Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Transformation of Scott Mandrell

When the requiem of the American Indian Holocaust transformed 'Lewis' of the Lewis and Clark Expedition

By Brenda Norrell
Human rights editor
U.N. OBSERVER & International Report

WOOD RIVER, Illinois – When Scott Mandrell walked onto the Earthcycles radio bus on the Longest Walk, there was a surreal moment. Could this be the same person that was dressed in those “funny clothes,” as Carter Camp called them, and postured as Meriwether Lewis on the Lewis and Clark Discovery Expedition in South Dakota.
Was this the same Mandrell that sat in a circle of Lewis and Clark re-enactors as Lakota, Ponca and Kiowa delivered a requiem, recalling the holocaust and genocide of American Indians.Yes, it was the same Mandrell and memory served up the legacy. Carter Camp, Ponca, and his son, Vic Camp had revealed that Mandrell had left the Lewis and Clark Discovery Expedition after that fateful encounter on the banks on the Missouri River in Chamberlain, South Dakota, in September of 2004, when an American Indian delegation delivered an ultimatum to the expedition.
What had happened? Here, four years later in the relentless rain of Illinois in May of 2008, Mandrell dipped into memory and poetry.
“The hoop has come full circle," Mandrell said.Mandrell described his transformation, from Lewis re-enactor to the host of the Longest Walk Northern Route at Camp Dubois, near the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi River in Illinois. In a beautiful land now saturated with toxic spills and asbestos, with most its Native people long gone, Mandrell welcomed the Longest Walkers who spent three months walking here on their way to Washington.
As Mandrell, a science teacher, sat in the Longest Walk radio bus, I read the words delivered to the Lewis and Clark Expedition by Lakota, Ponca and Kiowa in 2004.
Surrounded by a heavy buildup of federal agents and police, Carter Camp told the Expedition in 2004 that Lewis and Clark were harbingers of the Holocaust.
“What they wrote down was a blueprint for the genocide of my people. You are re-enacting something ugly, evil and hateful. You are re-enacting the coming of death to our people. You are re-enacting genocide.”
Deb White Plume, Lakota from Pine Ridge gave the expedition a symbolic blanket of small pox.
Another Lakota woman from Pine Ridge said she carries the DNA of the Lakota women who survived the slaughters that Lewis and Clark opened the door to. She said she is prepared to die for this cause.“I believe in armed struggle,” Wicopy Wakia Wi of Pine Ridge said. “The act of genocide stops here. We are tired of living poor. We are not afraid to die. I am willing to die.”
She told them they would not proceed up the river.
“You are not going on. I will organize every sister from here to Oregon to stop you.”
After that day in 2004, Mandrell did stop. He left the Lewis and Clark Expedition and formed his own journey, his own adventure that included American Indian friends that he made along the way.
Seated on the radio bus, Mandrell remembered meeting with Carter Camp’s son Vic Camp from Pine Ridge, on that day in 2004.
“I still have his number on my speed dial.”
Earlier, Vic Camp had remembered the victory of hearing Mandrell had left the Expedition. During an interview in April, 2005, Vic Camp said, “That was a great victory for us.”
But on the banks of the Missouri River in South Dakota on that day in 2004, Lakota elder Floyd Hand, among four bands of Lakota spoke from the well of Holocaust that was chilling.“We are the descendants of Red Cloud and Crazy Horse.”
“I did not come here in peace.”
Hand said they would not smoke the pipe and if the expedition continues up the Missouri River, the families of the expedition members would suffer the spiritual consequences of small pox.
Referring to the tribal governments who welcomed the expedition, Hand said those tribal governments reflect the same type thinking as the re-enactors and are not the voice of the grassroots people.
“The tribal governments are not a voice for us. They are imitating us, like you are imitating Lewis and Clark.”
“We want you to turn around and go home,” Alex White Plume, Lakota from Pine Ridge, told the expedition.White Plume said Lakota are here on this land for a reason.“We were put here by the spirits.” He said the Lakota never lost their language or ceremonies and now they are making these requests: Lakota want their territory back, their treaties to be honored and to be able to continue their healing ways.
White Plume said many Indian people have become assimilated and colonized. “We pray for our own colonized people. We say they are in a prison in the white man’s world.” White Plume said there was no point in the expedition coming here.
“All you did was open up these old wounds.”
Carter Camp warned the expedition to halt or they would be stopped. He said the expedition has been told lies and are spreading lies.Camp said Lewis and Clark are a part of the American lie.“They had no honor. They came with the American lie. They murdered 60 million people.”
Read more from that day on the Missouri River of the Stop Lewis and Clark movement in 2004, including the words of Russell Means and Alfred Boneshirt:
Listen to Scott Mandrell's transformation (Earthcycles, Longest Walk Radio May, 2008)
Earthcycles website:

Photos: Scott Mandrell welcomes the Longest Walk to Camp Dubois at Wood River, Illinois in May, 2008. Photo 2: Deb White Plume delivers symbolic blanket of smallpox to Discovery Expedition in Chamberlain, S.D., in 2004. Photos by Brenda Norrell.
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Censored News is published by censored journalist Brenda Norrell. A journalist for 27 years, Brenda lived on the Navajo Nation for 18 years, writing for Navajo Times, AP, USA Today, Lakota Times and other American Indian publications. After being censored and then terminated by Indian Country Today in 2006, she began the Censored Blog to document the most censored issues. She currently serves as human rights editor for the U.N. OBSERVER & International Report at the Hague and contributor to Sri Lanka Guardian, Narco News and CounterPunch. She was cohost of the 5-month Longest Walk Talk Radio across America, with Earthcycles Producer Govinda Dalton in 2008:
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