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Sometime during the evening on Valentines Day, a video surfaced on Google Video.
This video depicted 6 girls (non-nish) dancing to pow wow music while holding and drinking from bottles of wine. The video is introduced by one of the girls with "OK, so this is not so pretty good pow wow right before . . . . the party starts." The video runs for another 2 minutes in which the girls continue to dance whilst making comments about "Indians", at one point implying that natives are thieves, and speaking in monotone voices straight out of a 50's western.
The video itself was on the Google site for about 4 hours, but it apparently spread like wildfire in the aboriginal community. I received an email sometime late in the evening and had a look at it. I saved it to my hard drive, thinking that I would show it to the high school administration the next day. As it turns out, there would be no need as most everyone saw it and the high school administration had already been informed about it the morning of the 14th.
Tensions ran high at the school, with one confrontation taking place before period 1. As far as I know that confrontation didn't amount to much. There were 2 other confrontations that took place at the end of period 1. The first was described as little more than a shoving match that ended with the appearance of a teacher, the second actually resulted with one of the involved Muskie team members getting an open handed slap.
I think you may need to provide some more background here. Were the girls in the video students at the high school?
oops - never mind
[ 20 February 2008: Message edited by: Makwa ]
here's some links that provide some of the background:
I'm in the midst of setting up a blog right now, If there's interest I will post the URL, when it's ready.
[ 20 February 2008: Message edited by: niin ]
Originally posted by niin:[b]I'm in the midst of setting up a blog right now, If there's interest I will post the URL, when it's ready.[/b]
Thank you so much niin, I look forward to following your links and to seeing your blog.
(Ed to add) Oh emm gee.. I have read your links and watched the video, and I am actually quite taken aback, but sadly, not terribly surprised. One question, there was a reference and a reprinting of an apparent apology letter which was published in Letters-Fort Frances Times and can be read [url=http://www.fftimes.com/letters]here[/url] and reads in part:
Dear editor:Please accept this open letter to the aboriginal communities:Three months ago we gathered to celebrate with friends. What happened next is inexcusable—nor is there any explanation possible for our stupidity and foolishness.We have watched every humiliating moment of our behaviour in the video with deepest regret. We took a sacred cultural tradition of the Anishnawbe people and treated it like just another dance move off MTV.
What is the local reaction to this apology?
My initial reaction was "Wow, I'm kinda' impressed" It takes a lot of guts to personally put your names out there for the world to see. I had been careful to not use their names in my blog, but I suppose I can do it now.
Then, I began to talk to people, reasonable people, who had begun to dissect the letter. It first appeared in what appears to be a paid ad in the paper on Tuesday. Once you begin to put together other pieces of information, the apology appears to be little more than damage control.
What convinced me of that argument was the fact that in the apology, they state "There was no planning or intent" yet it is quite evident that they had to have planned. I can't quite believe that they had powwow music laying around, the principal stated at the meeting yesterday morning that the police had determined that they weren't drinking, but if they weren't, then that means that the bottles were props, which also implies that some planning took place.
To answer your question, based upon my personal conversations, most seem to feel that it was not a genuine apology. In fact, out about 10-12 spoke to today about this, only one suggested that it be accepted at face value.
Originally posted by Makwa:[b]watched the video[/b]
Where did you see the video? It is one of the last things I need to post my blog. I would have done it myself, but doing so could affect (suspended) my daughter in this her final semester at this school.
Here is a link to the video with comments on youtube: [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9mhnBBPmLh8]"Racism" Pow-wow dance...fort frances [/url]
They published all the girls' names in the comments, too.
Just watched the video. Wow. You'd think people wouldn't be dumb enough to videotape themselves doing stupid, racist shit like that, huh?
It's probably a good thing there was no YouTube when I was in high school. Of course, when I was in high school, probably no one, adult or student, would've batted an eyelash at that, despite being only a 15 minute drive away from Tyendinaga.
[ 20 February 2008: Message edited by: Michelle ]
These racist girls mention their teammates. I hope they have been summarily discharged from representing their school in any organized sport. What should happen is that they get added to a master registry of racists, freely accessible to anyone online, but also hyperlinked to their credit records and any college or job applications.
Originally posted by The Wizard of Socialism:[b]What should happen is that they get added to a master registry of racists, freely accessible to anyone online, but also hyperlinked to their credit records and any college or job applications.[/b]
That sounds pretty harsh. You are suggesting a punishment that would not be done to a teenage rapist or criminal today. You never did anything foolish when you were a teenager?
Well its a little beyond foolish. But I don't think its criminal, but a good dragging through the mud and a dose of public vilification will knock some sense into one or two of them.
The appology is a joint statement. Very likely some of them are sincere, some not. That said, you probably have to take it at face values, even though it does appear to be a little in the vein of covering their tracks. But is that true of all of them?
As likely as not the "joke" was a conpiracy concocted by a couple of them, and the rest just went along with the "gag". So for some of them it might very well just have been jumping around and dancing and drinking, not thinking, on the spur of the moment, while a couple of others dreamed it up.
So, it may be the apology applies to some of them, and they are probably the ones who feel bad and wrote up the letter, and to them it seems like that because that is the way it happened for them, but the really racist core leader types who set up the "joke", just went along with the cover story because it sounds good, even though they know it is a half truth.
[ 20 February 2008: Message edited by: Cueball ]
IMO, these kids learned these racist behaviours at home and it's the parents who should get their butts kicked. It just sickens me that these kids are being kicked around for something their parents taught them.
Or didn't teach them NOT to do, at any rate. When I was a kid, we had no idea that it was offensive to play "Indian" by patting our mouths with our hands to make that "wa-wa-wa-wa" sound. Certainly our teachers (who taught us songs like "One little, two little, three little Indians") never told us it was wrong or insensitive. Probably because our teachers and our parents did it when they were kids too because they didn't know any better and thought it was innocent play.
I guess things haven't changed much in the current generation. Although, actually, perhaps things have, because certainly nothing would have happened to teenagers doing this when I was a kid. (They might have gotten in trouble for drinking, of course, but that's about it.)
Clearly, much more education needs to happen.
[ deleted: too much connection to my own life.]
[ 21 February 2008: Message edited by: RosaL ]
The way to change is not to make ANY racist comments at all around children. I am amazed at what people will say..."chinese drivers", "houses filled with east Indians" etc and it is socially acceptable. If you say anything about their comments people will respond "I'm not racist, it's true, they are like that". Kids learn from what they see and hear. My kids aren't racist at all, because I have taught them not to be. Even when they see me angry for something that white people do they will call me on my rants, telling me that just because I have been a victim, it doesn't give me the right to be a racist too. They have told me stuff about what happens in their schools, calling First Nation's kids "chuggers" and names like that and when I ask them where it comes from? They tell me it's the parents. My children would not play at homes where the parents were like that. It really made them "feel funny in their stomaches" as they told me, when they heard that kind of talk because they knew it was wrong. It has to change at home, progressive people are doing racism talks, events, publications etc...but it doesn't mean anything unless the parents are in on it too.
IMO, these kids learned these racist behaviours at home and it's the parents who should get their butts kicked.
I'm not sure 1to7... As your Media Bias thread goes, if they don't pick these trends up at home, the media or other aspects of society will teach you it (As Michelle points out, school games contain these elements... The feather on a headband along with the wa-wa-wa-wa mouth patting noise can be traced to school activities). I'd be uncertain if any of these girls realized at the time how racist their actions were (and thats more the reason why the parents should get their butts kicked)
I think it would be more on parents to teach children how to recognize and confront racism as opposed to 'just not say racist things infront of them'... Just like you have with your children "taught them not to be".
Yeah, I suppose. I know alot of people who believe everything they read. Would they, if their parents taught them not too? No. It's not enought to teach your kids not to be racist. What you really have to do is teach them to THINK for themselves. This is difficult for parents because they don't want to have to admit to not being perfect. (you don't know how many times I had to appologize to my kids for being a racist asshole) Because kids will call you on it. They will and they will enjoy it too (that's a whole other thread).
ANd I have noticed that the media is smartening up about Aboriginal news. It's getting harder for me to find stories. Maybe they're reading this thread? Ha!(yeah, I know, don't break my arm patting myself on the back) Is it just me or are they reporting the news?!
Your input please!
It's not enought to teach your kids not to be racist.
It's not as simple as 'dont be racist' though... Alot of racism, especially in regards to Aboriginals, is as much caused by the inability to identify what is viewed as standard fare by our society as racism. This case highlights that decently well... I don't think these girls set out with 'lets do something racist' as their intent (really, who knows what their motives really were). I'd suspect that they really weren't aware of that implication at the time.
Not defending their individual actions here, ignorance sure isn't a defence. But I beleive that ignorance is greatly inspired by our society and thats where the change needs to begin. If this was directed towards another minority, the racist implications would have been known outright. Somehow racism towards aboriginals isn't immidiately identified as such.
There was a computer game I was playing a few years back along with a few friends... One of them made a comment about how fun it'd be to find a 'dark continent' free of population for us to inhabit, just like when the Europeans came to North America. sigh. The conquerers wrote the history we get to learn.
ANd I have noticed that the media is smartening up about Aboriginal news. It's getting harder for me to find stories.
Hmm, haven't noticed that as of recent. Is it smartening up, or just not being so glaringly obvious?
I agree that the conquerors wrote the history! They always do. And another thing the history does is obscure the distinction between the conquerors and the poor, desperate, virtually enslaved europeans (often from colonized countries) they brought over here to work for them. It was crucial to their ends that the people they brought over should identify with them rather than with the aboriginal inhabitants of the land. Racism certainly served that cause.
The difference between the Toronto Orange community and the Red and Saskatchewan River Metis communities highlights that there are real and distinct difference between "europeans' and how they related to the aboriginal people they encountered.
Divide and conquer RosaL, you've got the tactics laid out there. I use the Romans conquering the Celts (and just generically referring to them as 'Barbarians', destroying their history, and eliminating their identity) as a good comparrison to what has happened here.
Krop, to go along with your point there... It's a pretty common view to think all aboriginal populations are identical as well (Sorta like when the Americans got involved in Iraq and went 'What, not all dem muslims are the same?', except this time it's directed at abriginal populations).
[ 21 February 2008: Message edited by: Noise ]
Originally posted by Makwa:[b]Thank you so much niin, I look forward to following your links and to seeing your blog.[/b]
[ 29 February 2008: Message edited by: niin ]