June 16, 2008

Yeagley slams Comanche women, trying to appease his past mistakes

from the Bad Eagle blog

This week, it seems Yeagley is still at it. You know, “it.” Misogyny. Misogyny seeps into most anything Yeagley blogs, but this time it’s a backhanded slap at the Comanche women. In one breath, Yeagley is trying to commend Wallace Coffey for his goodwill toward others as a virtue to which Yeagley himself supposedly aspires. But in the same breath, Yeagley turns around and baits the Comanche women into a potential argument about why the Comanche Nation is so angry and divisive. Interesting that Yeagley’s admiration for Coffey does not extend to the Comanche women. It’s as if he has not learned anything from Coffey at all. No surprise there, I’m a skeptic given Yeagley’s never-ending white supremacy rants and his voiced desire for Mexican immigrants to be left dead in the desert rather than welcomed into Indian country. That’s not very “Wallace Coffey” of Yeagley, is it? Nope, it’s not.

YEAGLEY — “I cannot describe the drama of a Comanche election... the content is unspeakable. The things that the opposition is willing to put in print about a candidate is incredible, literally. Much of it simply cannot be believed, or trusted, no matter who the source is... usually a female elder” (June 2008).

Actually, much of the negative content in the last Comanche election stemmed from Yeagley’s own failed run for office, and being confronted outside the building by many Comanche women upset about his fabrications. Yeagley was trying to claim family accolades he never earned and claim a Comanche history that never actually occurred. According to all reports except for Yeagley’s own revisionist retelling, the women correcting him startled him enough that he was noticeably unnerved and retreated back into the building. Safe, inside — but doubtful of his former public claims — and rightfully so. He had publicly spread misinformation and falsified his lineage, and was publicly reprimanded for it.
YEAGLEY — “Now, Wallace Coffey was imminently qualified... He is nationally known in a number of capacities, particularly education, but also universally beloved as a pow-wow Master of Ceremonies (MC)... Wallace doesn't get mad at people... I don't get the impression it's ever with malice or vengeance. Only when I began to accept this way within myself, did I begin to notice it, and appreciate it, in Wallace” (June 2008).

Wallace Coffey is a generous person, even to non-Comanches. When my "Powwow Symphony" was being performed yet again, this time by the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra, Coffey was willing to step into the MC’s role when beloved MC Sammy Tonkei took ill. My thanks to Wallace for his generous offer though a scheduling conflict led to a third performer into the MC's role.

However, the second part of Yeagley’s claim above is suspect. As already pointed out, Yeagley’s newly-asserted benevolence does not extend to Comanche women, and there is an ulterior, possibly selfish, motive for Yeagley to praise Wallace Coffey at this particular moment in time. Yes, I’m a true skeptic searching for the truth, and I see an interesting and yet unexplored back story emerging in Yeagley’s recent assertions. Simply connecting the dots.
YEAGLEY — “If one loves the people, one accepts this horrid behavior from the people... It is the misapplication of the authority of our women elders" (June 2008).

What do we make of Yeagley’s comment above? Not many ways to take the comment, it’s denigrating Comanche elders and gnashing teeth over the old matriarchal system of Comanche life. Yeagley’s new vision for Comanche governance would be placing the males in authority positions, males such as Yeagley himself holding office. I am totally glad that the misogynist, backward ways of the neocon are finally losing ground, even in the bought corporate media that neocons like Murdock primarily created. America is becoming a bit more cosmopolitan, more interracial, more open and freethinking, slowly but surely. Still a long way to go, but the move toward tolerance and equity won’t be stopped. Yes we can.
YEAGLEY — “I see Wallace Coffey as a model leader. I have told him myself that I simply want to offer who and what I am to the people. It all belongs to them, if they want it. If they don't see any use for it right now, that's okay, too. It's not something to become angry and frustrated about. That's not the true Comanche way. He understood exactly what I was saying, and commended me for it” (June 2008).

This above quote is where I think there may be a double agenda. The assertion here is that Yeagley’s whole blog, his supposed sense of purpose, his ranting against “darkies,” his tirades against racial “mixing,” his association in the John Birch Society, are somehow all beneficial for the Comanche people. And even though it is a known fact the John Birch Society is an acknowledged antigovernment organization, a fact provided by the Southern Poverty Law Center, I suspect Yeagley’s above quote is specifically referring to his role on “The Daughter of Dawn” film soundtrack.

After his terrible appearance in the racist propaganda film “History’s Prisoners” where he willingly joined in denigrating the Comanche people as 'backward prisoners' of their own 'awkwardly primitive' lives, he has been backpedaling and searching for ways to ‘makeup’ with the rest of the Comanche Nation. Although it’s not necessarily a good thing the Oklahoma Historical Society hired a rather poor role model to create music for the Comanche’s wonderful historic film, I doubt the Comanche people will be too swayed in favor of Yeagley’s continued misogynist rants simply from some nice and well-deserved acknowledgment of Wallace Coffey’s generosity toward both Rudy Youngblood and David Yeagley — in equal measure.

It’s conservative of Yeagley to recognize Wallace’s character, of course, but will that sway public opinion of Yeagley’s continued efforts to undermine the rights of Indian sovereignty by his railing against tribal casinos? his continued verbal attacks on Women? Gays? Blacks? Arabs? Mexicans? Or, those of so-called “mixed blood”? Doubtful.

As for “The Daughter of Dawn” film, I sincerely hope it is enjoyed by the Comanche people. It is a spectacular film. I greatly enjoyed experiencing it. I actually scored a sample scene from the film, and provided a detailed music "cue sheet" describing each moment of film, but my services were deemed too expensive in the end. I think it’s actually a noble thing for public institutions to hire inexperienced or amateur composers and give them a crack at museum projects, so I’m actually glad they did that from a purely objective point of view. Budget considerations are always a factor too, but more opportunities should be provided by larger institutions for 'direct artist support' and not simply these organizational arts grants that never seem to "trickle down" to the artists. Money trickles up, not down, which is the major flaw in supply-side economics and the free market myth.

But I am not supportive of the decision to employ blatantly poor role models for our Indian youth, because it encourages further confusion, misappropriation, stereotyping and other anti-Indian activities. It was an unfortunate decision by the Oklahoma Historical Society, and I hope it does not haunt the Comanche people in years to come. Without commenting on any soundtrack, the “silent” film is very wonderful, and it’s marvelous the National Film Preservation Board took the film into it’s collection for restoration. It is now a public domain film, and the Comanches should be able to enjoy it for years to come.

A side note, any film from the 1920 era is now in public domain. That means that should any Comanche folks wish to copy and reproduce their own version of the film, they’d be perfectly free to do that, even sell the public domain copies they make. In this age of copyrighting everything and anything in order to control it, it’s very nice to have such a wonderful piece of history that is actually free and accessible to anyone who wants it. If you don’t know where to find it, simply search around and/or get your hands on a copy from someplace, and you could easily create copies for yourself and all your friends. You could even add your own colorization, add your own music, or simply take off the existing music all together, whatever suits your fancy.

I did this myself when I composed the full orchestra score to “The Last of the Mohicans” silent film, also from 1920, which was premiered in Landmark Hall by members of the Society for New Music and the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra last year at the Syracuse International Film Festival. Although I own the copyright to the musical score that I wrote, the film itself was free to reproduce and many people have enjoyed watching it, and I’m grateful for that. I bought a “copyright free” copy directly from the Library of Congress collection for the price of a DVD; the Library of Congress worked with the Film Preservation folks and the George Eastman House on the physical restoration from a nitrate negative rediscovered in an old theater attic in France.
COMANCHE NATION NEWS — “In December of 2007, the Oklahoma Historical Society commissioned Comanche composer Dr. David A. Yeagley to write the music for a 1920 silent film entitled ‘Daughter of Dawn.’ Yeagley writes symphonic music, and he was commissioned to write a symphonic score for the movie. Yeagley is the first American Indian to be professionally commissioned to write a movie score... Plans are to release a DVD with music sound track within a year... The film is historical, and deserves to be considered quite seriously” (June 2008).

Nothing out of the ordinary above, except for the claim of exclusivity. Many films have been already scored by American Indian composers, yes “professionally” hired to score the films, and previously hired to score them for full orchestra. This may be one of those obscure factoids that only film composers would value, but Jay Chattaway is actually part Native. Chattaway has composed the orchestra music scores for many films, including: Missing in Action, Invasion U.S.A., Silver Bullet, Braddock: Missing in Action III, Red Scorpion, and many of the the Star Trek shows, like Deep Space Nine. Not counting my own long career, there are Natives who have proudly scored films including Buffy Sainte Marie, George Quincy and several others — Just to correct the record on the above mistaken assertion.

Well, okay, I suppose that’s enough correcting-the-record blogging for this week. But stay tuned. I suspect, like Twain quipped, "History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme." So Yeagley’s past rants may rhyme their way into his future ones, and the truth telling sites popping up all over the web will certainly correct the future records just as they are today. Over and out.

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