Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Scathing Review of Yeagley in Racist Film "Prisoners of the Past"

from the Bad Eagle journal

David A. Yeagley appears twice in the propaganda video, Historiens Fångar ("prisoners of the past" or "history's prisoners"), on Danish TV1* (2-4-08), with distortions and falsehoods videotaped in his [step]mother’s old living room.

The video points out that indigenous people are suffering, but not from the net results of continuing racism and discrimination, oh no. The video falsely heaps that undeserved suffering on the indigenous people themselves and their leaders; it is all their own fault according to the video. It is a classic case of indigenous holocaust denial, denial of the continued harm that non-Indian discrimination causes, and another instance of a blatant blame-the-victim rationale.

The video confuses indigenous culture as a past reality that is no longer present today, versus the modern material life of non-Indians. On the one hand, the video champions the contemporary material life of “modern convenience,” of which indigenous people are culturally accepting, of course, because indigenous people also are modern people. But the video falsely equates ‘material life’ with the requisite abandonment of modern indigenous culture in order for indigenous people to make use of those modern conveniences.

The video uses a straw man argument, by first relegating modern indigenous culture into the past, and then shooting down that hypothesis because indigenous people are not living in the past anymore. It’s a false argument to say indigenous people are culturally responsible for their own impoverishment, as — even today — indigenous people are still denied equal access to the same resources and opportunities readily available to non-indigenous people.

In other words, the video compares apples and oranges, in a double-standard, by falsely placing traditional indigenous life in the past and then denying the value of indigenous culture in the present day, completely forgetting that indigenous cultures are also a present-day reality.

Today’s indigenous people remain poor due to contemporary racism and predatory poverty, and it is to their credit that indigenous people have been able to maintain their cultural roots while facing the American holocaust, and ongoing oppression that still occurs from the aggressive colonizing powers.

The main reason indigenous people suffer today, of course, is from continued discrimination by non-Indians, massive abuse of indigenous rights and treaties, endemic theft of land and resources by the United States of America, and population control through imposed poverty.

Historiens Fångar is a propaganda video that uses a straw man argument against contemporary indigenous people, and David Yeagley has happily contributed his own racist and misogynist voice to aid the film’s mischaracterizations and falsehoods.

There should be no remaining doubt why the Comanche people shun David Yeagley, not after his latest “Comanche” impersonation in this latest attack of holocaust-denial propaganda. The script of Yeagley’s four appearances in the propaganda video, with screen shots, is below. Try not to puke.



“Traditional Aboriginal culture is gone. It’s a museum piece. Most people don’t want to live in a museum.”

[images of an Indian, chains,and caged monkey behind bars]


“Across the globe, we admire indigenous peoples and their pasts. But how do they and
their children live, once the coach loads of tourist leave their reservations?”


“When the warrior was finally defeated, he became the reservation Indian” (leaning
forehead toward camera for added emphasis).

“Th, the loser. The alcoholic. The depressed, keep-away-from-me, leave-me-alone” (swipes hand in air for added emphasis).

[video of someone getting arrested]


“In reality have the young decedents of the proud warriors and hunters of Greenland,
Australia and the U.S., been trapped in all this by their very own leaders?”

[nebulous, unidentified, intended-to-scare image]


“It’s quite obvious we’ve marched a lot of years, and nothing’s changed. So there’s
got to be another approach.”

[children playing in muddy water]


“Does what-once-was really hold the answers to their deprivation?”

“Or have the leaders trapped their people and hobbled them to the past?”

[Title Screen: “Historiens Fångar,” with feathered mask image intended to
mischaracterize Indians as “primitive’]


[video of police detaining someone]


“As the police take the little girl away, we ask if there’s a magic wand that could save the Indian peoples. Would loads of money prevent this human and social deprivation at a stroke?”

[images of slave chains, and the stereotyped ‘feathered warrior’ Indian on horseback]


“This is the way the proud Indians were to be saved. It would bring welfare to the poorest minority in the country, the American Indians.”

[various generic 'B-roll' video images from inside a casino]


“They have enriched a few. A few families. Generally speaking, they have not enriched Indian people across the country.”



“Hidden behind gates like these around the U.S.A., you’ll find the small group of U.S. Indians who make vast amounts of money from the casino industry.”

[video images of some gated communities someplace]


“Casino money has a created a circumstance where all the weakness of Indian government are aggrandized, magnified, multiplied beyond tolerability”
(leaning forehead into camera for added emphasis).



“I’ve become, um, a very unpopular figure partly because I’m not afraid to say
the whole result is a disaster, um. for a long time you were not allowed to
criticize aboriginal people, you’re not allowed to criticize their position, ah,
you had to pretend that everything was wonderful and, um, because criticism, public
criticism, was regarded as letting the side down, and, ah, for that I, I’m called a
rashist [racist], um, I’m um, I’m ca, called an enemy of aboriginal people.”


“And while children and youth stand outside waiting to be old enough to join the daily party, more and more people across the globe are questioning the sense of
these enclosed autonomous reserves and nations.”


“The idea that you can build a community with its own government, with its own
economy, its own schools, its own language. That’s the idea that many Indian leaders are hoping for. They cut off themselves from participation, from successful positive
participation in the world around them”
(leaning backwards in chair to emphasize “highbrow” stature).


One of the more disgusting features of this propaganda film, is race-baiting one indigenous people against the others. None of the dark-skinned indigenous peoples were presented anywhere in this film as anything other than populations of primitive “problem” people around the world.

However, when the video starts to posit hope for indigenous people, such as building colleges, creating chances for self-determination, employment and education opportunities, the producers sought out a white-skinned, blonde-haired young woman, Marit Anne Sara, from the Sami reindeer-herder tribe in northern Norway. The narrator described the Sami people as, literally, “the shining example” for the rest of the world’s indigenous peoples, without mentioning any other indigenous college whatsoever from anywhere else on the planet.

So, rather than use positive footage they shot while at the Comanche Nation College (CNC) in Lawton, Oklahoma, while they were there — to show an exemplary modern educational system by indigenous people — the propaganda producers utilized the light-complexioned Sami people as their uplifting example of indigenous empowerment, ignoring over 550 tribes in the mainland U.S. who also achieve professional success beyond the university and postdoctorate level.

And, what DID they show of the CNC? They searched for and found an empty classroom with no one in it, and then edited THAT particular footage into the video — not a very accurate representation. That's called 'cherry-picking' to serve an ideological agenda — in the video's case — to show tribes as "unsuccessful" in order to further rationalize removing them. That's called anti-Indian, or cherry-picking for an anti-sovereignty agenda.

Yeagley himself went 'on and on' about supporting this exact position, that tribes and tribal leaders are heading in the wrong direction, heading to sovereignty. According to Yeagley, these futile attempts by Indian nations to remain sovereign, and remain self-governed, is a wretchedly isolationist pursuit not worthy of the pitiful creatures. But remember, Yeagley is also claiming to BE one of these woeful creatures he so easily disparages. Not a very positive position to take for a supposed "Comanche."

It was a disgusting thing to witness, the video actively trying to pit one indigenous people against all the other indigenous peoples; the basic plot of the entire propaganda video is one giant act of cinematic race-baiting. I mean, come on, exactly what are the split-screen images of caged monkeys behind bars next to indigenous people supposed to mean?! There are not many ways to interpret it besides racist propaganda.

For more of the back-story on the video's so-called "historian" and other white supremacist commentators used in this propaganda video, be sure to read the latest article over at Yeagley With Other White Supremacists in Racist Film Prisoners of the Past, as well. It is excellent.

Of course it must be pointed out, regarding Yeagley’s four appearances (above), that Indian “leaders” are actually Indians too, chosen by the tribes themselves — born citizens of indigenous communities with whom they serve — and therefore a democratic part of the vital tribal communities from which they come. The idea of indigenous ‘leaders’ cannot to be twisted into some foreign monarchy ideology of enslaving the indigenous masses.

The Indian people are the ones who decide who and what they are by inherent sovereign initiative, not by decree of the United States of America. Yeagley simply plays along with the slipshod propaganda, as an unquestioning and unreasoning enabler. Yeagley’s lack of honest intellectual curiosity is obviously one of the reasons he was fired from a briefly-held instructor position, and why the Comanche Nation College has never taken seriously his application to teach inside the Comanche community. More can be said about Yeagley's harboring resentment toward the comanche Nation College, which I will elaborate on in the next installment.

It should be noted, too, that many tribal businesses — including casinos — greatly enrich not only the casino-owning tribes, but through tribe-to-tribe agreements, the other non-casino tribes as well. In Minnesota, in fact, there are revenue-sharing agreements in place between casino-tribes and non-casino tribes, and even a sharing agreement with the State of Minnesota.

The indigenous people recognize the need to share, and to lift all people up together. It’s this indigenous foundation of sharing and reciprocity, that permeates all Indian cultures, from the potlatch ceremonies of the northwest, to the stick ball and stomp dance gatherings of the southeast. From an indigenous point-of-view, we are all-in-this-together, in other words, a concept that eludes David Yeagley’s individualistic, and rather selfish, ideology.

On a more direct note, Yeagley claims citizenship in the Comanche Nation, who themselves own and manage at least three casino businesses:

Comanche Nation Casino
402 Southeast Interstate Drive
Lawton, Oklahoma 73501

Comanche Nation Star Casino
Route 3 Post Office Box 82A
Walters, Oklahoma 73572

Comanche Spur Casino
9047 US Hwy 62
Elgin, Oklahoma 73538-2922

More importantly, it is confirmed from the tribal office, that Yeagley receives the same ‘per capita’ checks that all other tribal enrollees receive, an income generated directly from the Comanche casino profits. Yet, instead of giving back the tribal “handout” in protest, Yeagley keeps it for himself — every single time!

How do you say: "I'm living off indigenous casino money, and could not hold onto a real paying job my entire life," in Danish or Comanche?

So, for all his backwards propaganda, enabling ideologies, misogyny blogging, self-loathing rants, and pseudo-intellectualism laced with denial, we can simply regard “David A. Yeagley” as nothing more than a common hypocrite after all.


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