Rev. Sequoyah Kofi-Ade of Voice of a Native Son will be my first guest! Voice of a Native Son is a blog I read every day and I have grown to appreciate the way he gives other blogs a chance to be heard on his site! I thank Rev. Sequoyah Kofi-Ade for the time he took to do this insightful interview.
The Native Blog: Could you give us some background information?
Voice of a Native Son: I'm what the contemporary political correctness lingo calls a Black Indian living under colonialist occupation in the United States. I am a descendant of the People of the Kituwah, the children of the West African Yoruba known in the Americans as The Gullah and Pinoy railroad slave stolen from IIokos Sur to toil alongside the Chinese. I am an Indigenist activist that utilises the reach and democracy of the internet to challenge the global oppression of First Nations peoples, life-ways and political independence.
The Native Blog: Why did you start to blog?
Voice of a Native Son: In 1999 I published my first website ANGRYINDIAN and this was pretty much just before automated blogging software became widely available. It began with me just posting articles I had written with a rather large archive of Indigenous history and resources regarding genocide. The site did pretty well in getting the argument out that Native American genocide is ignored in U.S. media and that the genocide has never stopped. People from all over began to forwarding me data and I started adding contributing articles and leads for more research that I hoped would push Indigenous issues in the public light.
I received a great deal of emails from around the world from people either living under similar conditions or Europeans who credited me for discussing how Indians mysteriously "disappeared" into Pow-Wow circuits and mascots for the benefit of capitalist absurdity.
Once blogging became more accessible I decided to go full blast and blog on a daily basis, working to get people informed on the issues that affect the Fourth World and all First Nations. I truly believe that those of us with the skills and resources to get our stories and messages out there have a responsibility to do so the best of our ability.
The Native Blog: I read your blog everyday and you cover politics, and Native American issues! In the 2000 and 2004 elections there was only about 50% of the American population that voted and in '02 there were only 38% of the people that voted. Could you give us some thoughts on how we could get people to get out and vote and why it is so important for them to vote?
Voice of a Native Son: Before I respond to this question in detail, I wish to be clear regarding my position on oppressed people voting in American elections. Raised during the latter-half of the Civil Rights movement. I have always taken voting rights as the "holy grail" of assimilation into American society. But my opinion changed radically during the Democratic primary when the presidential bid by the Reverend Jesse Jackson was hijacked by "faulty voting machines." That day, all of the voting machines in predominately African areas in New York City suddenly "failed" requiring voter to cast their ballots on paper. The same thing happened in the south. Magically, the paper ballots went 'missing."
The next reason is that after voting for the first Black-friendly Clinton-Gore ticket, the New Crime Bill was passed which made being an African male a legitimate reason to be racially profiled under federal law. Clinton did a u-turn on his Gay supporters, invaded and overturned a legitimate government in Yugoslavia, crushed unions and passed NAFTA and GATT which crippled communities across the United States.
Since then I have chosen not to vote. Bush 2000 and 2004 has only solidified my opinion that people of colour will not achieve any empirical political power in the United States through the electoral process alone. Even in Indian Country, polling stations are closed early in heavily "blue" states or districts during these colonialist elections.
I have also not voted on the principle that as someone oppressed by European colonial domination, to vote in their election system would be be to concede their claim to these lands and my identity as a person of Indigenous and African/IIokano slave descent. Often the best path for expressing our dissent is to simply identify with your own understanding of who you are rather then with the caricature "they" assign you.
On the other hand Indians SHOULD vote in their own national elections and actively take a personal part in forging their own future rather than concentrating on assimilating further politically into the American mainstream. Given the failure of such efforts to benefit Indian Country in the past and present and taking into account that far too many of us are still psychologically unwilling to part from the current Tribal system, it only makes common sense to strengthen your base within your own community while working in concert with others in similar circumstances.
The Native Blog: How do you think these mid-term elections will come out?
Voice of a Native Son: Most pundits on the left are predicting a Democratic windfall in favour of public dissent over the Iraq invasion. This might happen but with the way Democrats are voting in the Senate these days it really doesn't matter which party get the seats. Indian Country will still be the same. Colonialised and struggling to survive in a world we did not make.
The Native Blog: What do you think of the news media today?
Voice of a Native Son: What news media? What we see on CNN or your local television news, read in the various papers and such is not news. Corporate "News" media is merely a vehicle for advertisements hawking everything from useless baubles to military invasions of sovereign nations that do not threaten the nation's security. Dan Rather fired from CBS after decades of faithful reportage made it clear in England; American media is controlled from the boardrooms of the economic elites that impose their undue influence on U.S. policy decisions. And war and crime are always good for business.
So is social repression and censorship. The U.S. news media since Bush took control of the White House has made a habit of paying pundits to endorse their policies in major media with corporate ownership providing the eye-candy that makes the lies more believable. Money is being made by selling the public the idea that sexy SWAT cops, submachine rifles and well groomed terrorist negotiators should be regarded as a normal part of the everyday background of American life. That the images we see in North Korea, Iran or China, captive societies all, should be the norm here as well only with more over the top pop-cultural flair.
The news media gives all this legitimacy in between stories about Brad Pitt and ten year old murder cases. These commercials promote television amusement focused on violence and America's "struggle" with Arabic terrorism. You will be hard pressed to find popular media that does not incorporate black clad special response teams armed to the teeth or someone who is a police officer coping with a personal crisis.
Circulating such images alongside "news" dispatches purporting the unending and undeclared war against terror is intelligently devious propaganda and should be identified as such.
The Native Blog: How do you think this current war in Iraq will play out?
Voice of a Native Son: In short, worse than Vietnam. Why? Because Bob Woodward just revealed that Henry Kissinger is back on the advisory board.
The Native Blog: Could you tell us in closing what your thoughts on Global Warming are?
Voice of a Native Son: The signs are all around us. The earth is hotter than ever before as long as certain elite types can still suck profits out of such misfortunes, the damage will continue.
Without clean water and fresh air and food, human existence on this sphere is living on borrowed time. The Hopi timeline in my humble opinion was very clear about these conditions generations before Europeans finally invaded and disrupted or sacred spaces. The timeline mentions the rising of the water and the need for all of the Indian people and the non-Indians who are of good heart to go the high ground to survive. With so much ice melting at the poles, these points cannot be ignored as folklore any longer by Indigenous peoples.
Thank you for interviewing me.