The Russell Means Interview

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Posted by Champ on January 26, 1999 at 04:28:47:

Siyo Rich & Elaine!

Wow! Major cudos to you both, great job on the interview!

I have a couple thoughts I want to share first, & I will try and keep them brief [its pert' near bed time here].
While I am, as y'all know, a mix-blood Cherokee, and I respect Russell in both LOTM and as a person, I dont agree with all he said.
One of the biggest blunders, and I cant believe he honestly thinks this, is that Ame. Indians did NOT commit atrocities!
I actually laughed out loud when I read that. Unbelievable. As a Cherokee, I would be the first to admit that such things happened, that it is recorded as happening, and my head is not buried in the sand on the subject.
I do not necessarily agree with all of his politics either, but that is another story.
I understand his anger at the white world & in paticular the government, but let me tell you, & I have told my Cherokee brothers & sisters this, though it is PC in this day and age to be ashamed or make one ashamed of being white, I will never be ashamed of my Anglo-Saxon-Celtic heritage. I'm Cherokee first, I cannot claim to be "part" Cherokee & yet belong to the Southern Cherokee Nation. You have to be Cherokee first, in your heart, if you make that claim, but I do not, and will not, deny white my heritage.
Russell is right though, we are the only people who have to prove who they are, and even some of our own people wont accept it. Case in point, there are Cherokees out there who wont accept anybody who is not half or more blood percentage! They are so caught up in getting their check from the government, that they will deny their own people! This goes against our very own beliefs that a drop of Cherokee blood, a Cherokee it makes [but you must in your heart say I'm Cherokee, not part, etc, in our world there is no such thing]...
I myself dont know exactly how much Cherokee I am, I know who some of my Cherokee ancestors are, but for some there are no paper trails o/r "proof", its enough that I am & the So. Cherokee have accepted me as Tsalagi.
And I dont agree with his term of "Traditionalists", I know plenty of Cherokees in Oklahoma & NC who would take issue with his words.
But that is Russell, a very controversial person. I had a friend who worked in AIMs European fund raising offices in the 70's, went they couldnt raise a dime here. She told me what an intense person Russell could be, a forceful personality.
I still respect the man though, and I know the hurt his people have suffered in the Dakotas, its been payback, ever since they gave Custer a whoopin' ;-)
I'm sorry to hear of your own problems with the BIA/Indians Crafts people, I call myself a Southern Cherokee Artist and dare them to stop me.
We Southern Cherokees never unconditionally surrendered after the War Between The States [we made up Stand Waties forces].
Instead, we signed a Cease Hostility Treaty with the Federals, and because we sided with the Confederacy, the treaty was never ratified.
In effect we are under the same kind of cease hostility act as between Korea & the US! Needless to say, while the Eastern Band, the CNO [etc] have recognized governmental status, we told the government to kiss our..... well, you know ;-)
Hope they leave y'all alone...
Sorry I rambled so, I'm getting rather rummy in the head.... I'll catch y'all later....
Again, great interview!


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