Letter to Editor of Union Weekly at California State U.-Long Beach


To the Union Weekly Editor,

 

The article titled “Pow Wow Wow Yippee Yo Yippy Yay” in your March 14, 2011 edition of the Union Weekly was a horrible choice for a headline as well as being very disrespectful in content towards Native Americans.

Your paper and reporter owe the Native American communities and the student group who held the powwow an apology for this article that shows a complete lack of understanding of the event they were attending. Did the reporter ask what the event was for? What does it mean to the Native People attending?   The use of words to describe Native American attire is not garb; it is regalia, or traditional dress.  Also, again if your reporter had asked about why people were putting down money for the dancers was not to pay them for dancing.  If this article was merely mocking the powwow, again, Native Peoples are not things for your entertainment.  There is a reason they held this event.

This lack of understanding about Native Americans is why there is a need to have diversity courses.   The Native American Journalists Associations is here for journalists if and when they need help covering stories.

We ask again an apology be issued to Native American communities.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Rhonda LeValdo, President, Native American Journalists Association

395 W. Lindsey

Norman, Oklahoma 73019

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21 Responses to “Letter to Editor of Union Weekly at California State U.-Long Beach”

  1. Steve Bonspiel Says:

    I was disgusted by the article and surprised that crap like this was allowed to be published in a university newspaper.
    Both the editor and reporter are clueless about Native Americans, have no common sense or integrity, and should not be in a position to report any kind of news, let alone issues they simply don’t care about.
    They obviously don’t value their reputations as journalists and should be doing something more apt for their skill sets – like picking up garbage maybe? (No offense to actual sanitation workers.)
    How hard would it have been to ask what our dances represent, what it means to wear regalia and why powwows exist? Did they bother to talk to anyone, or did they really think they would be ‘scalped’, like the ill-informed hicks they seem to be?
    Noah Kelly showed his racist and ignorant colors by comparing Native Americans to homeless people, and by denigrating our people in the most disrespecting, gratuitous way – by treating us like subhuman slobs.
    It’s the same way our people were treated by thousands of early settlers and the cavalry, as though they were somehow better than us and we were barely worth the bullets they used to kill our people in cold blood in the name of Manifest Destiny.
    His ancestors would be proud I’m sure.

    Steve Bonspiel
    Editor/Publisher
    The Eastern Door newspaper

    • lahoma horse Says:

      Steve,
      I agree with everything that you expressed. Therefore, I went beyound this blog and wrote to these three individuals in the communications department of California Southern Univerisity: Dr. Maeda, Dr. Abrams and the editor and chief: Kevin O’brien. Here are the email addresses: emadea@csulb.edu, Jabrams@csulb.edu, and kevinob.union@gmail.com
      This is what I wrote:
      On March 14th, the California State University’s Student Newspaper “Union Weekly” has caused a stir of anger among the Native American Population. And has questioned the journalism ethics of today’s reporting and how the occupation of collecting news, information and presenting it to the public is reflected in today’s journalism.

      According to Salisbury Post, an article was written on Walter Cronkite on “What Makes a Good Journalist.” The following are quotes from an interview with Mr. Cronkite. He said, “Journalism will build on a foundation laid by newspapers. What you have established are the principles and the ethics of journalism.” Cronkite also said that reporters and editors are to, “Uphold fundamentals of good news reporting: Get it right; be fair and honest.”

      In most basic news writing courses across the United States Universities most offer a concentrated study of the techniques of obtaining and writing news that focuses on interpretive reporting, in-depth interviewing, reporting and writing. However, in the article written by Noah Kelly, Newspaper Editor of the California State University has written an article that is anything but right, honest and fair.

      Throughout the article the editor has no interviews with any participants from the pow-wow and uses terms of obscenity and is very racial in how he writes about an event that is a very extension of his own University. One might wonder about how the basic journalism fundamentals are taught at such a large and distinguished university. And last of all one has to question, “Who made him editor and chief”?

  2. skycity1 Says:

    Thank you Mr. Bonspiel for your words, it saddens me that this type of stuff gets out there and the damage it does by misinforming the public on Native Americans.
    Rhonda LeValdo

  3. wade crowe Says:

    Let us hope that this follows Noah Kelly for the rest of his life. May his career follow in the same footsteps as Custer.

  4. lostprimeau Says:

    sorry to say but that this is the best, that this state university has as campus editor? and thy let this load of crap go out and never thought, that its just racist moron rantings of a clueless f***…now that sounds hollywood..

  5. Louis R Baldovino Says:

    Usually one approaches learning with contrite hearts, humility and open-mindedness. Students like this today spew such ignorant and uninformed crap that you wonder why they attend schools of “higher education” if all they attained is infantile opinions and preconceived notions of ignorance. If it was an editorial, allowances are made for opinions, if news, I believe one must have more background than this. However neither approach signifies intelligent discourse here.
    However, despite liberalism it deserves a break on this one. This drivel came from the knuckle draggers with which he hangs. I’m sure he’ll be proud to hang his degree, if he gets one, in the breakroom while he is bagging groceries at the market in his new career.

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  7. john allison Says:

    yes, we have a problem in this USA with the mono-cultural police. Anyone with any cultural depth of history is told to take a shower and get clean of those traditions so he or she can become a part of, a cog in the machine that is the modern global economy, to which you are only “human capital” or “human resources”.

  8. Sweet Entertainment Says:

    Cal State Long Beach University should take this opportunity to call a campus-wide sensitivity training in honor of its Native American Students. What I just read in Noah Kelly’s words was beyond ignorant and without journalistic standards, an embarrassment to the entire collegiate system. Did this Mr. Kelly copy an article from the 1850’s? How dare he attach such words next to the photo of an elder. Mr. Kelly has brought a terrible light to a very important topic in California where the Native American population is as diverse as it is across the nation. CSULB can really take an important educational moment to educate its entire campus, show respect and an apology to the Native American students on campus, and in the state, so that later in life, many of these promising young people will have greater knowledge about Native Americans and culture, and the Native American student population will know just how much they are a part of the campus and university system as anyone else. The NAJA, and many other organizations, offer a roll of professionals who can share the hundred ways this article went terribly wrong. Was this an early April Fool’s joke? Only CSULB has the answer.

  9. Darryl Babe Wilson Says:

    The Elders have taught us to pity those thinking with their brain because they have only Cyote understanding and are viciously restricted in their capacity to reason clearly. They said to think with your mind and to think with your heart. The mind has inherited wisdm and knowledge from the land beyond the stars, the accumulation of knowledge and wisdom has been passed to the minds of every generation emitting from the first generation. Their Coyote ingredients may never find relief. Babe

  10. george Says:

    Sad, this person should be sent to a mental institution and be evaluated for the after effects of child abuse and social neglect for being raised in an hostile environment. Along with that who proof read this article to allow something like this be printed out to the community?

  11. bigbee Says:

    It’s disturbing to read the article Pow Wow Wow Yippee Yo Yippy Yay coming from a university, a place of learning. Obviously Noah Kelly has no clue to his involvement with the university, or is he just a racist? He does not understand the generational trauma native people have gone through by intruders who came to destroy a race. I hope his article was just ignorant. If that’s the case I hope he finds ways to help educate the native community on nutrition. Fry bread came from the time when native people were forced into concentration camps and the only rations they got was flour and lard because all other goods were stolen by greedy settlers.

  12. Marsha Wynecoop Says:

    I was not really shocked at the article “Pow Wow Wow Yippee Yo Yippy Yay” but I was disgusted. How can anyone be so ignorant? If it were another race he was mocking he would not have a job or at least have to make a formal public apology. In this day and age I cannot believe it is still OK to say ugly racist remarks about Native American people. Does anyone over see this newspaper, if so they need to be held accountable too? Noah Kelly and the University need to make an apology to the Native American students and to the Native American people. I am sickened by all the ugliness of it all. Our people had to live through over 500 years of genocide, wars, out right murder, illness, and many other insurmountable odds just to survive and we are still battling the racisms and ignorance.

  13. lahoma horse Says:

    I’m so upset with this racial article! I’m not just going to put into this blog but I’m sending some information to the editor and chief of this University!

    On March 14th, the California State University’s Student Newspaper “Union Weekly” has caused a stir of anger among the Native American Population. And has questioned the journalism ethics of today’s reporting and how the occupation of collecting news, information and presenting it to the public is reflected in today’s journalism.

    According to Salisbury Post, an article was written on Walter Cronkite on “What Makes a Good Journalist.” The following are quotes from an interview with Mr. Cronkite. He said, “Journalism will build on a foundation laid by newspapers. What you have established are the principles and the ethics of journalism.” Cronkite also said that reporters and editors are to, “Uphold fundamentals of good news reporting: Get it right; be fair and honest.”

    In most basic news writing courses across the United States Universities most offer a concentrated study of the techniques of obtaining and writing news that focuses on interpretive reporting, in-depth interviewing, reporting and writing. However, in the article written by Noah Kelly, Newspaper Editor of the California State University has written an article that is anything but right, honest and fair.

    Throughout the article the editor has no interviews with any participants from the pow-wow and uses terms of obscenity and is very racial in how he writes about an event that is a very extension of his own University. One might wonder about how the basic journalism fundamentals are taught at such a large and distinguished university. And last of all one has to question, “Who made him editor and chief”?

    Lahoma Horse, Wichita and Affiliated Tribes of Oklahoma

  14. Irene Edwards Says:

    Mr. Kelly is in need of diversity training. His misconceptions and stereotypes could have been researched, and he could have sought answers to his questions. American Indian people love to share their culture, and most don’t mind answering questions. There were 500 nations at one time, so you might get a variety of responses. For example, the throwing of money is meant to honor someone, not to panhandle from a street corner. If anything, Kelly is guilty of ignorance, not good for a reporter to assume. Indian Country is small, and the “moccasin telegraph” is quicker than the internet, and reaches far and wide. Think about that, Kelly, the next time you write from ignorance.

  15. redwoman07 Says:

    I want to add my expression of hurt, shock,and disbelief that such a hateful misrepresentation of the LongBeach Powwow and Native Americans in general could be written by someone calling himself a journalist and editor. I believe in freedom of the press, of course but I thought we were no longer living in the Dark Ages where ignorance prevails and respect for people’s feelings are ignored. We gather together for solidarity, kinship, to network, and enjoy the similarities of all tribal communities. We are unique in that we are Native to this continent, and have already endured genocide, biases, prejudices brought about by this type of thinking. I had higher expectations for the college community and the campus editor. I hope in the future, the Native community will not have to endure such denigration due to poor journalism and hatred.

  16. John Provencio Ortega Harding Says:

    Imperial racist crap , unbelievable , this shows the ignorant dumbing down of our nations youth , this is a good teaching example for our youth in how not to behave .
    Our people must always take the high road , if we are to Walk With Creator !

  17. Amadna Says:

    Not only is this article pathetic, but it just goes to show schools today still just pass students to get rid of them. Just so these writer’s know this has reached the east coast American Indians and not only should they apologize to the NA students there, but to the NA students here. These words are degrading and disrespectful on so many levels and that is what they have done, they have reached many Natives and we all should stand together and demand a public apology to our people. I would hope that this follows them everywhere they go and their parents are upset, because of all they money they have wasted be sending them for a “better education” maybe some remedial learning could be set up for them or better yet maybe they should have to spend a few weeks with some Native American families and really get an education.

  18. Louis R Baldovino Says:

    I remember an old rant that went ” If you can’t enighten them with intelligence; then, dazzle them with bullshit!” Need more be said? Seems to fit this ignoramus.

  19. W. German Says:

    It is unfortunate that someone would write such an unflattering article about Native Americans. However, it is important that one considers the source. The writer reveals a great deal about himself through his work. First, his immaturity is evident when he finds it necessary to use foul language. Second, a good journalist would research his/her subject matter. If you don’t know about fry bread or Indian tacos, ask an expert before you write your article. Perhaps the only positive result of this article is it gives me another example (for my graduate work) on racism against Native Americans.

  20. jack Says:

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