Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

August 21, 2011

Indian Country Today continues to curse readers in e-mail responses

Carlisle Indian School/Photo Brenda Norrell
By Brenda Norrell
Censored News
A columnist for Indian Country Today continues to insult readers while denying the abuse of Indian students in boarding schools.

Megan Jensen, Cherokee/Dine', received the following response from Indian Country Today columnist Chuck Trimble. In the e-mail, Trimble said, "You sound like a white bitch."

The widespread physical and sexual abuse of Indian children at government and church funded schools is well documented in the US, Canada and Australia.

However, readers who challenge the positive portrayals of Indian boarding schools by Indian Country Today have been cursed and insulted by both a columnist and an editor at the newspaper.

On Sat, Aug 20, 2011 at 12:51 PM, Chuck Trimble wrote to Megan Jensen:

Where did your go to boarding school? You probably didn't. I am NOT saying
that kids weren't abused. What I am saying is that I had never seen any kids
beaten (spanked only), and had only gone to one school, which is all I can
attest to. I absolutely know that Tim Giago tells lies about his
experiences, because I was in school every single day he was, and in the
same grade, and we were best friends. He was a favorite of the Nuns because
he was cute and looked white, but you would think from his writings that he
was tortured. He's a phony, as you sound. You sound like a white bitch."
Chuck Trimble

Trimble was responding to this comment from Megan Jensen. Jensen wrote this message to ICT op-ed writer Ruth Hopkins:

Subject: Offensive Indian sterotypes
"Regarding your editorial in Indian Country Today, those Whites are idiots.
We need to laugh at them and pity the fools who put on feathers and act like
idiots. Most Whites I meet need to be ignored. Even White Indians like Chuck
Trimble who write in Indian Country Today write like fools. He has been
denying boarding schools were places where Indians were abused and almost
seems to make fun of those of us who were abused in boarding schools. He and
his siblings weren't abused because they look like Whites. We Indians were
abused - Whites weren't abused. We need to start ignoring Whites. Ignore how
they act, ignore what they write, ignore what they do." -- Megan Jensen

This was not the first time readers were cursed by Indian Country Today.
Trimble's response with profanity follows a previous text message from Ray Cook, Indian Country Today editorial page editor, to a reader, in regards to Trimble's columns:
From Ray Cook:
What is your f------ point dude? This man, a grown man, a elder, is
simply relating HIS experience. What a badger you are, and with no
f------ point other than to be angry at sh-- you don't even
understand. You (name removed), are a total young puck a-- dick head, of the
royal variety.
Shut up, sit down and listen to these people, you just might f------
learn something. A fellow comes out of the boarding schools with a
good experience and all you can do is sh-- all over it. What an a-- hole you can be.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
Finally, here is an e-mail from a young man and his uncle, Pete Meyer, in regards to columnist Chuck Trimble's columns.
To: Editors at Indian Country Today

I am very disappointed that ICT continually publishes Trimble's essays where he keeps reiterating that Indian boarding school was a very enjoyable experience for him, his friends and his eleven siblings. Chuck Trimble very cleverly "frames" his essays in the context of inter-generational trauma but his real objective is to convey the impression that abuse in Indian boarding schools was non-existent. Trimble also mocks those who suffered abuse when he writes things like "one of the old-timers asked the question, “Where are the dungeons where students are chained and beaten?” and this drew hearty laughs all around." You need to recognize that Trimble is a denier and stop hurting those who were actually abused in Indian boarding schools. Indigenous people were abused not just in the US but also in Canada, Australia and elsewhere.
Trimble and his siblings were obviously not abused because they were Catholic, melted and looked White. Indians were abused in boarding schools; melted, White Catholics like Trimble weren't.
My uncle's response to Chuck Trimble's essay in Indian Country Today at follows. Indian Country Today didn't publish my uncle's letter below:
"Mr. Trimble, you are very severely misrepresenting my nephew. I have seen all his emails to you. When you write, "and he insists that I couldn’t have had any fun because of the horrible suffering I was going through, which he likened to Auschwitz. And he wants me to snap out of my brainwashed state and start feeling appropriately traumatized and bitter like the victim I’m supposed to be." When you write this, you are not merely misrepresenting my nephew, you are completely fabricating what he wrote. I have seen every single one of his emails to you. In the same vein, I am sure no reader in ICT ever wrote that you did suffer horribly but you are trying to cover it up. That is purely your imagination or your invention; more likely the latter. Let me reassert what angers people:
Even in this essay, you say that you and your 11 siblings had an "enjoyable campus life" in several different boarding schools. I am sure some Jew must have had an enjoyable life in a concentration camp too. But it would be EXTREMELY offensive for that Jewish person to write column after column in the #1 Jewish newspaper dwelling on how enjoyable a concentration camp was for him and his 11 siblings when it was a horror for so many others. Do you get this at all? Or when you talk about an all-classes reunion when one of the old-timers asked the question, “Where are the dungeons where students are chained and beaten?” and this drew hearty laughs all around. When you say write such things you are implying that others are lying about their boarding school experiences. You are mocking people who did suffer abuse in boarding schools. Indeed in an email to my nephew you wrote to him that everyone else is LYING about their boarding school experiences and they weren't there. I have seen this email from you. You are truly a denier, Mr. Trimble. I must warn you - you seem to be in your seventies and soon you will have to confront your Creator, as we all do around that age. You will have to be answerable to all such lies and distortions and may the Great Mystery have mercy on your soul. So be very careful and tread softly my friend, and avoid hurting those of us who have actually suffered horrible abuse in Indian boarding schools. Pete Meyer" 

1 comment:

Firehair said...

#1--I wont buy or read ICT due to who owns it and the caliber of people who iften write for it.

#2 - Chuck Trimble is no journalist or reporter. He is a pot stirrer at the least, a hate monger at his worst. I liken him to the Federal Govt/BIA who require 16 boxes of well kept documents from the 1700s in order to accept an Indian tribe is an Indian tribe.

He's not going to believe the abuse unless you have a video--time dated and stamped.

Worse---he is like the lawyers who make rape victims explain their past, clothing, social activities--raping them all over again.

#3. Tim Giago is knees, waist, head and shoulders above Mr Trimble. Giago's accomplishments , awards, legacy speak for themselves. He certainly doesn't need a novice such as me to tout his decades of being there aloways for the People.

Obviously, Mr Trimble is so jealous and bitter he can't type straight. He is pathetic. And NO friend to Indians.