By Gary Fife, Radio Communications Contributor
OKMULGEE, Oklahoma—O.K., thank the Creator 2020 is almost over. Seems there hasn’t been a year in decades that kicked our ass as hard as this one. (Pardon the language.)
Floods, fires, earthquakes—Nature is certainly reminding us of Who Is In Charge. As if that wasn’t enough, the country is in one of the most divisive eras since the Civil War. Hate and tensions are still being spread through our usual sources: Radio, TV, print and now, the extremely effective social media avenues. Some people became self-appointed vigilantes, carrying guns to threaten those they didn’t agree with. Some people got shot.
It’s going to take a series of miracles to heal that one.
And our constant companion on all these media, Covid-19 has been the lead story all year. Family members, friends and neighbors have been taken by this pandemic. Several Mvskoke and even the Second Chief were infected. It ain’t over yet. But, there seems to be some good news on that horizon as development of a possible vaccine is discussed. Even then, it’ll be a while before our society adjusts. The Indian Health Service says there were 108,062 positive test results. The Dine (Navajo) Nation has been hardest hit. Oklahoma has 27,964 listed.
Speaking of horizons, big changes are coming for the leadership of the USA. When the new tenant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue moves in, a new Native American policy and people will take over our affairs. The national White House consultations with tribal governments are supposed to renewed. There is speculation about that two Presidential Cabinet positions could be filled with Native Americans, but with this writing in early December, that could change. There will, most likely, be a new Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs.
There will be a total of six ‘Native Americans’ in the new Congress.
O.K, O.K., here’s some lighter content. Indian Country Today reports it’s Native Americans-2, Disneyland-On-The-Potomac football guys-0. They finally gave up on their old racist slur name, and now, their “Original Americans Foundation.” Their ‘beads and trinkets’ philanthropy never took hold. The team pulled the plug on its money stream to the ‘charitable’ agency. One tribal chairman even got tossed out of office for accepting their ‘donations’.
The team is now the Washington Football team. How’s that going to fit on a helmet?
More dropping the R-word? Tulsa’s Union High School is dropping the same name after local Tulsa parents kept up their campaign. Yea! Now they are faced the same dilemma as the Big-Leaguers: what to call their teams and the decoration for their helmets.
They could take a tip from CNN. During election coverage, CNN showed a graphic of how ‘ethnic’ voters turn out: Blacks, Asians, etc. There was no Native graphic. Instead, we were listed as “Something Else.” Maybe the teams could use that name? “Washington Something Else” and Union “Something Else.” The Bureau of Something Else? The National Museum of Something Else?
More on the Entertainment Scene: Mighty movie powerhouse Disney has added a disclaimer to a number of its classic movies that says the films such as “Peter Pan” and “Dumbo” may contain dated stereotypes of minority peoples. Disney does have a few other films they aren’t mentioning. “Pocahontas”, anyone?
Back to serious stuff: the McGirt Decision. Won’t go into the legal intricacies, just the impacts.
There have been a lot mentions of the arrests on Creek Reservation lands and those cases being transferred to tribal and/or federal courts. It means that a lot of suspects are remembering, mentioning, or hoping that a tribal membership might be a legal loophole. Nope, it’s still the Iron Bar Hotel for crooks.
Almost forgot this one: Back in November, Mvskoke writer and poet Joy Harjo was been named as U.S. Poet Laurate for the third time. She is only the second person to serve more than two one-year terms. Harjo is working on her project which would map Native poets and storytellers.
That’s it for me for this past year. Hvtvm cehecares in 2021.
Disclaimer: The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of Mvskoke Media or the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.