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In The Hoop
JUNE 14, 2001

Welcome to In The Hoop, Indianz.Com's occasional column about assorted Indian issues.

Indian Guest Removal, or If you move, I will give you an allotment, I promise!
Indian Country is buzzing about Wednesday's hearing for Bureau of Indian Affairs nominee Neal McCaleb. Not because of what anyone said at the rather brief love-fest, but due to a clash between a member of the audience and a reporter for an East coast paper.

In fact, some attendants found it so troublesome that they later complained to Department of Interior officials that the reporter should have been ejected. One witness said that the event reminded him of a story about President Andrew Jackson, except that Indian Removal expert used the words Injun Joe and brandished a pistol.

Almost immediately into the proceedings, the reporter bolted -- presumably to catch up with Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), who left early to run another hearing -- thereby leaving prime real estate in the crowded room open for the taking. As it turns out, the unreserved seat became occupied by the son of a well-known tribal leader / senior Olympian.

Yet after being absent for a good 20 minutes or more (in dispute, see below), allegedly obtaining quotes for his latest riff on Indian affairs, the reporter returned and demanded to have his seat given back. But he found no sympathy for his crusade amongst the room.

"None of the seats here are reserved," the prodigal son was overheard telling the agitated reporter, who then made motions as to physically remove the distinguished guest. (The reporter didn't know that many governments have tried to remove the guest's tribe, to no avail.)

"Come on, let's go," the reporter was overheard saying. And as if to feign a non-threat: "I won't hurt you."

But instead of sticks and stones, the reporter apparently thought words could break this man's spirit. (Little did he know reporter know that the federal government also tried this tactic mid-19th century, with little success.) During a break in the hearing, the reporter delivered a lecture on decorum and proper society to an uninterested listener.

"You have violated my rights," he was heard proclaiming, eliciting no response. Seemingly unhappy with the reaction, he then handed out photocopies of articles he had written about some casino or another as if to convince the occupier of his importance.

The articles were later found discarded on the floor.

The reporter eventually left and found other people to annoy.

After the hearing, McCaleb chimed in with some wisdom about the incident. "That's a white man's rule," he said, "First come, first serve."

Although the reporter now acknowledges he was not guaranteed a seat, he disputes the time he was absent from the hearing. In an interview, he told Indianz.Com he was gone for about five minutes but independent confirmation with three observers put the time at approximately 20 minutes.

He added: "It was presumptuous for me to have appeared to lecture him, as I realized. Overall, it was not my finest hour. I apologize to the man, whose name I do not know, and to those who may have been distracted."

We'll let you know if the apology is accepted.

Lights, Models, Guest list!
The Senate Indian Affairs Committee might consider getting a bigger room for its hearings, given the incredible turnout for yesterday's event.

Spotted in the standing-room only crowd were: former Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation / former Assistant Secretary / former "Let's Get Rid of the BIA" supporter / prospective Congressional candidate Ross Swimmer, former Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary Loretta Tuell, former Acting Assistant Secretary Michael Anderson, former BIA public relations director (during the height of the AIM days) Tom Oxendine, NIGA General Counsel John Harte (San Felipe Pueblo), federal recognition expert Jennifer Hughes, FCC legal counsel Geoffrey Blackwell (son of BIA Deputy Commissioner Sharon Blackwell), and of course, Chickasaw Nation Ambassador Charles Blackwell (who is everyone's relation).

In The Hoop, however, did not see former Assistant Secretary K Go, although he may have gone incogindio. Neither did we see the NewsDude although we hear he is covering other people's coverage of the hearing.

Who does your PR?
Noting a recent In The Hoop item about the difficulties in contacting Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-Colo.), Aurene Martin, minority counsel on the Indian Affairs Committee, came up to an Indianz.Com staff member after the hearing and said Paul Moorehead would be more than willing to take our calls.

We quickly noted that Moorehead, too, has been the target of many of our voice mails, often to no avail. But that may soon be changing. We'll let you know how it goes.

We do your PR!
The Indianz.Com staff member was also approached by another person bearing a business card: the Honorable Bill Anoatubby, Governor of the Chickasaw Nation.

Anoatubby's matter was simple: "Will you do our PR?" he queried, presumably soliciting services for his tribe.

We'll let you know how it goes.

In Your Hoop
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In Your Hoop
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