Today’s unfounded allegations come from Vince Hill, who described himself to me recently as a “good friend” of Joe Fellegy’s. Maybe Joe is the one who provided Vince with his caricature of me as a liberal who uses his position as editor to “save the ‘poor Indians,'” as Vince put it in an article in the Ojibwe News today.
I learned a long time ago that the “poor Indians” are doing just fine without my help, and aren’t paying that much attention to what I say. I might’ve been a bleeding heart once upon a time, with a patronizing desire to deliver the oppressed from bondage, but if I was, it’s so long ago I don’t remember. Nowadays it’s all I can do to keep my children in vegetables. I have no illusions about being anybody’s Great White Hope.
Maybe Vince’s friend Joe told him “liberal Brett Larson” (as Vince referred to me in his article) is all about “saving the poor Indians.” If so, all that shows is that Joe’s view of me is as shallow as he says my view of anglers is. I guess it’s easier for conservatives to stereotype liberals to fit their worldview than to respect them as complex individuals. They’re not the only ones guilty of that crime.
When I interviewed Vince a couple months ago about his campaign to be chief of the Mille Lacs Band, he struck me as an interesting guy. He’s a native speaker of Ojibwe and worked as a social worker in Minneapolis for many years. I thought I did a nice profile of him for our paper. When we talked, he betrayed no antagonism toward “liberal Brett Larson,” and I felt none toward him. I took some crap for putting his picture on the front of the paper over the words “Band leader.” Some members apparently don’t consider Vince a leader.
Maybe Vince’s dismissive comments shouldn’t surprise me, considering he writes for Bill Lawrence. Lawrence has had it in for the Messenger since before I showed up.
Lawrence is a conservative Ojibwe publisher who is well connected to the anti-tribal sovereignty movement (locally and nationally), is a crusader against tribal government corruption, writes the longest editorials I’ve ever seen, and prints anonymous personal attacks by members of various Ojibwe bands along with the occasional article accusing liberal journalists like me of patronizing Indians. And he doesn’t return my phone calls.
I’ve tried to cut Bill and Vince and Joe some slack over the years. I guess I shouldn’t expect the same.