News from the Native American Journalists Association
Rhonda LeValdo Statement
It is upsetting that in today's world a political leader like New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg would tell the Governor of New York, David Paterson to resort to violence when dealing with the issue of untaxed cigarettes on Native American tribal land.
In a radio excerpt Mr. Bloomberg talked about those sales and stated on his radio show: "You know, get yourself a cowboy hat and a shotgun. If there's ever a great video, it's you standing in the middle of the New York State Thruway saying, you know, 'Read my lips - the law of the land is this, and we're going to enforce the law.'"
Going to archaic methods of pressuring ethnic minority groups is never an option.
I am asking that Mayor Bloomberg issue an apology to all tribal nations for his suggestion of violence against Native Americans.
Letter to Mayor Bloomberg
August 20, 2010
Dear Mayor Bloomberg,
The use of the Cowboy and Indian theme when describing how to deal with the tribes in the state of New York demeans all Native American tribes as a people. By enforcing this stereotype you also perpetuate an image of the past that certainly does not pertain to the tribes that reside in your area.
It is apparent you need to open up lines of communication with the tribes to regain some sort of diplomacy. It would also be important to understand what tribal sovereignty is.
Tribes in the area of New York were there before the state was what is known now as New York. It is astonishing that you would take the cavalier attitude of showing them a shotgun to make tribes do what you or your state wants them to do.
Inflicting violence on any ethnic group is not prudent. Even your own faith of being Jewish, would know this course of action is wrong and certainly not humane.
I ask you issue an apology not only to your area tribes but to all tribal nations for suggesting violence against Native Americans.
Rhonda LeValdo President, Native American Journalists Association