Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Racism: Houston Mayor Pro Tem Insults American Indians

For today's headlines, go to:
http://www.bsnorrell.blogspot.com

UPDATE: April 14, 2007
Racist radio talk and Apocalypto
A new petition demands Mel Gibson apologize to the Mayan community for telling a Mayan scholar, a woman, to "F--k off" during a talk to young filmmakers in California. (Scroll down for more information.)
Radio talk host Don Imus is out after his racist remarks, following widespread coverage by the national media. However, Houston Councilman Michael Berry, who serves as mayor pro tem, insulted American Indians and blacks and is still on the air.

UPDATE: NEWS FLASH, Thurs., April 5, 2007:

Houston Councilman Michael Berry says his racist radio talk was wrong:

http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2007/04/racism-houston-councilman-admits-he-was.html

Original post with reader responses:

Houston Councilman Michael Berry, who also serves as Mayor Pro Tem, insulted American Indian listeners during his talk show on slavery and Indians on KPRC Radio 950. The American Indian Genocide Museum in Houston urges others to respond:

Berry on talk radio:

" We need to stop wasting all this time and energy apologizing to the American Indian, which we continue to do ... We give them casinos, we give them special licenses, we give them special scholarships and why I don't understand ..."

" We conquered them, that's history - Hello "'

" You got to be against giving welfare to the American Indians because of the fact , that 200 years ago they were whipped in a war. Lets just call it what it is, they lost a war."


Listen to segments:

http://950kprc.com/pages/berry.html

http://950kprc.com/cc-common/podcast.html
(Click link for March 27th - 8:AM Show. He brings up Slavery and Indians towards the middle half of the show. )

http://950kprc.com/cc-common/podcast/single_podcast.html?podcast=michaelberry.xml (Another segment. Click on the 6:AM time slot - March 27th , 2007)


Indianz.com: "Houston Official: 'Stop Apologizing to American Indians'" http://www.indianz.com/News/2007/002096.asp

New link with transcript of Berry's comments:http://watchingthewatchers.org/news/1194/houston-councilman-stop-apologizing
Comment:
"Wow, sounds like someone needs to give him a small pox infested blanket."
Posted by visitor at 2007-04-02 02:39 PM

Berry on talk radio:
"If you're against apologizing for slavery then you gotta be against giving welfare to the American Indians because of the fact that 200 years ago they were whipped in a war. And let's just call it what it is: They lost a war. Why don't we go hand the Germans a few million dollars and the Italians and the Japanese -- OK, so we did rebuild their country -- we don't continue to give them aid because they sit around whining about a war from 200 years ago. Are you kidding me? Seriously? And what's interesting is, it's one thing when we do stupid things as a government and we oppose it. Whats interesting is how many people out there believe thats a good idea -- "Oh, you gotta help the American Indians, what we did was so wrong." What'd we do? We conquered them. That's history. Hello!"
.
READER COMMENTS:


21 Comments

Anonymous said...
All my life I have been raised to "Love one another". What's this guys problem? In the fIrst place Texas never belonged to ANYONE!In the second place, I lived in Texas for many years and just had to leave, to be FREE! I have met many colors of TEXANS. If it weren't for the People of Color working for lousy pay,lousy treatment and lousy attitudes TEXAS would not be "A Whole 'NutherCountry" as they so brag.As tribal members we ALL work hard, we all don't work in casinos, believe me, if you could have one, YOU WOULD! That's the gist of it. I am not a google/blogger or other or anonymous! leave place for a name!
March 28, 2007 3:21 PM
http://www.blogger.com/profile/08213046000765279503 said...
Hi,Thanks so much for your comment. Plase feel free to leave your name and other info, if you like, on the comment post. There's the option of anonymous for those who choose.Best, Brenda
March 28, 2007 3:42 PM
Anonymous said...
That Houston mayor better be careful. If he was truly "Indian", then he'd know that us natives have powerful medicine. Tsk...tsk.
March 29, 2007 1:58 PM
Anonymous said...
You, Mr. Mike Berry, are ignorant to the point of stupid. How did you get in that seat you're in now!? Study the treaties between the U.S. government and us Indians before you make such a dumb statement. We did not lose a war. The U.S. government signed a treaty with us in 1868 that they have yet to honor. Read that before you make any more ignorant statements.
March 29, 2007 10:05 PM
Anonymous said...
So many thins can be said even further back than that . If it weren't for the Indian way of democracy within the tribes Americans woul've never set up the US goverment as it is. It would probably still be under the ruling of a King or Queen or some dictator and this guy would still be a lousy peasant. As for the point at hand I why isn't this made more public about what he has said?? If it were aimed at a black or other minority this would have made headlines. OUTRAGEOUS!!
March 30, 2007 9:41 AM
Anonymous said...
My name is Carey Waubanascum; I am Menominee Indian, living on the Menominee Indian Reservation. I have joined the United States Marine Corps and after words joined the United States Navy. The Montgomery G.I. Bill is helping me pay for my education. No Native Grant.I am not a conquered people. I am a Marine, a Sailor, a full time employee, apartime student, and most of all I am a mother. Funny, I would like to know where this free Native College is.During my 11 years of active duty service, I have made many friends of many races (I miss them, a lot.). My best friend is white, and we still talk to this day. Her name is Leah and she is from TexasJ I have never felt that I need an apology from her or any other person on this earth for our history. Nor did I think that have a Casino was a good idea, I see no money from our Casino. I have always worked hard for what I have and always will. Most of the Native Casinos were not given to us as a gift. But each state that has a Casino is receiving monies from these Casinos. Even for whites to have better school, highways, or whatever that state see fit. When money is involved people of all races get greedy.I greatly appreciate your time for reading me e-mail.Thank you,Carey WaubanascumUSMC/USNFull time work and mother, part-time college
March 30, 2007 2:10 PM
Anonymous said...
To Mr. Berry,I served and retired from the Navy after 22 years of service. I am a service connected disabled Veteran. I served proudly and honorably. What I have is because of what I earned it's not a handout. The same goes for Native Americans. We are proud and honorable people we just want respect and acknowledgement that our ancestors were not conquered but tricked, lied and killed for their land.There are only 3 recognized tribes in Texas. Most of us are Urban Native Americans and we work, study and live just like any other American citizen. We expect nothing from the government. Why? Because if we do, our way of life will be taken away in one form or another. The Genocide of our culture is still ongoing as we speak. Most Natives in Texas are not recognized as Native Americans but classified as Mexican Americans. Texas Natives were made to give up their Native American status and say they were Mexican after the Mexican American War so that Texas would be allowed into the Union. The US at the time didn't want another Indian welfare State.These Texas Natives that are not recognized can't legally follow their ancestral culture and have to live in fear. They can't wear their regalia in powwows or partake in sacred ceremonies without fear the govenment will come down on them for not being a bonafide US Indian. Why don't they target the cowboys that wear feathers in their hats at the country western bars or rodeos? Or target hunters that have their birds stuffed as trophies?We just want to be allowed to be who we are and left alone to pray and partake in our ancestral ceremonies without fear of pursecution by the US government.Thank you for your time and know that we do vote and can campaign for someone that is not a racist.
March 30, 2007 5:47 PM
Anonymous said...
Hi - this guy IS an idiot but he's not the Mayor of Houston. He's the Pro Tem - which means he's a city council member. Mainly, he has a talk show that thrives on controversial subjects (Rush Limbaugh type of guy). I live in Houston so I had to let everyone know - like every city in America we have idiot city council members - but he is not our Mayor.
March 31, 2007 8:38 AM
Anonymous said...
mr berry, maybe you should come up to REDLAKE, MINNESOTA and talk crazy, we'll send you home with a WALLEYE stuffed up your political ass. TEXAS mayor doesn't know what he's talking about. I hope in the next little election he doesn't make IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
April 1, 2007 7:22 AM
Laura B. said...
What an awful thing to say. I hope you apologize to everybody you offended. I teach on an Indian reservation, and my students are wonderful. --- The U.S. government screwed up and completely ruined life for Indians, the people who were here way before Europeans were, and I really hope that in my lifetime they will admit that. You can do a good thing here and at least admit that YOU were wrong.
April 1, 2007 7:53 PM
Anonymous said...
" We conquered them, that's history - Hello "'You call stealing,killing of innocent women and children and old people conquering..when your type of people stole the land..then turned to killing of children and women and elders and you call that a whipping..I hope the people of Houston see's the type person you are...and when re-election comes you take the whipping you deserve..I feel sorry for the people of Houston who has a racist idiot as a Pro Tem Mayor..
April 1, 2007 8:13 PM
Anonymous said...
I am very offended by this CITY COUNCIL MANS comments. If you stop and think back Native Americans were the first true Americans. I can't really even be mad at this GUY who says things like this, I have to feel Sorry for people like him. When racist comments like these are made it makes me sick. Yes I am native american and yes I do get help from the government, but we live on a piece of land that is 6 miles by 12 miles long that we were forced on to by bigots like this man. We have have 28,000 enrolled members with a 70 percent unemployement rate because of this small space. He is more than welcome to come up to our reservation and see what our way of life is. I Sincerly hope that he THINKS before he speaks out again.
April 3, 2007 11:33 AM
Anonymous said...
The Treaty of 1868 was written because both parties desired peace, so you didn't conquer anyone.
April 3, 2007 1:44 PM
GILA RIVER - said...
Ha ha it’s funny how he talks about winning a war..... I mean if you think about it in a sense we gave them life!!! We could have killed them all ... but we didn’t and what did we get....- Land stolen- People killed- Women raped (sorry white girls it aint your fault- Native American women are just that damn pretty)- Kids taken away- moved to concentration camps... (Reservations)- And in some cases our traditions were taken away.... I aint asking for a apology - but I’ am here demanding whats mine... you know the sad thing is that once again we are helping you in a way ... because of your illness and your sick and twisted ideas an the ripping of my peoples culture ... there are natives out there suffering and its takes strong warriors to realize the need for a change.... no thanks required ... unlike your society are culture teaches us to help those in need of help ...so keep your apology, your sicko cereal killers, and your dirty ignorant thoughts to your self - cause you know what they say its never nice for a guest to wear out their welcome .!!!!!
April 3, 2007 2:55 PM
Anonymous said...
I think its important to bring up a few points regarding your comments about Native Americans. First you say that "we" are constantly apologizing to Native people and using considerable resources to do so. Where are these apologies? Why haven't we heard them? How much money has been spent? Please show me evidence of this. Second, when you say that land has been given to the Indians you are mistaken. Land that is in the possession of tribes is because of land cessions brought by treaty agreements. You have not given us this land is was ours in the first place, we just have smaller amounts of it now. As for the special laws where Native people can have casinos, it is written into our constitution. American Indian nations are just that, nations which have their own laws and can negotiate with the United States via government to government. Look at Article VI in the Constitution and you will find that that treaties are "the supreme law of the land." As independent nations, we have the ability to operate casinos without needing your approval or the United States government approval. As far as the issues that happened 150 years ago they are tragic and horrendous. It did not end there. For instance, look at the thousands of children forced into boarding schools. These children were beaten, raped and murdered by the hundreds. Boarding schools were commonplace until the 1950's. How about the removal of Native children to White homes by the thousands by the government? They believed that if the parents were poor they should not be allowed to have children. This happened until the 1970s. Native people were not allowed to practice their own religion until 1978 legally. How long have you been able to practice yours? I would suggest you go to church more often after making comments like you did. So I suggest next time you open your ignorant mouth, you should first acquire the knowledge of such issues and offer an apology to all Native people that you have insulted. I am an Anishinaabe from Red Lake, MN.
April 3, 2007 7:30 PM
kayo said...
... the comments made by mr berry, houston's mayor pro tem- emphasis on the pro tem- were and are a a disgrace- the energy behind thewords is what is so disturbing to me... mr berry has , in my opinion disgraced his city, his state, his family, but most of all himself... i hope the constiuents of houston, in the future, vote for someone with character as their councilmanand that next time a pro tem is needed, better care and consideration would be used in making that choice- i think one need merely really look at this person's picture, and can see to the heart of this matter....whoever raised this boy , again, in my opinion, should hang their head in shame along with him.......my prayer is, in time, with experience and understanding, this one finds his way- that it is not a way of hate- and that he finds his grace
April 4, 2007 9:35 AM
Anonymous said...
Dear Mr. Berry,My name is Sarah and I represent the American Indians/Alaskan Natives that are federally employed with the Department of Defense at Fort Drum, New York. Although I am a registered member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, I have the pleasure of serving all tribes and all matters concerning us. I received an email from a family member in Oklahoma, and upon reading it was discussed at your knowledge, or lack there of, of Native American/American Indian culture and opportunities. I started to wonder if you had ever met and “Indian” and truly listened to who they were or where they come from. I would like to introduce myself to you so that way you can have someone in mind the next time you go on a rant about something you know nothing about.I grew up in a small community called Honobia, Oklahoma. The latest survey made said the population was 128. With in the last couple of years the state has been paving the roads. Many are still dirt. I am only 27 years old and can still remember using party lines as our phone system. Most of the residents are poor, and still work a more than 40 hour a week job. The average income is less than $20,000. Many of us come from broken homes. Like in my situation, my grandmother raised my two sisters and me. We lived in an “Indian Home” which means that the Choctaw Nation (Not the US Government) build her a home on land she already owned. We received commodities, or free food, from the Choctaw Nation (Not the US Government). After I graduated from High School, in a class of 15 students, I joined the US Army. I served our country for 8 years so that people like you can have the very freedoms you come to expect. Let it be said that with out “Indians Soldiers” like me you wouldn’t have the freedom of speech you are so glad to have today. I have been a DoD federal employee for 5 years. I am now continuing my education in college. I receive my GI Bill from the Veterans Administration. The money I get to go to school from the government is the money I earned not because I am an Indian, but because I am a Veteran. As for the free college the US is tired of paying for---get real—the US Government doesn’t pay for that. The Choctaw Nation does. It is called a higher education grant. One of the main reasons that the program exist is to combat the stigma of what the white men, like you, think of the Native American people. I hope that one day you will out grow your ignorance and truly be a man of the people. It is statements like the ones you made that set this country back to a time of racism. I hope your children never get offend because of their race. I hope they can appreciate the hard work your wife did to get to a position of respect. There are a lot of hurtful things that can be said about your wife’s background, but I hope she never has to hear them. Word can truly hurt.Thank you,Sarah Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma
April 5, 2007 10:54 AM
Anonymous said...
Dear Michael Berry,I am absolutely nauseated by your ignorant comments made regarding Native Americans. My great-grandmother was Cherokee Indian, and I am proud of that part of my heritage and saddened by the treatment of her people by expats settling in this country.You demonstrated as much sensitivity as that other ignorant Texan, President Bush when he continued his visit on his ranch while thousands of dead Katrina victims floated in the streets of New Orleans.What duplicity...you support the Houston Holocaust Museum for Jews, yet denigrate financial support for Native Americans saying they don't deserve support because they lost the war 200 years ago and they should quit whining.Shame on you! If it were not for the Navajo Code talkers, we might not have won WW II when we did and hundreds of thousands more American soldiers could have lost theirlives as a result. You stupidly said in your comments...oh yea...we did rebuild Germany and Japan...yes we did. We owe our Native Americans a debt that has never been properly repaid while spending billions and billions of dollars to support Israel since WWII ended, not to mention the funds expended on Germany, Japan, and the other countries we helped rebuild after that horrible war.The Native Americans in this country have been screwed in every way imaginable and possible. What this country has done to them is outrageous and shameful. I put theholocaust of our Native Americans above what happened to the Jews in Nazi Germany, because percentage wise, Native Americans have all but been wiped out by comparison.Are you aware Mr. Berry, that the average life span of a Navajo Indians is 31 years of age now due to depleted uranium contamination on their tribal lands from miningcompanies who irresponsibly mined uranium for nuclear weapons (which we used in the nuclear bombing of Japan that ended the war) and that they have not cleaned up after themselves? Native American lands and water are contaminated, thus radiation seeps into their homes and poisons their animals and food. Are you aware this has and continues to occur on various tribal lands throughout the entire west and southwest and that now, Indian children as young as 10 are regularly being diagnosed with incurable cancers? Sadly, the "Superfund" from long ago that was to be used to clean up Indian land hasn't occurred in the manner it should have nor have the companies responsible cleaned up as ordered to do so.I'll bet you proudly call yourself a Christian and attend church every Sunday, don't you? God forgive you for your ignorant, hard heart. You don't deserve to serve any American public in any way shape or form, especially the true Americans, our Natives AmericanIndians, whom people whose ancestors like you raped, murdered and stole from so they could have a better life from under the tyranny and oppression of the King of England.The article I read says you apologized, but in my mind this is meaningless...your words of apology ring hollow. You should never have made the comment in the first place. At my age I know that words spoken by humans come from the gut and heart first and I know bullshit when I see it. You have a dark gut and heart Mr. Berry, and an apologyfrom you is meaningless.As a good Christian, which I am sure you claim yourself to be, I suggest you volunteer on some Navajo or other Indian reservations and expose yourself to the depleteduranium they live with on a daily basis...take your family along so you can experience first hand true Native American life, then speak about what they do or do not deserve for having lost the war 200 years ago. Oh...don't want to take a chance and expose yourself and your family members to potential uranium poisoning? Perhaps after a stint volunteering you'll support a Native American Holocaust Museum and give all Native Americans their proper due.You should resign your position and withdraw from government. God help us, this country cannot tolerate any more ignorant leaders like you in Government.Peace be with you and Happy Easter.
April 6, 2007 8:36 AM
Anonymous said...
this so called mayor of houston must be some kind of idiot. he wasn't around when our people fought the whites and the federal government. they are the one's who made the treaties with us and we are owed much more than just an apology. by the way, i see so many non indians riding around in cars with tribal plates and i see many blondes and red heads at the IHS LOL
April 7, 2007 12:45 AM
Anonymous said...
What a jerk! For those that say we can't handle the truth! You don't even know the truth! Your own history did't tell you the truth. All native people's work and struggle on a daily basis. Living 2 worlds, mine and your's, I rather be living in mine, like we used too! people like him should get their heads out of their asses. From a mother on a reservation in Texas
April 13, 2007 8:51 PM
Anonymous said...
Another Imas or worse!?? This man should be fired before his next election to roll around! I'd like for him to visit a reservation, take a look around the areas, talk with the elderly and young and ask if life is all peaches and cream for them, then see if he still thinks all is given to them on silver platters. I grew up off the reservation, lived on the reservation, and then had to move off to make a living. If everything was given to me, I'd have a better life on the reservation, but because of the laws and taxes, it is difficult for businesses to begin on the reservations, therefore the lack of employment exists. Still, do you see everyone in a luxury home with all the everyday amenities: running water and electricity? This man is not only insulting the Native Americans, but seems to have a problem with any race that was forced into slavery to say "If you're against apologizing for slavery then you gotta be against giving welfare to …." Then to go on to say “Why don't we go hand the Germans a few million dollars and the Italians and the Japanese -- OK, so we did rebuild their country -- we don't continue to give them aid because they sit around whining about a war from 200 years ago.” If he were to honestly believe the Native Americans were well off and taken care of from the miss treatment, then most wouldn’t be at the poverty levels they are at today. Native Americans wouldn’t have to continuously ask for water pipe lines or electricity to be provided in their area to a small home or decent roads to travel. Not much has been done to improve the lifestyle for the people who want to continue there traditional beliefs and stay on land that is “provided” for them to live on because it holds history for them. Most on reservations are not land and property owners. The piece of land they do live on can still be issued to someone else who contests to do so because it is still government land. Look at the Native Americans near Niagara Falls who had to give up their home for electricity to New York and New Jersey. Look at the Native Americans in Arizona at the Grand Canyon who lost their way of living when the dam was built to provide electricity for Las Vegas and other parts of Nevada, California, Utah, and Arizona. Those people had no choice when the water was rising, but to move and find their own new home and way of life. One elderly woman was telling her story of this situation, and commented on her house “under the water” and how she hoped to see it again before she passed on… if the government would let some of the water drain, and then she could take her goats and sheep there again. She’d like to get her glasses off the table, too. Of course it’d never happen. And she still didn’t get a new pair of glasses at the time she was telling her story. This man, Houston Councilman Michael Berry, is completely clueless, should be removed from office, forced to live in poverty stricken areas, and asked to drive miles and miles to his job (especially now with the rate of gasoline) with little help from the government to maybe get a grip on what the government does and doesn’t provide for the average American. He may think twice and see the Native Americans do not have everything the average American has. Not every tribe has a casino and not every tribal member gets funds from a casino in their area. I say fire him just as the general public asked for Imas and more. He may have apologized, but actions are louder. He should volunteer his community services to help the average American and Native Americans.Thank you for your time, A. Strong
April 14, 2007 9:53 AM


APOCA-WHATO? Mel Gibson Tells Mayan Scholar to 'F--k Off'


Mount Mel erupts again
Outburst follows filibuster at CSUN film discussion

BY RACHEL URANGA and DANA BARTHOLOMEW, Staff Writers

Article Last Updated: 03/24/2007 12:53:13 AM PDT

Mel Gibson speaks at CSUN on Thursday, March 22, 2007, in... (Khristian Garay/Daily Sundial)
NORTHRIDGE - Actor-director Mel Gibson found himself at the center of controversy again Friday, the day after he cursed a Cal State Northridge professor who accused him of racially stereotyping Mayans in his latest film, "Apocalypto."
The expletive came after a late-night CSUN screening of the movie when assistant professor Alicia Estrada questioned Gibson's sources for the graphically violent film and translated a lengthy declaration denouncing it.
Several of those in attendance said Gibson's outburst came as Estrada was being escorted from the room after a five-minute exchange in front of the audience of 130 mostly film students.
"He told her to `F--- off, lady,"' said CSUN student Josue Guajan, 22, of Van Nuys, a native Guatamalan who is half Mayan.
"I was shocked about his response. I thought he would be more civilized and it would be educational."
Estrada, a scholar of Mayan literature, said Friday that she will seek an apology.
"I am demanding an apology not just for myself but also the Central American Studies Program, to the university, and to, most importantly, the Mayan community and members of the Mayan community," Estrada said.
Gibson's publicist, however, said the actor doesn't need to apologize because he was more than gracious in answering Estrada's questions before finally becoming frustrated.
"This was just a reaction to someone being disruptive and rude," said Alan Nierob, Gibson's publicist. "He went on and completed the session and said it was successful. It's unfortunate it was tarnished with a momentary confrontation."
The incident is not the first time Gibson's temper has landed him in hot water. Last summer, Gibson screamed sexist and anti-Semitic insults at police after he was arrested for drunk driving in Malibu.
That confrontation came after the blockbuster success of Gibson's controversial film "The Passion of the Christ."
Last year, when Walt Disney distributed "Apocalypto," handlers were careful to craft a Gibson image of tolerance. ABC's "Prime Time" broadcast an hourlong special detailing Gibson's new-found sobriety as well as his use of Mayan actors and extensive research for the film.
But Thursday's incident again put Gibson on the defensive. Officials from California State University, Northridge, say it came about 20 minutes into a question-and-answer session designed to focus on moviemaking.
Gibson had calmly answered several students' questions about the film when Estrada, an assistant professor of Central American Studies, took the microphone.
Estrada said she challenged Gibson's depictions of bloodthirsty Mayans engaging in sacrificial ceremonies.
"I stated a very valid academic question," Estrada said. "He argues he studies Mayan culture and the representations he provides are authentic. I asked him who his sources were."
Estrada said Gibson used profanity in his response, although CSUN spokesman John Chandler disagreed.
"He didn't respond with a profanity," Chandler said. "He responded by answering the question."
Estrada said she then handed the microphone to a man described by Guajan as a Mayan community leader, who began reading a lengthy statement in Spanish.
After grousing from some in the audience, officials cut off the microphone.
"People in the audience began to get restless," Chandler said. "At one point, a member of the staff said ... `Ask a question, or leave."'
But Gibson told university officials to turn the microphone back on and Estrada then began to translate.
The statement denounced the film as a distortion of Mayan history. Officials said that when it became clear Estrada would not be asking questions related to filmmaking or the film, they called security to escort her out.
Guajan said about half the audience applauded when the pair was escorted out by an armed security guard.
It was then that Gibson, his face red, uttered the expletive. And then he fired a parting shot: "Make your own movie!"
"He was feeling frustrated; there was no other intellectual discussion," said John Schultheiss, chairman of the department of Cinema and Television Art, which organized the session.
"That was his way of summing up: `Gosh, if you aren't happy with the way an idea is presented to you, then you should present it yourself."'
(818) 713-3741

Comment from Navajo filmmaker Arlene Bowman, living in Vancouver BC:

"I am a Dine' indigenous filmmaker and I viewed the Apocolypto. I attended UCLA and received my MFA from there in 86. The film was a very racist and violent depiction of the Mayan culture and people: a turn off. Very few dramas, comedies, animations get WRITTEN/PRODUCED/DIRECTED BY INDIGENOUS FILMMAKERS ANYHOW in these CONTEMPORARY TIMES IN HOLLYWOOD. Oh yeah, there are indigenous filmmakers out there in the Americas. When a person like Estrada and the Mayan community express an opposite/true point of view than what mainstream non-indigenous people want to believe about indigenous people, the systematic stereotypes and sexism that continues, it gets trashed and censored especially from a female like the one at that student filmmaker's screening at California State at Northridge in LA from people like Gibson and his publicists. At that student film screening with filmmaker present with question and answer, that is the last place where film students will ever again get to hear various critiques about a produced film. After that the conservative, mainstream movie thinking dictates what can be heard just like what happened at the question/answer with the film students and Gibson. Actually it's kind of sad that the mainstream public, his publicists and Gibson are uneducated and uninformed about what really happens and goes about Mayan people and the other indigenous peoples in the Americas. Yes, positive things happen, but still there's a lot of oppression against the Mayans and many indigenous peoples to resolve and make change for: a low intensity war that goes on in Chiapas, radioactive materials scattered and left there to clean up from private companies that mined uranium in various areas of the Navajo Reservation and other conflicts to fix throughout the whole of the Americas. Estrada has a lot of courage to express her displeasure in how the mainstream cinema treats topics like Apocolypto in this day and age. That's why as indigenous people and other people who understand indigenous values, culture and language, we rightfully have the right to write/direct/produce dramas/comedies/music videos/animation other types of works to express our own stories and to make these comments whether it is liked or not. That's what it's about. Why do you think Spike Lee, an Afro-American filmmaker and an Iranian female filmmaker Samira Makhmalbat directed and wrote their own feature films. The mainstream public, most of the people who wrote these anti Estrada comments and Gibson do not get it about the issues that concern people of color, especially in the United States, Canada and Mexico where hardly anyone knows much about the First Nations who live there and else where such as the Mayans. I know so.


UPDATE: PETITION DEMANDING GIBSON APOLOGIZE TO MAYAN COMMUNITYhttp://www.petitiononline.com/MAYAN/

To: Mel Gibson and University Administration
Mel Gibson Apologize to CSUN students and the Mayan Community! We demand that Mel Gibson, writer and director of the film “Apocalypto” apologize to the faculty, students and members of the Mayan community present at the California State University Northridge talk where he used an abusive obscenity in response to legitimate questions about his film. Mel Gibson’s obscene and hostile remarks tarnished the safe learning environment that the university strives to foster for all students, faculty and guests. His refusal to address the questions raised by the Mayan community members and his obscene response saying “F¬ ck off lady” demonstrates a fundamental lack of respect and understanding of the issues raised by the indigenous communities he claims to depict in his film. While we cannot hold a Hollywood movie like “Apocalypto” to the standards of accuracy in its depiction of history, we must hold it and its creator accountable for its public value, impact and influence. “Apocalypto” is a movie that perpetuates a racist and violent understanding of Indigenous peoples; these representations propagate, at best, misconception, and at worst, hate toward the Indigenous communities. We also hope that as a public figure, Mel Gibson, truly understands that his work, views and productions are and should be open to public scrutiny as well as public viewing and support. This is the power of film after all. Please let the following people at the University of California Northridge know that you support the Mayan Community and that Mel Gibson should do the right thing and apologize, by signing this petition and sending it to the following people:
Jolene Koester, President Telephone: (818) 677-2121 jolene.koester@csun.edu
Harry Hellenbrand Office of the Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs Phone: (818) 677-2957 Fax: (818) 677-5530, Harry.Hellenbrand@csun.edu
Elizabeth Say, Dean of College of Humanities http://us.f520.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?To=elizabeth.say@csun.edu

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

All my life I have been raised to "Love one another". What's this guys problem? In the fIrst place Texas never belonged to ANYONE!
In the second place, I lived in Texas for many years and just had to leave, to be FREE! I have met many colors of TEXANS. If it weren't for the People of Color working for lousy pay,lousy treatment and lousy attitudes TEXAS would not be "A Whole 'Nuther
Country" as they so brag.
As tribal members we ALL work hard, we all don't work in casinos, believe me, if you could have one, YOU WOULD! That's the gist of it. I am not a google/blogger or other or anonymous! leave place for a name!

brendanorrell@gmail.com said...

Hi,
Thanks so much for your comment. Plase feel free to leave your name and other info, if you like, on the comment post. There's the option of anonymous for those who choose.
Best, Brenda

Anonymous said...

That Houston mayor better be careful. If he was truly "Indian", then he'd know that us natives have powerful medicine. Tsk...tsk.

Anonymous said...

You, Mr. Mike Berry, are ignorant to the point of stupid. How did you get in that seat you're in now!? Study the treaties between the U.S. government and us Indians before you make such a dumb statement. We did not lose a war. The U.S. government signed a treaty with us in 1868 that they have yet to honor. Read that before you make any more ignorant statements.

Anonymous said...

So many thins can be said even further back than that . If it weren't for the Indian way of democracy within the tribes Americans woul've never set up the US goverment as it is. It would probably still be under the ruling of a King or Queen or some dictator and this guy would still be a lousy peasant. As for the point at hand I why isn't this made more public about what he has said?? If it were aimed at a black or other minority this would have made headlines. OUTRAGEOUS!!

Anonymous said...

My name is Carey Waubanascum; I am Menominee Indian, living on the Menominee Indian Reservation. I have joined the United States Marine Corps and after words joined the United States Navy. The Montgomery G.I. Bill is helping me pay for my education. No Native Grant.

I am not a conquered people. I am a Marine, a Sailor, a full time employee, apartime student, and most of all I am a mother.

Funny, I would like to know where this free Native College is.



During my 11 years of active duty service, I have made many friends of many races (I miss them, a lot.). My best friend is white, and we still talk to this day. Her name is Leah and she is from TexasJ I have never felt that I need an apology from her or any other person on this earth for our history. Nor did I think that have a Casino was a good idea, I see no money from our Casino. I have always worked hard for what I have and always will. Most of the Native Casinos were not given to us as a gift. But each state that has a Casino is receiving monies from these Casinos. Even for whites to have better school, highways, or whatever that state see fit. When money is involved people of all races get greedy.





I greatly appreciate your time for reading me e-mail.



Thank you,

Carey Waubanascum

USMC/USN

Full time work and mother, part-time college

Anonymous said...

To Mr. Berry,

I served and retired from the Navy after 22 years of service. I am a service connected disabled Veteran. I served proudly and honorably. What I have is because of what I earned it's not a handout.

The same goes for Native Americans. We are proud and honorable people we just want respect and acknowledgement that our ancestors were not conquered but tricked, lied and killed for their land.

There are only 3 recognized tribes in Texas. Most of us are Urban Native Americans and we work, study and live just like any other American citizen. We expect nothing from the government. Why? Because if we do, our way of life will be taken away in one form or another.

The Genocide of our culture is still ongoing as we speak. Most Natives in Texas are not recognized as Native Americans but classified as Mexican Americans.

Texas Natives were made to give up their Native American status and say they were Mexican after the Mexican American War so that Texas would be allowed into the Union. The US at the time didn't want another Indian welfare State.

These Texas Natives that are not recognized can't legally follow their ancestral culture and have to live in fear. They can't wear their regalia in powwows or partake in sacred ceremonies without fear the govenment will come down on them for not being a bonafide US Indian. Why don't they target the cowboys that wear feathers in their hats at the country western bars or rodeos? Or target hunters that have their birds stuffed as trophies?

We just want to be allowed to be who we are and left alone to pray and partake in our ancestral ceremonies without fear of pursecution by the US government.

Thank you for your time and know that we do vote and can campaign for someone that is not a racist.

Anonymous said...

Hi - this guy IS an idiot but he's not the Mayor of Houston. He's the Pro Tem - which means he's a city council member. Mainly, he has a talk show that thrives on controversial subjects (Rush Limbaugh type of guy). I live in Houston so I had to let everyone know - like every city in America we have idiot city council members - but he is not our Mayor.

Anonymous said...

mr berry, maybe you should come up to REDLAKE, MINNESOTA and talk crazy, we'll send you home with a WALLEYE stuffed up your political ass. TEXAS mayor doesn't know what he's talking about. I hope in the next little election he doesn't make IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Laura B. said...

What an awful thing to say. I hope you apologize to everybody you offended. I teach on an Indian reservation, and my students are wonderful. --- The U.S. government screwed up and completely ruined life for Indians, the people who were here way before Europeans were, and I really hope that in my lifetime they will admit that. You can do a good thing here and at least admit that YOU were wrong.

Anonymous said...

" We conquered them, that's history - Hello "'

You call stealing,killing of innocent women and children and old people conquering..when your type of people stole the land..then turned to killing of children and women and elders and you call that a whipping..I hope the people of Houston see's the type person you are...and when re-election comes you take the whipping you deserve..I feel sorry for the people of Houston who has a racist idiot as a Pro Tem Mayor..

Anonymous said...

I am very offended by this CITY COUNCIL MANS comments. If you stop and think back Native Americans were the first true Americans. I can't really even be mad at this GUY who says things like this, I have to feel Sorry for people like him. When racist comments like these are made it makes me sick. Yes I am native american and yes I do get help from the government, but we live on a piece of land that is 6 miles by 12 miles long that we were forced on to by bigots like this man. We have have 28,000 enrolled members with a 70 percent unemployement rate because of this small space. He is more than welcome to come up to our reservation and see what our way of life is. I Sincerly hope that he THINKS before he speaks out again.

Anonymous said...

The Treaty of 1868 was written because both parties desired peace, so you didn't conquer anyone.

GILA RIVER - said...

Ha ha it’s funny how he talks about winning a war..... I mean if you think about it in a sense we gave them life!!! We could have killed them all ... but we didn’t and what did we get....
- Land stolen
- People killed
- Women raped (sorry white girls it aint your fault- Native American women are just that damn pretty)
- Kids taken away
- moved to concentration camps... (Reservations)
- And in some cases our traditions were taken away....

I aint asking for a apology - but I’ am here demanding whats mine... you know the sad thing is that once again we are helping you in a way ... because of your illness and your sick and twisted ideas an the ripping of my peoples culture ... there are natives out there suffering and its takes strong warriors to realize the need for a change.... no thanks required ... unlike your society are culture teaches us to help those in need of help ...so keep your apology, your sicko cereal killers, and your dirty ignorant thoughts to your self - cause you know what they say its never nice for a guest to wear out their welcome .!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I think its important to bring up a few points regarding your comments about Native Americans. First you say that "we" are constantly apologizing to Native people and using considerable resources to do so. Where are these apologies? Why haven't we heard them? How much money has been spent? Please show me evidence of this. Second, when you say that land has been given to the Indians you are mistaken. Land that is in the possession of tribes is because of land cessions brought by treaty agreements. You have not given us this land is was ours in the first place, we just have smaller amounts of it now. As for the special laws where Native people can have casinos, it is written into our constitution. American Indian nations are just that, nations which have their own laws and can negotiate with the United States via government to government. Look at Article VI in the Constitution and you will find that that treaties are "the supreme law of the land." As independent nations, we have the ability to operate casinos without needing your approval or the United States government approval. As far as the issues that happened 150 years ago they are tragic and horrendous. It did not end there. For instance, look at the thousands of children forced into boarding schools. These children were beaten, raped and murdered by the hundreds. Boarding schools were commonplace until the 1950's. How about the removal of Native children to White homes by the thousands by the government? They believed that if the parents were poor they should not be allowed to have children. This happened until the 1970s. Native people were not allowed to practice their own religion until 1978 legally. How long have you been able to practice yours? I would suggest you go to church more often after making comments like you did. So I suggest next time you open your ignorant mouth, you should first acquire the knowledge of such issues and offer an apology to all Native people that you have insulted. I am an Anishinaabe from Red Lake, MN.

kayo said...

... the comments made by mr berry, houston's mayor pro tem- emphasis on the pro tem- were and are a
a disgrace- the energy behind the
words is what is so disturbing to me... mr berry has , in my opinion disgraced his city, his state, his family, but most of all himself... i hope the constiuents of houston, in the future, vote for someone with character as their councilman
and that next time a pro tem is needed, better care and consideration would be used in making that choice- i think one need merely really look at this person's picture, and can see to the heart of this matter....whoever raised this boy , again, in my opinion, should hang their head in shame along with him.......my prayer is, in time, with experience and understanding, this one finds his way- that it is not a way of hate- and that he finds his grace

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Berry,

My name is Sarah and I represent the American Indians/Alaskan Natives that are federally employed with the Department of Defense at Fort Drum, New York. Although I am a registered member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, I have the pleasure of serving all tribes and all matters concerning us.

I received an email from a family member in Oklahoma, and upon reading it was discussed at your knowledge, or lack there of, of Native American/American Indian culture and opportunities. I started to wonder if you had ever met and “Indian” and truly listened to who they were or where they come from. I would like to introduce myself to you so that way you can have someone in mind the next time you go on a rant about something you know nothing about.

I grew up in a small community called Honobia, Oklahoma. The latest survey made said the population was 128. With in the last couple of years the state has been paving the roads. Many are still dirt. I am only 27 years old and can still remember using party lines as our phone system. Most of the residents are poor, and still work a more than 40 hour a week job. The average income is less than $20,000. Many of us come from broken homes. Like in my situation, my grandmother raised my two sisters and me. We lived in an “Indian Home” which means that the Choctaw Nation (Not the US Government) build her a home on land she already owned. We received commodities, or free food, from the Choctaw Nation (Not the US Government). After I graduated from High School, in a class of 15 students, I joined the US Army. I served our country for 8 years so that people like you can have the very freedoms you come to expect. Let it be said that with out “Indians Soldiers” like me you wouldn’t have the freedom of speech you are so glad to have today. I have been a DoD federal employee for 5 years. I am now continuing my education in college. I receive my GI Bill from the Veterans Administration. The money I get to go to school from the government is the money I earned not because I am an Indian, but because I am a Veteran. As for the free college the US is tired of paying for---get real—the US Government doesn’t pay for that. The Choctaw Nation does. It is called a higher education grant. One of the main reasons that the program exist is to combat the stigma of what the white men, like you, think of the Native American people.

I hope that one day you will out grow your ignorance and truly be a man of the people. It is statements like the ones you made that set this country back to a time of racism. I hope your children never get offend because of their race. I hope they can appreciate the hard work your wife did to get to a position of respect. There are a lot of hurtful things that can be said about your wife’s background, but I hope she never has to hear them. Word can truly hurt.

Thank you,
Sarah
Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

Anonymous said...

Dear Michael Berry,

I am absolutely nauseated by your ignorant comments made regarding Native Americans. My great-grandmother was Cherokee Indian, and I am proud of that part of my heritage and saddened by the treatment of her people by expats settling in this country.

You demonstrated as much sensitivity as that other ignorant Texan, President Bush when he continued his visit on his ranch while thousands of dead Katrina victims floated in the streets of New Orleans.

What duplicity...you support the Houston Holocaust Museum for Jews, yet denigrate financial support for Native Americans saying they don't deserve support because they lost the war 200 years ago and they should quit whining.

Shame on you! If it were not for the Navajo Code talkers, we might not have won WW II when we did and hundreds of thousands more American soldiers could have lost their
lives as a result. You stupidly said in your comments...oh yea...we did rebuild Germany and Japan...yes we did.

We owe our Native Americans a debt that has never been properly repaid while spending billions and billions of dollars to support Israel since WWII ended, not to mention the funds expended on Germany, Japan, and the other countries we helped rebuild after that horrible war.

The Native Americans in this country have been screwed in every way imaginable and possible. What this country has done to them is outrageous and shameful. I put the
holocaust of our Native Americans above what happened to the Jews in Nazi Germany, because percentage wise, Native Americans have all but been wiped out by comparison.

Are you aware Mr. Berry, that the average life span of a Navajo Indians is 31 years of age now due to depleted uranium contamination on their tribal lands from mining
companies who irresponsibly mined uranium for nuclear weapons (which we used in the nuclear bombing of Japan that ended the war) and that they have not cleaned up after themselves? Native American lands and water are contaminated, thus radiation seeps into their homes and poisons their animals and food. Are you aware this has and continues to occur on various tribal lands throughout the entire west and southwest and that now, Indian children as young as 10 are regularly being diagnosed with incurable cancers? Sadly, the "Superfund" from long ago that was to be used to clean up Indian land hasn't occurred in the manner it should have nor have the companies responsible cleaned up as ordered to do so.

I'll bet you proudly call yourself a Christian and attend church every Sunday, don't you? God forgive you for your ignorant, hard heart.

You don't deserve to serve any American public in any way shape or form, especially the true Americans, our Natives American
Indians, whom people whose ancestors like you raped, murdered and stole from so they could have a better life from under the tyranny and oppression of the King of England.

The article I read says you apologized, but in my mind this is meaningless...your words of apology ring hollow. You should never have made the comment in the first place. At my age I know that words spoken by humans come from the gut and heart first and I know bullshit when I see it. You have a dark gut and heart Mr. Berry, and an apology
from you is meaningless.

As a good Christian, which I am sure you claim yourself to be, I suggest you volunteer on some Navajo or other Indian reservations and expose yourself to the depleted
uranium they live with on a daily basis...take your family along so you can experience first hand true Native American life, then speak about what they do or do not deserve for having lost the war 200 years ago. Oh...don't want to take a chance and expose yourself and your family members to potential uranium poisoning?

Perhaps after a stint volunteering you'll support a Native American Holocaust Museum and give all Native Americans their proper due.
You should resign your position and withdraw from government.

God help us, this country cannot tolerate any more ignorant leaders like you in Government.

Peace be with you and Happy Easter.

Anonymous said...

this so called mayor of houston must be some kind of idiot. he wasn't around when our people fought the whites and the federal government. they are the one's who made the treaties with us and we are owed much more than just an apology. by the way, i see so many non indians riding around in cars with tribal plates and i see many blondes and red heads at the IHS LOL

Anonymous said...

What a jerk! For those that say we can't handle the truth! You don't even know the truth! Your own history did't tell you the truth. All native people's work and struggle on a daily basis. Living 2 worlds, mine and your's, I rather be living in mine, like we used too! people like him should get their heads out of their asses.

From a mother
on a reservation
in Texas

Anonymous said...

Another Imas or worse!?? This man should be fired before his next election to roll around!

I'd like for him to visit a reservation, take a look around the areas, talk with the elderly and young and ask if life is all peaches and cream for them, then see if he still thinks all is given to them on silver platters.

I grew up off the reservation, lived on the reservation, and then had to move off to make a living. If everything was given to me, I'd have a better life on the reservation, but because of the laws and taxes, it is difficult for businesses to begin on the reservations, therefore the lack of employment exists. Still, do you see everyone in a luxury home with all the everyday amenities: running water and electricity?

This man is not only insulting the Native Americans, but seems to have a problem with any race that was forced into slavery to say "If you're against apologizing for slavery then you gotta be against giving welfare to …."
Then to go on to say “Why don't we go hand the Germans a few million dollars and the Italians and the Japanese -- OK, so we did rebuild their country -- we don't continue to give them aid because they sit around whining about a war from 200 years ago.”

If he were to honestly believe the Native Americans were well off and taken care of from the miss treatment, then most wouldn’t be at the poverty levels they are at today. Native Americans wouldn’t have to continuously ask for water pipe lines or electricity to be provided in their area to a small home or decent roads to travel. Not much has been done to improve the lifestyle for the people who want to continue there traditional beliefs and stay on land that is “provided” for them to live on because it holds history for them. Most on reservations are not land and property owners. The piece of land they do live on can still be issued to someone else who contests to do so because it is still government land.

Look at the Native Americans near Niagara Falls who had to give up their home for electricity to New York and New Jersey.

Look at the Native Americans in Arizona at the Grand Canyon who lost their way of living when the dam was built to provide electricity for Las Vegas and other parts of Nevada, California, Utah, and Arizona. Those people had no choice when the water was rising, but to move and find their own new home and way of life. One elderly woman was telling her story of this situation, and commented on her house “under the water” and how she hoped to see it again before she passed on… if the government would let some of the water drain, and then she could take her goats and sheep there again. She’d like to get her glasses off the table, too. Of course it’d never happen. And she still didn’t get a new pair of glasses at the time she was telling her story.

This man, Houston Councilman Michael Berry, is completely clueless, should be removed from office, forced to live in poverty stricken areas, and asked to drive miles and miles to his job (especially now with the rate of gasoline) with little help from the government to maybe get a grip on what the government does and doesn’t provide for the average American. He may think twice and see the Native Americans do not have everything the average American has. Not every tribe has a casino and not every tribal member gets funds from a casino in their area.

I say fire him just as the general public asked for Imas and more. He may have apologized, but actions are louder. He should volunteer his community services to help the average American and Native Americans.

Thank you for your time,
A. Strong

Michael said...

Thanks for your nice post!

Anonymous said...

ok, so u say we are whining about the past? that we keep talking about how we were murdered and ripped off? that is something to talk about, it was in-human. And if you take a look in American History classes, you are still talking about how the English (no offense to English people) ripped you off back then when u were still settlers in the New Americas! so why can't we talk about how badly ripped off we were?
you have no right to say those kinds of things..
next time, you should think before opening your mouth.

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