Movie Boycott -Apology

Mon Jan 24 08:30:20 UTC 2000

 Respectful Greetings All My Brothers and Sisters,

    I want to thank all of my brothers and sisters who commented on the=20
stereotyping issue. As a human who cares about people, I only hoped to make=20
all of you fellow  students of Native American language and culture aware of=
the film with its =93possible=94 problems. The message that was sent to me=20
through the Native American Network spoke to my heart. I made no judgement=20
about the content. I figured that you would do that for yourselves. I=20
forwarded the message exactly as it came to me.
    It is not my way to be combative, and I never expected that some of you,=
my elders, would react this way. I apologize for causing any hurt. I shared=20
the message only so that you might be ready to help out after the film came=20
out, by preparing your thoughts ahead of time.
     I am a California Chicano. During different periods of my life, I was t=
told to =93remember the Alamo=94, I was called a =93dirty=94 Mexican, I was=20=
told to=20
go back to Mexico, (my parents were born in California also), I waited in=20
markets where I was ignored until White customers were all served, and my=20
history teachers taught me that Mexicans lost the Southwest because they wer=
too lazy and stupid to deserve to keep the land. (I really respected my=20
teachers, so those words hurt much more.) On television and in the movies=20
when I was growing up the best example of Mexican achievement was the ranch=20
hand =93Pepino=94 in =93The Real McCoys=94, my Indian brothers were always t=
bloodthirsty savages in the cowboy movies, and the other portrayals of my=20
people included servants and law breakers. Things haven=92t changed much in=20
film and TV, we either don=92t exist or we=92re the hired hands, or the bad=20=
Today my indigenous brothers are being evicted from their lands from Arizona=
to Chiapas.
    I=92m not looking for blame. I=92m part Native American and part Spanish=
. I=20
accept that. I look for the beautiful in both my European and indigenous=20
cultures. The evil and hate that has been practiced in the past is a matter=20
of history. Let=92s learn from it in order not to repeat it. But I ask you m=
brothers and sisters to help my people, especially the children, concentrate=
on the positive achievements of our indigenous people. I=92m a school teache=
working in a barrio school for the last 27 years. I don=92t hide the=20
possibility/probabilty of human sacrifice. I try to help the kids understand=
why it might have happened, and how it was regarded by the people in=20
Mesoamerica, and how to relate it to the killing committed in modern times.=20
But I don=92t dwell on killing aspects of cultures. I dwell on the music,=20
poetry, art, mathematics, astronomy, and the beauty in the human spirit. I=20
enjoy pointing out Spanish words that have come from Nahuatl or Arabic. I=20
enjoy teaching children how to play the huehuetl, tlapitzalli, and the=20
teponaztli. I teach my students how to do a =93round=94 dance.
    The barrios are filled with my brothers and sisters who have lost pride=20
in who they are, only partly due to the negativity they encountered in the=20
media and their failures in school.  Together let=92s light the =93new light=
with your knowledge and encouragement  the children can grow up being proud=20
of being Indian (and Spanish), learn more of about their languages and=20
cultures (including English), and become productive citizens of the society.
                        Walk in beauty,
                        Henry Vasquez

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