribal culture be preserved when low-end pop culture, such as rap and hip-hop, gangs, drug dealers, and casino swindlers are either ignored or praised by so-called Indian leaders and invited onto the reservation?


How can Indian leaders instill a sense of success among Native youth when the Bellecourt bellyachers preach discontent, broadcast juvenile resentment and anger, and set the example of perpetual immaturity?


How can Indian parents expect to help our youth when parents are drunk, drugged, or otherwise absent from the home?


It takes a warrior, a responsible person, to be a parent. There are few warriors left in Indian country. All that we hear is the emasculated whining of the Bellecourt crowd, who think Indians deserve more pity than a helpless, dying woman in a Florida hospice.

Dr. David A. Yeagley is a published scholar, professionally recorded composer, and an adjunct professor at the University of Oklahoma College of Liberal Studies. He's on the speakers list of Young America's Foundation. E-mail him at badeagle2000@yahoo.com. View his website at http://www.badeagle.com.

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