Gary Fife, Radio Communications
Column: October 2020
Okmulgee, Oklahoma—Here’s one that I missed back this spring.
If you’ve been to your grocer’s ice cream freezer and couldn’t find one of your favorites, here’s why. Dreyers’ Grand Ice Cream, has dropped the name “Eskimo Pie” according to U.S News. Their marketing director said, “The name is derogatory” and their company was “committed to being a part of the solution on racial equality.” The word “eskimo” is used to generally describe all Alaska Natives and is considered a negative term. Dreyer’s didn’t say whether or not they would continue to produce the treat. Maybe with a new name? “A Rose by any other name…..”
Listening, Eskimo Joe’s?
Could Custer lose again? Indian Country Today wrote that a Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikira woman has been working to change the name of Custer Park in Bismarck, North Dakota. She’s been trying since she was a child, but, even after all those years, the city has stayed quiet. Hoka Hey!
Let’s turn to the world of sports.
A young Iroquois man achieved a personal dream by taking part in the world famous Tour de France bicycle race. Neilson Powless joined a pro cycling team. He had been participating in competitive sports since an early age and had a bit of success. One of three Americans in the Big Race. He is now listed as 59th in the world competition.
In other international competition, Indian Country Today said early September, the Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse team will be included in the 2022 World Games. A massive campaign got the team in after they were overlooked by tournament officials who didn’t recognize the Iroquois as a sovereign nation. Off to Birmingham, Alabama for the team whose ancestors invented the sport!
And those busy folks at Indian Country Today also report the Cleveland Indians are “weighing” a name change, too. Again, we’re waiting on a final decision. The team has had four different names since 1887, so the ‘tradition’ argument doesn’t hold up. Again, we see the word ‘commitment’ (used three times here). OK, OK, we see the ‘commitment’ to supporting the team, but get this over with and change the name. Actions speak louder than words or ‘You talk the talk, but do you walk the walk?’
Several news sources in the state reported back in July that the gaming compacts that have been used for years between tribal governments and Oklahoma government did renew and that they are still legal. The Governor tried to say they expired and had made new deals with four tribes, but the federal district court said no. It’s been a couple of months since that ruling and we’re still waiting to see if Stitt will file a court challenge to that ruling.
Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association Chair has been quoted as saying, “The denial of a re-hearing further underscores that Gov. Stitt’s ‘go-it-alone’ approach is not legal nor helpful in moving state-tribal relationships forward.” Boy, you can say that again.
The Muscogee (Creek) Nation has established its own Mvskoke Reservation Protection Commission has been charged with figuring out how to deal with the changes that are appearing since the U.S. Supreme Court decided in the McGirt case that the Mvskoke lands are still reservation. They have one heck of a task with the number of criminal cases being sent to federal and tribal courts.
Have you answered the U.S. Census yet? Hope so. Observers are worried that the shortened deadline—Sept. 30, instead of the Oct. 31 deadline, would result in an undercount of Native Americans and other minorities. Less people counted=less and less services.
Native American Day is coming up soon. Many other big gatherings have been cancelled, but Monday, October 12 is still listed as Native American Day in Tulsa. A Virtual Native American Market is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 11. Photos on the Facebook site show royalty and drummers wearing facemasks. Probably not a bad idea.
Also, how is Halloween going to work out? Masks on masks?
Anyway, that’s all I can do with this month’s column. Hvtvm cerecares.