May 3, 2007

David Yeagley at Proven Wrong Yet Again

from the Bad Eagle Journal

David Yeagley makes a big deal out of an exclusive holocaust applicable only to the Jewish genocide. He does so by using simplistic word games, such as suggesting an American holocaust could not have occurred because the "word" had not been invented yet, and other anti-scholarly opinions. However, it appears Yeagley is wrong again. Are we surprised?

David Yeagley — “Making accurate parallels is not a strong suit of many Indians leaders today. As I have pointed out, there was no Indian “holocaust.” Just about everything in that analogy is false or impossible” (Apr. 2005)
Not only is Yeagley playing with moot semantics (notice his problematic word game, below), but he tries to belittle the American Indian holocaust by claiming Indians are simply following the example of the Jews, as if the American holocaust is somehow a second-fiddle genocide. Why a false hierarchy is necessary at all is beyond me, to rate these genocides like a beauty contest is notably vile.

Yet Yeagley goes out of his way to denigrate the American Indian experience as somehow a lesser holocaust. Indians are only ‘copycat’ holocaust victims, you see. The ‘extravagant,’ ‘indulgent’ and ‘self-idolizing’ American Indian murders are not as “genuine” as Jewish victims, the Indian murders are not as ‘honorable’ as the Jewish casualties.

David Yeagley — “There's only one holocaust. The word "holocaust" belongs to the Jews... The efforts of the Jews to document their stupendous calamity have excited the envy of the heathen... there are people who like to use the world holocaust to identify the American Indian story... Such is the effect of extravagant indulgence, of theself-idolizing "I've been wronged" mentality... there was only one holocaust: the Jewish holocaust... I have denounced this NMAI attempt to redistribute American Indian honor on all indigenous people by including them all in the "American Indian" museum. Now I must denounce the holocaust conglomerates, and the idea that there are multiple holocaust stories, and that everyone deserves the honor of that word, ‘holocuast’ [sic!] ... they mean only to usurp the word ‘holocaust’ from the Jews, and to not only rip-off that 'honor,' but also to deny anything significant about it at the same time!” (Apr. 2005).
However, to Yeagley’s dismay, it turns out there is much examination of the American Holocaust in a film that directly compares both the Jewish and American Indian holocausts together. Joanelle Romero's film “American Holocaust: When It's All Over I'll Still Be Indian” is a hard-hitting documentary that reveals the link between Adolf Hitler's treatment of European Jews and the U.S. government's treatment of American Indians. Director Romero (remembered for her performance in ''Pow Wow Highway”) gives this statement:
''The film depicts disturbing parallels between these two holocausts and explores the historical, social and religious roots of America's own 'ethnic cleansing.' The film also examines the long-term effects of this on-going destructive process and possible ramifications to the future of American Indian people in the 21st century.”
The film won the Best Documentary Short at 25th Annual American Indian Film Festival, and garner both an oscar nod and was chosen for the Arpa “Armin T. Wegner Award” in 2005:
Arpa International Film Festival in Hollywood “Arpa is a resource for international filmmakers who address the issues of diaspora, multi-culturalism and global empathy. The non-profit art organization has grown into a dynamic forum for world cinema in Los Angeles. Joanelle Romero will receive the Armin T. Wegner Award for 'American Holocaust: When It's All Over I'll Still Be Indian', an examination of the link between Adolf Hitler's treatment of German Jews and the U.S. governments 'ethnic cleansing' of American Indians” (2005).
If you’d like to check out this film and are near the Sherman Indian H.S. Museum, they will show the film on May 19, 2007 at their Native Pride Film Festival:
Sherman Indian Museum
9010 Magnolia Avenue
Riverside, CA 92503
If you are not in their area, you can also view the film at Red Nation online here.

See Also:

Eating Fire, Tasting Blood: Breaking the Great Silence of the American Indian Holocaust
As you walk out of your front door tomorrow morning, look down. Look to your left and to your right. Touch the earth: the concrete, the sidewalk, or whatever surrounds you. Undoubtedly you will be touching the layered coverings of the remains of indigenous peoples. Not arrowheads, not broken pieces of pottery — but the very DNA of the first peoples of this continent.

For five centuries — from Columbus's arrival in 1492 to the U.S. Army's massacre of Sioux Indians at Wounded Knee in the 1890s, to the renewed assault in the 1970s — our continent's indigenous people endured the most massive and systematic act of genocide in the history of the world.

In "Eating Fire, Tasting Blood," twenty established and up-and-coming American Indian writers from disparate nations and tribes offer stirring reflections on the history of their people. This is not a collection of essays about Native Americans but rather a collection BY Native Americans — the story of native holocaust on a tribe-by-tribe level as told by those few who have been fortunate enough to survive. Included are original essays by Vine Deloria Jr., Paula Gunn Allen, Linda Hogan, and Eduardo Galeano.