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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: The Indian Reader ~ vintage 1980's Native American tabloid

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banjoy - Posted - 06/04/2023:  18:12:06

Back in the mid-1980s I was deeply involved in a grassroots downhome quasi-Native American group in the east Tennessee area ... which was how I landed in east TN to begin with. During the decade I was with that group I was instrumental in putting together a few interesting projects most of which I'd just as soon forget. And have forgotten.

In going through my stuff I came across 10 issues each of a tabloid publication I put together as editor, writer and layout artist, among a small staff of people. We mailed about 20,000 copies of each issue free of charge and I thought these were gone forever, a glimmer of a memory. It's possible you might find these in a library or archive as well as The National Archives, because we mailed one to every library in the country, as well as every Indian tribe, cultural center, museum, religious leader, politician, government agency and many influential people of the day.

Anyway, I realize that with all the world travelers and deep thinkers who are part of BHO, there might be an interest in this type of thing. For those who might be interested, these are on eBay, be sure to read the description for each which goes into a little more detail of how it all happened and why.

So, for what it's worth, or not, a tiny sliver of Native American world, a snapshot from the 1980s. Not much has changed, sadly.

The Indian Reader ~ Vintage 1986 Native American tabloid ~ Premiere Issue

The Indian Reader ~ Vintage 1986 Native American tabloid ~ Second Issue

The Indian Reader ~ Vintage 1987 Native American tabloid ~ Third (Final) Issue

I departed that group in 1988 after coming to the realization that it was inappropriate for me to occupy this space. But I learned a lot and continued planting my roots in East Tennessee for the next two decades when banjo became a little more front and center. And until recently, I never looked back too much.

Edited by - banjoy on 06/05/2023 00:19:13

banjo bill-e - Posted - 06/05/2023:  07:58:15

--"after coming to the realization that it was inappropriate for me to occupy this space.---"

Did the local Indian population appreciate the publications?
Did the publications serve any good purpose or do any good for anyone?
Was it the local Indian population who suggested that it was inappropriate for you to "occupy this space?"

banjoy - Posted - 06/05/2023:  08:54:57


Originally posted by banjo bill-e

--"after coming to the realization that it was inappropriate for me to occupy this space.---"


Did the local Indian population appreciate the publications?

Did the publications serve any good purpose or do any good for anyone?

Was it the local Indian population who suggested that it was inappropriate for you to "occupy this space?"

Interesting if irrelevant questions, but here goes.

1) Yes, the publications was well received nationwide. We heard from NA interests everywhere. IPN was so impressed with our use of their feed that they flew me up to Cornell University to meet with them personally. I was also flown to San Diego CA to meet an elder there named Coyote to profile him for the next issue which never happened. He was well into his 80s by then and we met him at the Highlander Center in New Market, TN. Indian world is somewhat fragmented, for example, the third edition featured Wallace Black Elk, a direct descendent of Black Elk; that was well received by some, but many of the hard cores viewed him as a sellout for purportedly charging for ceremonies or whatever and let us know. Another controversial figure was Sun Bear who the hard cores hated. This was never my worlds to be a part of to begin with.

2) Yes.

3) No. This was my own realization. I was recruited into the Native American Church and led to believe I was more "Indian" than skins were. Which is nuts. I departed on my own terms at a time of my choosing. Before I departed I set all the conditions in place for them to produce a 4th edition, including getting all the lead material gathered together and securing a $3500 grant from Community Shares, a 501(c)(3) in Knoxville which funded local organizations like this.

If you have additional questions or curiosity, feel free to email me off list (you have my email address already) or call me, I can give you my phone number.

Edited by - banjoy on 06/05/2023 09:01:29

banjoy - Posted - 06/06/2023:  08:50:51

Just one more post to clarify a few things before I move on. First. I was flown to San Francisco, not San Diego (my bad). Cornell University (or someone / some entity through Cornell) paid for those trips. Second, I wondered why it was me, instead of some of the others in our "group" who on paper had way more credentials than me (for example, one in our group claiming multiple PhD's from the "Native Americas University" in Mexico) and chosen to do those trips. I've come to realize that I was the only person who knew all the pieces it took to put those tabloids together. But in terms of any deep understanding or depth of knowledge of Indian World, I was way out of my element.

So I visited the IPN folks at Cornell, the a few weeks later was flown to San Francisco (it could have been anyone in our "group" but the "group" sent me) to meet with Coyote for a 2nd time after our first introduction at Highlander Center. Well, Coyote as an honorary professor of Native American Studies at California Sate University, Berkeley, and he had me go with him to his class he taught then he introduced me to his students to speak. Talk about a deer in the headlights! I'm pretty sure it was his kind and compassionate way of exposing me for knowing nothing which, knowing nothing, I didn't know I knew nothing. That was one of many seminal moments for me in that world. I was in my mid-20s and very naive and gullible, or else I would have not allowed myself to be in that position. It was pretty evident that I was way out of my element. I was, after all, a graphic designer and writer at the time, and was sucked into that world of Native American issues by forces that I did not see or comprehend at the time. But I was a great editor and writer, and that's how I was used. I was a participant to cultural appropriation and I could see it now.

But the tabloids and info in them was quite real and timely, pulling from IPN which was comprised of credentialed Native American journalists, and the cover stories I mostly wrote or edited, from transcribed video interviews with real hard core people of that time. So the thing itself was very real and that's why it landed as well as it did. On that front, I knew exactly what I was doing and knew what impact it would have.

Some folks here might remember a thread I made a few years ago about my "Forrest Gump Moments" in my life, how I've done and experienced things in my life that no one would think a dumbass like me could have done or experienced. One of the examples I shared in that thread was, when as a member of that "group" I ended up on stage jammed next to Jesse Jackson. Another situation I should never have been exposed to... So chalk this whole up thing up to one of those Gump moments, this one spanning a decade. Hoo boy.

I was there, I did this tabloid and made it happen but would never ever repeat the experience if given the chance to live life over. My choices would be very different. My purpose for making this thread has been met. Just exorcizing past Gump moments. Mission accomplished.

Edited by - banjoy on 06/06/2023 09:02:42

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