FW: Racism and Censorship against Blackfoot Representative

Craven, Jim jcraven at SPAMclark.edu
Wed Nov 15 16:08:38 MST 2000






-----Original Message-----
From: Gerard Donnelly Smith [mailto:smitgm at kalama.com]
Sent: Tuesday, November 14, 2000 2:00 PM
To: Dateline at NBC.com
Cc: Craven, Jim
Subject: Racism and Censorship against Blackfoot Representative



I would like to call your attention to an ongoing controversy in Clark
County, Washington involving Vancouver Mayor Royce Pollard, The Columbian
Newspaper reporter Mike Heywood, and Professor James Craven of Clark
College.   The story involves racism, censorship, prejudicial caricatures
and political cover-ups.  You might refer to Oregonian reporter Angie
Chuang's article about Professor Craven and the Lewis and Clark
commemoration.  Professor Craven was asked by Pollard to represent the
Native voice on the L & C commemoration committee.  Craven was also asked by
the Blackfoot hereditary chief to be the official ambassador, speaking for
ALL Blackfoot.  Professor Craven is a Blackfoot, a tribunal judge, and an
expert in international law and indigenous rights.  In addition, Professor
Craven has written an indictment against the United States and Canada for
crimes of genocide.  I edited the indictment along with legal experts across
the country, and its basis in law and logic is sound. The Blackfoot Nation
will begin the trial sometime next spring.  Here's the scoop.  Professor
Craven made it clear that the Blackfoot people wish to tell the story of
genocide during the L & C commemoration.  The mayor and reporters from the
Columbian considered Professor Craven's language "too intense."   Mayor
Pollard, then asked Craven to resign from the committee after the second
meeting.  When challenged by members of the community Mayor Pollard claimed
that he asked Craven to "tone-down" his rhetoric.  However, if asked to
"tone-down" his rhetoric, Craven would not have resigned as Pollard claims,
but would have replied that he believes in "substance over style."  In
addition, President Hasart of Clark College, during a conversation with me,
indicated that Mayor Pollard had asked her advice about removing Craven from
the committee for his positions on genocide.   Recently Heywood of The
Columbian wrote an almost slanderous editorial about Craven's comments
during the committee meetings.  Unfortunately Mr. Heywood never attended the
meetings, so his information is hearsay, and unethical at the least.  Mr.
Heywood presented a caricature of Professor Craven based I assume on Mayor
Pollard's depiction of Craven's presentation.  I attend the first meeting
and challenge that depiction.  Lori Jimerson, Clark Colleges liaison with
the Mayor's office, attended both meetings.  She can attest to Craven's
professional, albeit intense, presentation.  The Mayor insists that Craven
harassed committee members, Heywood claims that Craven is a table-thumper, a
gadfly, and "snarled" during "polite conversation."   Heywood also made
claims about Craven that are outright lies, and meant (it seems to me) to
discredit the man.  Such ad hominem should not go unchallenged, especially
when it involves racism and censorship of an entire Nation's voice.  One
more note: Craven also blew the whistle on an questionable use of WA State
funds.  The City of Vancouver, with the help of Governor Locke, commissioned
Maya Lin to design a Lewis and Clark memorial. Professor Craven objected to
Mayor Pollard and Governor Locke "summarily granting a contract to Maya Lin
without competitive bidding, without a theme for the "commemoration",
without a bidded "vision" by the artist to fit that theme, and without
"Native" and other artists being allowed to compete freely and fairly for
that contract."  Professor Craven's story has made the Oregonian,  the AP
wire,  The Seattle Times and he will be interviewed by Channel Five in
Seattle and will appear on  a  radio talk show this week. The story is
likely to gain national attention.

 I urge you to assign a report to follow up on these leads:


I am presently writing a response editorial to the Columbian which will be
signed by most of the above, in defense of Professor Craven.  The other side
of the story, of course, will come from Mayor Royce Pollard, and The
Columbian reporter Mike Heywood.

Dr. Gerard Donnelly Smith
Clark College
Vancouver, Washington










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