Native American Representatives Subjected to Violence and Arrest at CBS in Minneapolis
A peaceful attempt to present CBS affiliate WCCO with a petition denouncing racist broadcasting was met with strong arm tactics and dishonorable violence in Minneapolis on Thursday April 1.
Letter from Honor Nation:
Thursday, April 01, 2004
Open Letter to Ed Piette, General Manager at WCCO,
Honor Nations original intentions of delivering our petition have turned into something of much greater magnitude. Our peaceful intentions were met with the violence of your security guards. We do not condone violence. Our members while standing in your lobby were physically and verbally attacked when we came to deliver our petition with our contract terms of agreement and reconciliation. Vernon Bellecourt who is an internationally recognized leader in the Native American community was shoved, grabbed, and pushed. He is eighty years old and his foot is in a cast. Our members were also assaulted with racial profanity such as “nigger”.
Our demands were to simply meet with you with elders and cultural presenters. We wanted to present you with the petition addressing the issue of stereotyping of Native Americans at the 2004 Grammy’s as broadcast on CBS. We believed that our local CBS affiliate was interested in the dignity of Native Americans and would be receptive to our concerns. This petition was signed by over 13,000 + people from around the world. We believe this was significant enough to personally bring this petition to our home town news station.
This was our second attempt. Our first attempt we were turned away. Upon the second attempt our members were physically and verbally attacked. We had talked to your representative, Kiki Rosatti, earlier that day and she was well aware that we would be returning to present you with this petition. Your actions clearly demonstrated to us that although your facility “ban guns” (sign in your foyer), you also ban Native Americans, their supporters, and their freedom of speech.
This is totally unacceptable. The violence instigated by your security guards was unnecessary. They could have easily closed the inner doors to your building and waited for the arrival of the Minneapolis Police Department. We are deeply offended by this reaction. It is our desire to reconcile this issue so that all parties can come away with something positive with respect for all. It is still our intention to offer ourselves to educate you about the issue of cultural sensitivity. We offer our hand as a partner to eliminate racial stereotypes and the bigotry of misrepresentation of Native Americans. We will be contacting you to set up this meeting. Your response to this letter is requested.
Contact: Jake Al Reum
Phone: 612 501-3271 or
612 721-6631 x202
3123 East Lake Street
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55406
Honoring Indigenous Culture for Generations