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Why say "Dead Warrior Creek," when racism fuels cultural hegemony so well?

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The official name now is Dead Warrior Lake, ending for some a controversy over the lake's name that has been going on for almost a decade.

- snip –

The first settlers in the area came up with the name after discovering a Cheyenne burial site. Cottonwoods that lined the creek made for a perfect burial site near the tribe's winter camp.

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Racism is illogical; however, the way it manifests is alarmingly logical. Past down to generation after generation, the false belief in one’s racial superiority leads to stripping races believed to be inferior of land and liberty. It is my personal opinion that racist thoughts contribute to cultural hegemony, the concept that a diverse culture can be ruled or dominated by one group or class.

Racism was clearly present in the land theft surrounding Fort Reno. Perhaps those that still use "Dead Indian Creek" can pretend that land theft stopped in the 1800’s, if they acknowledge it at all. Well,

"They want the land given back to them on a platter," Landow told FRONTLINE when he refused an on-camera interview. "They brought in innocent people like me. They're a bunch of goddamn uneducated Indians."

it didn’t.

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(Article from 2000)

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Fort Reno is a research station that contains a graveyard sacred to the Cheyenne-Arapaho, but is currently under federal control. Senator Don Nickles (R-Oklahoma) currently has language in a pending bill that continues funding for the research station which would prevent transfer of the land back to the Cheyenne-Arapaho Tribe.

Source

BILL MOYERS:
Charles Surveyor was chairman of the Cheyenne-Arapaho tribes of Oklahoma. In 1883 the federal government confiscated a 9,500-acre parcel of tribal land known as Fort Reno. Today there is speculation there may be oil and gas beneath it.

CHARLES SURVEYOR:
 We don't want no $100 million for our land or nothing. We want our land back, what's rightfully ours. That was all we wanted. That's still what we want.

So once again, why say "Dead Warrior Creek," when racism fuels cultural hegemony so well?

It makes stealing -

"They want the land given back to them on a platter," Landow told FRONTLINE when he refused an on-camera interview. "They brought in innocent people like me. They're a bunch of goddamn uneducated Indians."

- easier.

A Norman woman challenged the name in 1997, complaining the name was too similar to a notorious saying attributed to Maj. Gen. Phillip H. Sheridan that "the only good Indian is a dead Indian."

easy as driving down the street in your car,

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or going to see the Sound of Music.

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Cultural hegemony is the concept that a diverse culture can be ruled or dominated by one group or class, that everyday practices and shared beliefs provide the foundation for complex systems of domination.

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At the lake, virtually nothing has changed as a result of the decision, said Tom Smeltzer, a district ranger at the Black Kettle National Grassland.

- snip –

"Even in our office, we still call it Dead Indian Lake," Smeltzer said. "Maybe in another 50 years or so people will be using the new name but probably not any time soon."

Why might it be that "Maybe in another 50 years or so people will be using the new name but probably not any time soon." We’ll answer that by taking a short quiz.

Who said these racist statements, a child or an adult?

- "What we need is a black man, not some white boy."

- "I know an Indian. They get that check for $900 every month; I know what that’s about, uh huh."

- "Look at their homes, all run down. They don’t take care of them and our taxes pay for them."

The first two were said by children, ages 6 and 9, respectively. "The acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree."  Furthermore, the "tree" doesn’t necessarily have to be a parent. Racism is passed down generationally.

Racism is illogical; however, the way it manifests is alarmingly logical. Past down to generation after generation, the false belief in one’s racial superiority leads to stripping races believed to be inferior of land and liberty. Even though racism is illogical and based on ignorance, its applications are calculated and logical.

Originally posted to Winter Rabbit on Sat Jan 19, 2008 at 06:31 AM PST.

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