Thursday, April 5, 2007

Racism: Houston Councilman admits he was wrong about American Indians

Please scroll down for reader comments added. The original post exposing the racist radio talk has received the most comments on the Censored blog:

Imus out, Berry still on the air in Houston

Siouxlander LaMere feels vindicated after Imus fired
By Travis Coleman Journal staff writer
Frank LaMere waited 13 years to see Don Imus get fired for his insensitive remarks.In April 1994 LaMere, a Winnebago Tribe member, was the target of an ongoing series of insults after he tried to get the radio shock jock's nationally syndicated program thrown off a Le Mars, Iowa, radio station after comments Imus made about a trip he had made to the Navajo Indian Reservation in Arizona."He proceeded to label all Navajo men as homosexual," LaMere said. For LaMere, it was just more insults. Over the next couple of weeks, Imus poked fun at LaMere, questioning his sexuality. LaMere said his confrontation with Imus was the first sign he'd seen that Imus' "thinking and outlook was flawed.""It made me feel very isolated," LaMere said. "I wanted to unmask him. I wanted to educate him."No one stood up for American Indians as they did for the Rutgers women's basketball team, LaMere said."I see them coming out of the woodwork now that Imus' fate has been sealed, but they all ran for cover in 1994," LaMere said.LaMere said he led the first charge to hold Imus' accountable for his insensitive comments and said he feels vindicated now that Imus' has been fired."I think that opposition to his racist and sexist remarks reached critical mass and the American people said enough is enough," LaMere said. (Full story on link)

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 CaliforniaRadio 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.

National newspapers carry articles on Houston councilman's insults:

Related article: Radio talk show host Don Imus suspended for racist comments:

Steve Melendez, Pyramid Lake Paiute and president of the American Indian Genocide Museum in Houston, was interviewed about Michael Berry's comments on People of Earth:

Houston councilman says he was wrong about American Indians

By Brenda Norrell

HOUSTON -- Houston Councilman Michael Berry, who serves as mayor pro tem, now says his radio comments which insulted American Indians were wrong. Berry says he was re-educated by American Indian responses.
Houston Natives, however, say they'll wait and see if Berry has had a true change of heart.
American Indian responses to his racist radio talk ranged from, "sounds like he needs a small pox infested blanket," to a Red Lake, Minn., reader telling him to "try talking crazy in Red Lake" and they will send him home with a Walleye shoved up his "political ass."
In his change of heart statement, Berry said he was touched by the response of Indian veterans and now understands the difference between sovereign and welfare nations.
Berry said, "I also began learning more about the lives of those who consider themselves Native Americans in modern America . Most don’t receive any governmental assistance of any kind, much less welfare. Almost none of them get any special scholarships from the government for their education. What I believed was 'governmental' assistance and scholarships is in fact tribal programs from a sovereign Indian nation. I do have two law degrees, but I lacked a good understanding of the Constitutional law on Indian treaties and Congressional action on the matter.
I was simply wrong."
Berry's racist comments might have gone unnoticed nationally, if the American Indian Genocide Museum in Houston had not asked Natives to respond. published an article from the information on the "Censored" blog. AP has now followed with an article.
Unfortunately, Berry's comments were not a slip of the tongue, nor can they be wiped away with a few gestures.
Berry gave voice to the racism that grows as a cancer in America.
Berry's comments came during his radio show, during a discussion of slavery and American Indians.
Berry said, "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!"

Berry's change of heart statement:
Regarding my recent comments on American Indians
Wednesday 04-04-2007 9:15pm
"The reason I love hosting a talk radio show is that it gives me an opportunity to share ideas that I have, and to hear from listeners from all walks of life. That exchange, sometimes confrontational, sometimes comical, often informative, and hopefully entertaining, can be magical. While I hope listeners learn from hearing my perspective, I know for sure that I learn from them.
In the course of three hours every morning, I hope that listeners will look at issues in new ways, from different angles. Often I intentionally provoke, in an effort to push listeners to challenge ideas that may be held more by habit than reason.
In so doing, I may say something to a disembodied audience of listeners that I wouldn’t say to a person in a face-to-face meeting. I want to make people react, to pierce that veil that prevents our true thoughts from surfacing. Likewise, in the fast-paced spontaneous moment that is radio, I did not consider the full effects of my words.
When I’m wrong, I’m big enough to admit it.
I received quite a few emails from listeners of American Indian descent regarding some comments I made recently. Those comments were intended to spark a discussion on how we view past transgressions against American Indians as compared to those against Blacks in America. I intended to challenge policies, and not to demean or insult any group of people.
I read every email I received on the matter, and considered each in turn. Some were threatening, some were insulting, some were angry, some simply politely disagreed. Those, I consider, come with the turf of being a talk show host. I expect that.
What bothered me was that my comments were construed as insulting and demeaning to American Indians. That was not my intention. However, I went back and re-read my comments several times, and I can see how someone might come away with that idea.
Some of the emails, though, pricked my conscience and forced me to think deeply about a number of matters. Most troubling were those I received from veterans of foreign wars who spoke of their love for our country, and their sacrifice and service to America.
I also began learning more about the lives of those who consider themselves Native Americans in modern America. Most don’t receive any governmental assistance of any kind, much less welfare. Almost none of them get any special scholarships from the government for their education. What I believed was “governmental” assistance and scholarships is in fact tribal programs from a sovereign Indian nation. I do have two law degrees, but I lacked a good understanding of the Constitutional law on Indian treaties and Congressional action on the matter.
I was simply wrong.
I’ve decided to make the occasion a learning experience for me, and hopefully others as well. I’ll have an American Indian expert guest on the show within the next week to discuss American Indians and answer questions on the matter. If I had misconceptions, perhaps others do, too.
I don’t back down from my desire to challenge others to think outside their personal prejudices, habits, misconceptions, and tired ideas. But I apply the same standard to myself as well. Here, I was wrong and I learned from it.
I’m not making this statement because I received heat from people who were offended. I can handle that. I’m making this statement because my method of framing the discussion seemed to attack people rather than policies, and my facts regarding those policies were wrong.
Finally, I don’t think that challenging policies of our shared government as they relate to any group of people is insulting to that group or any way racist or hateful. It is a healthy part of making good public policy. What is not healthy, or productive, is hateful speech toward others. I didn’t intend to engage in that, but my actions left some American Indians feeling that I did, and I should have been more careful in how I expressed myself. I regret that.
I look forward to hearing from more of you on this, and other, matters, and I’ll continue to be open to considering your opinions, as I hope you will be with mine."
Michael Berry

AP article on Berry's sudden transformation:

--AP article in Seattle Post Intelligencer
Original article from the "Censored" blog, now with reader comments and links to

Berry's racist radio comments:

New article at

Censored 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

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, BrendaMarch 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 collegeMarch 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 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 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 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 graceApril 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 OklahomaApril 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 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 LOLApril 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 TexasApril 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. StrongApril 14, 2007 9:53

By Kathy Helms
Staff Writer

KYKOTSMOVI — Former Hopi Tribal Chairman Ivan Sidney has joined American Indian Genocide Museum in Houston and other Native groups dem and ing Houston Mayor Pro Tem Michael Berry apologize to American Indian tribes for insulting their history and contributions to America .

Berry , a three-term city councilman who also hosts a radio talk show in Houston on "TalkRadio 950 KPRC," apparently makes it a practice to provoke listeners. And in his March 27 broadcast on slavery and Indians, he did just that.

According to a transcript of his remarks, Berry said, "We need to stop wasting all this time and energy apologizing to the American Indians, which we continue to do ... We do it with incredible resources from our Treasury. Our entire Department of the Interior, practically, is the Department of Indian Affairs."

Berry said, "We continue to give l and you know, at the Gr and Canyon this group that got a private developer to come in and put this $30 million glass Skywalk out over the Gr and Canyon, which I will go and see, I admit it, as tacky as it is why are we still giving Indians exclusive rights to gamble, exclusive rights to print money, which is also known as a casino?"

Mayor Berry said he has read the treaties involving American Indians. "First of all, the treaty involved l and and sovereignty. It did not require that we continue to pay for education. It did not require welfare programs. It did not necessarily mean we had to grant them casino licenses ... "

Berry told listeners that if they ' 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."

Berry said the United States doesn ' t continue to give aid to the Germans, the Italians and the Japanese "because they sit around whining about a war from 200 years ago. ...We conquered them, that ' s history. Hello!"

Promoting racism
Former Hopi Chairman Sidney said, "Comments insulting American Indians serve only to promote racism and diminish the heritage and contributions of the American Indian to this great nation that belongs to all of us."

Sidney said American Indians have served the country admirably and have given their lives to protect all Americans, "including Mayor Berry ' s right to freedom of speech, however, Mayor Berry ' s statements do not depict the true plight of the American Indian."

In an open letter to Berry, Sidney said, "Mayor Berry , we are not all conquered nations. First, the Hopi people did not fight a war with America . Second, the Hopi people do not have a treaty with the United States . Third, the Hopi people do not have casinos. Fourth, the Hopi people do not ask for h and outs. Fifth, we are a proud nation of people as are all American Indians.

"As Native people we live within the confines of another nation (the United States ) with unfulfilled commitments resulting in establishing casinos on reservation l and s for the purpose of sustenance and the creation of jobs," Sidney said.

Unfortunately, the history of Native people includes the relocation to sparse areas of l and with little hope or opportunities for economic development, he added. "Native tribes were herded into spaces away from the general population to areas called ' reservations. '

"These l and s were considered undesirable and were set aside for the ' renegade ' Indians, as we are commonly called, by those who are unfamiliar with the history and settlement of America . After centuries of suffering tribes finally found a way to survive in these barren areas through the exercise of sovereignty and the establishment of casinos.

"Yet, today, there are those who continue to tell us to become self-sufficient while on the other h and decry our efforts at self sufficiency," Sidney said.

Hopi not newcomers
The American Indian has lived in this country before the days of Christopher Columbus and the Conquistadors, he added. "The Hopi have occupied this l and since time immemorial and are not the newcomers."

Sidney said the Grand Canyon was not discovered by Christopher Columbus. "The Gr and Canyon was discovered by the Hopi people. We, Hopi, have many sacred places in the Gr and Canyon which have been used in our religious practices for centuries before the arrival of the Conquistadors and others."

The Hopi people are recognized in the International Agreement between Spain , Mexico and America , yet, to date, their recognition in that international agreement has not been fully acknowledged or adhered to by the American government, he said.

"It is for that reason the Hopi Tribe continues to acknowledge the Country of Spain, and it is the reason Spain continues to acknowledge the Hopi people as a sovereign nation."

The former Hopi chairman challenged Houston ' s mayor pro tem: "Mayor Berry , if you are truly interested in learning the history of the occupation of America , please feel free to contact me directly. We will show you the Hopi Reservation and teach you about our history and the contributions our children have made to the security of our great nation.

"We, the Hopi people have lost many of our children in the protection of our great country. Overall, the Native American has served in greater proportions than others in this nation. We only ask that you treat us with dignity and respect.

"We, the Hopi people, are respectful of others and will treat you with dignity and respect," Sidney said.

"We have just concluded our winter ceremonies wherein we pray for all mankind, including Mayor Berry . We will continue to pray for your prosperity and long life."

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