Monday, March 23, 2015

Let Them Tell Their Story: An Interview with Chase Iron Eyes, Co-Founder of 'Last Real Indians'

While discrimination against Native Americans most recently came into the national spotlight with the Redskins controversy, there is a sobering lack of media attention paid to hate crimes against indigenous people. Migizi Pensoneau, member of the stage comedy group the 1491s, explained why he believes most hate crimes go largely ignored. "The idea of 'Kill the Indian; Save the Man' is still alive today, in a subtler way. If you can't see Native American people as human, we sort of don't exist. And if we don't exist, then it doesn't matter what happens to us." Last year Migizi and the 1491s appeared on the Daily Show in a segment on the Redskins mascot controversy. Migizi says much of the footage was so volatile that it was unfit for comedy, and the majority of the segment went unaired.

The 1491s aren't the only Native American group trying to change the way wider media views Native lives. Last Real Indians describes itself as a "media movement" for "the new indigenous millennium." To learn more about Native media, I reached out to Last Real Indians's co-founder, Chase Iron Eyes. The story of modern day hate crimes and Native American media coverage is his to tell, not mine. We talked about the abhorrent statistics on violence against Native American women, difficulties in local media reporting on such crimes, and how the blossoming Native media community is working to undo centuries of colonization.


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