This is a letter sent in response to the biased media coverage.
RE Guy Farmer's August 25th, 2002 article "RESENDIZ TRIAL: LET JUSTICE TAKE ITS COURSE"
How many times is the Nevada Appeal going to reiterate the "official story" of Resendez being "beaten to death" reinforcing the idea that the Native youths accused of his murder are guilty before being tried? Guy Farmer perpetuates many misconceptions on his Sunday, August 25th article, one day before the first of the Carson 10 trials started. With misinformation like this emanating from your publication for four years it will be impossible to find jurors who have been shielded from it and therefore do not have the preconceived notion that Resendez was "beaten to death" imprinted somewhere in their consciousness. There is a lot of evidence that does not agree with this matter of fact affirmation. How can someone who has been beaten to death be walking around when the police show up and then need restraining because, as stated in their own report, is combative? That is just one simple flaw in the logic presented throughout the area media without questioning from anybody, the rest will surely be presented by Rocky Boice's legal defense team.
The role of the media has not just been irresponsible but also racist, and this is beautifully illustrated in Guy Farmer's article. What he calls "outrageous behavior and public demonstrations outside the courtroom" are just demonstrations of support for our youth because we firmly believe in their innocence. As you must know, most non-Indians that live in this country are benefitting from Indian land and the price for your way of life was the decimation of our ancestors to near extinction. This is why when our people are attacked and face injustice, especially our youth, women and elders, the American Indian Movement and supporters will always be there, and that is the presence that so offends Guy Farmer. In some cases, our tribes have become so small that the incarceration or death of ten youths would imply the elimination of a whole generation. THIS IS POLITICAL, no matter how you want to look at it!
What he calls "drum pounding" and "tom-toms" are ceremonial drums. Every time we sit around the drum we humble ourselves before The Creator to pray through our singing (that does not sound like the Hollywood Westerns stereotype it, and that is why he may perceive it as "noise"), it is a sacred ceremony. So now that Mr. Farmer has this knowledge, an apology for insulting our sacred traditions is in order. He also takes offense by the statement made by the defendants' parents saying they didn't expect justice "at the hands of the descendants of the invaders who ruthlessly stole our lands and murdered our ancestors." Can anyone deny this truth? Is it not an outright conflict of interest to be tried, and judged by the people who would benefit from the elimination of anyone who had a rightful claim to what they call "their land"? With those odds we put our fate in the hands of the Creator and draw inspiration. As stated in the Holy Qur'an "God's help comes to those who strive...Our duty is to stand firm and unswerving. To obey, and in steadfast courage to persevere, to retrieve our mistakes, not in grief and despair, but in firm hope in God and in contempt of pain and death."
Finally, Mr. Farmer states that I, Russ Redner, come from San Francisco, "where else", he quips, to "give [us] lessons in criminal justice". Once more, the historical outsiders, calling us, the indigenous people of this land, outsiders. In fact, I am Western Shoshone myself. My family history is deeply embedded in what the colonial state calls Nevada, my own parents were sent and tortured ("educated") at Stewart Indian School, I lived and worked in this state for many years, and my children have suffered discrimination in Nevada schools just for being Native. I have a right to be here and demand justice for my people in any way that I deem appropriate. If Mr. Farmer and other "Nevadans" object, they should be honest with themselves and carefully examine their feelings towards the rightful owners of this land.
Carson City will not accuse and try our children in isolation, we are here to demand just treatment, carefully watch what is happening, and report it to Indian country and the rest of the world (with the support of the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee national and international solidarity for the Carson 10 is growing). In this way, Carson City is also on trial. Your historical record of how Native people have been treated here is the evidence, and your guilt of monumental genocide and overwhelming racism goes without question.
Wanbli Watakpe (a.k.a. Russell James Redner)
Ta Shunka Witko Brigade
American Indian Movement of Northern California and Great Basin Region
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