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Governor’s remarks go a bit too far - Daily Inter Lake: Opinion

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Governor’s remarks go a bit too far

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Posted: Thursday, August 16, 2012 5:44 am

We get it that Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer was trying to discuss the importance of children learning both American and Native American history, but come on, governor, that was really no way to represent Montana!

Speaking at the Ohio Democratic Convention recently, Schweitzer put it this way: “All over Montana, you can walk into a bar, a cafe, or even a school or a courthouse and just listen for a while as people talk to each other, and you will hear somebody, before very long, say something outrageously racist about the people who have lived in Montana for 10,000 years.”

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          Welcome to the discussion.


          • Native American posted at 8:49 pm on Thu, Aug 23, 2012.

            Native American Posts: 1

            To the Editorial Board of the Daily Interlake:

            I vehemently take exception to your editorial regarding Governor Schweitzer's remarks at the Ohio Democratic Convention. Yes, it is one of the governor's jobs to promote Montana in a positive light, but it also his job, as the elected leader of our state, to be a beacon of light, a promoter of the truth and force us to recognize our failings. Only by facing the truth can real progress be made. Asking Governor Schweitzer to sweep the problem of racism toward our First People and Montana's most recognizable minority under the rug, for the sake of political and economic expediency, is just plain wrong.

            The fact is, there is real racism in Montana, especially toward Indians. I have lived here all my life and have heard racial comments and been the victim of racist actions more times than I care to remember. I have owned numerous businesses in the Flathead Valley, but I always had to hide the fact that I was an Indian, as I knew that I would lose clients if this were common knowledge. Ironically, the business that I am in now, as co-owner of a guest ranch and resort, my being Indian is not a disadvantage. Why? This is because our customer base is, for the most part, not Montanans. They are from other parts of the country and the world, places where racism is slowly being eradicated through education and enlightenment regarding the value and worth of minorities. Hopefully, through the Indian Education For All law, more and more Montanans will become enlightened as well.

            Governor Schweitzer should be applauded for his courage to call a spade a spade. Just like some medicine, it may be hard to swallow, but in the long run it just may be the best thing for you.

            Nancy Gaynor, Whitefish

          • mooseberryinn posted at 7:43 am on Mon, Aug 20, 2012.

            mooseberryinn Posts: 2693

            His time is up. Elect a republican.

          • mtvelveteen posted at 4:46 pm on Sun, Aug 19, 2012.

            mtvelveteen Posts: 1

            note that the governor didn't say; "most Montanans are racists (towards Indian people)".
            Those of you who think that this means that there is not a considerable amount of racism, are doing your own ostrich dance!
            There are a huge amount of people – many of them who I would have thought would know better – who fail to appreciate the genocide that we committed against them, the generations of attachment disorders that give rise to alcoholism, sexual abuse, etc.
            I often hear comments blaming them for the symptoms of what we did to them. (And make no mistake about it, in terms of numbers Killed, the Attempted genocide dwarfed the German Holocaust, and yet, many people will think I am making that up, or making excuses for them!)
            I believe in accountability, But in an atmosphere of compassion. Compassion can't occur without the truth be known.
            many locals still don't know that the people who were sexually abused, beaten, and told they couldn't practice their spirituality are only now dying, yet many would prefer to believe that "I wish they'd quit complaining – that was a long time ago!".
            Oh, and by the way, the racism in Montana– Like many places In the West – isn't confined to Beliefs towards Indian people, like still believing, contrary to the facts, that Indian people get a lot of money every year for free!
            Another example was experienced just recently by a friend who was making calls for the presidential campaign, and had several callers answer his question about why they weren't voting for Obama with; "basically, I want that black man out of the White House!"
            We can't make ourselves better if we're not willing to look honestly at our flaws!
            My personal experience is that racism is alive and well in Montana, but that doesn't make Montana Or Montanans bad...unless we deny our faults, we also have a great history of honesty like the editorial points out, and we are definitely going in the right direction In spite of these flaws!

          • BSUjack posted at 5:45 pm on Thu, Aug 16, 2012.

            BSUjack Posts: 57

            I'll admit that we Montana's say it like it is, but that's not to say we are racists. After all we have accepted the likes of extremely rich Hollywood and California escapees, and other Egotistical individuals including some bad ones like The Unabomber. But that doesn't make us Racists. It just gives us a Governor who likely mimics our Vice President, who gaffs a lot on his way out too, just like the Guv. We have in Montana, more different Cultures, religious Circles, and Tribal communities than any other State. That also includes Grizzles, Wolves, Lions,Wilderness, Mountains, less people, and a lot of Big Sky !![wink]

          • Pequot posted at 9:06 am on Thu, Aug 16, 2012.

            Pequot Posts: 525

            Wisdom is not a characteristic of Governor Schweitzer. He often speaks in terms only comprehensible to those with addled faculties or Democratic Party credentials.

          • Mommy Dearest posted at 7:45 am on Thu, Aug 16, 2012.

            Mommy Dearest Posts: 846

            You know, if you walk into ANY place in Montana, you are likely to hear jokes, comments, slurs, snits, smacks, jabs, flubs, rubs, snubs and faux pas about every dang thing, race, religion. or topic you can imagine.

            SO WHAT?

            Montanan'a speak and shoot from the hip. We are individuals, rugged in fact, who have weathered the good and bad of everything Montana can throw at us and survived. Don't expect us to get off our horse, tractor, roof or 4 wheel drive after a hard day and be squeaky clean, polite, and socially correct all the damn time.

            So lighten up when one of our native Montanans cuts a cheesy one. That's just who we are; whether we have lived here for 10 years or 10,000 years. That's one of the unique traits of being one of us.