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How To Speak Indian-Media/Media-Indian



Cutting through the double-speak, coded messages, when media speaks about Indian Country Issues and when Indians speak to Media about Issues.

Buzz Speak

Dictionary: Media Speak/Speak Media

Here's a Guide to the Subtext in Media: Buzz words, phrases that play well in soundbytes, but which actually say nothing, is either a sport or an art form but both the media and the Tribe do this dance to the same music, on and on.

Children Are Our Priority:

This means that we have been abusing our children, robbing them, raping them. We know that sounds bad so we will assure you that they, those sweet, vulnerable little children, are our priority. But we can't define how we treat them as our priority.

Not to be confused with Tribal Leaders and Program Directors who take expensive trips to conferences, usually in resort towns, all expenses paid, and that means plenty of recreation and bring a guest, on the Tribe's tab. Itemized expenses are never turned in, and money is never accounted for because, even though 'Children' are the Priority' living the high life off the money intended for their care and keep is so easy.

Children Are Sacred:

When used by corrupt agencies, it means "How dare you question that we place babies, children, young kids, into the hands of known pedophiles!"

When used by People Who Know and Understand the ramifications of Child neglect, abuse, endangerment and are battling to get them real help and protection, it is a Plea from the core of their being to all Human Beings who should hold the same values.  Know the difference.

Complex/ Too Complex:

It means: We can't really justify why we (Native Leaders/All other Agencies/ All levels of Federal, State County Government) we have ignored the crimes being committed. We cannot tell you why we have ignored the pleas for help. We cannot tell you why we have allowed these crimes to continue. We really don't want you asking us because you might find out that we have also been complicit, compromised, or that we have been bribed or that we are just plain incompetent.

See: "Sovereignty" , also "Children Are Sacred".

Gap/Credibility Gap:

When a Journalist, Criminal Investigator does not want to take seriously the statement or testimony of someone who claims to have been beaten, threatened or raped they look for a reason to discredit that person rather than to look into the claim.  Typically, that person is or has been an alcoholic/drug addict, school drop-out, so anything they say has no weight or value if considered against the 'more credible' (regardless of corruption) Tribal Official, Justice Department, Police, etc.

Credibility Gap essentially is used to discredit anyone who is Native American, living on the rez and is not in an official capacity. Mostly, the readers, viewers, juries, already preconditioned with racist stereo typing of Native Americans, just nod in agreement.

Media Frenzy:

Apparently used by those representing corrupt Tribal Governments when referring to any attention given to serious matters such as Child abuse, rape, corruption. As was pointed out by commenter in Hot Topics: ThompsonReader sez:

"Who ever wrote this letter claims that there has been a media frenzy. Are you kidding me? Two kids were found tortured and killed and stuffed between some mattresses and there were a few newspaper articles, a couple blurbs on the local news . Then nothing for a year. If those were white kids found in an expensive home in Fargo or Grand Forks, then you would see a media frenzy. The fact is that someone on that reservation wants everyone to turn their heads and stop looking so they can go about whatever it was that they were doing before. No one out there is demanding answers because they know that there is a lot of stuff that will be discovered that they want kept secret. I smell a rat."

So, that pretty much explains how 'Media Frenzy' can mean anyone actually talking about, discussing on any public level, these very real issues that should concern us all. Subtext: "Don't look!"

Further on the same topic, different page: FlyingNurse sez:

"Whenever an organization, any organization blames a whistle blower, they are in fact admitting guilt. If the whistle blower’s claims were false, they would have attacked them on those grounds. By saying the person with the candle (the one who dispelled the darkness and shed light on the subject) is the problem, they are in fact saying they do not deny the charges, they are just angry over getting caught."

Phantom Children:

These are records that were based on real existing children, but with birth dates changed slightly, or different second/Last names being used in order to secure more government funding for programs that will go directly to those who are running the programs, or to family and friends. See 'Fraud' and 'Embezzlement' in any other dictionary.

Privacy, Protecting the Privacy of Children:

This is both a sword and a shield to prevent people from asking questions about child abuse, neglect, rapes and murders, citing "Privacy" as if protecting the children from the embarrassment of being murdered. In truth, this phrase is used to protect those who are illegally fostering children, having custody of children.

Bonus Round: Citing "Protecting the Privacy of Children" has been used to prevent questions/answers regarding the embezzlement of funds from those same children, and their family/friends using fraudulent records to claim funds for children. See also: "Phantom Children".

Renegade, Warpath:

Generally used by media when speaking about Native American Issues and needing to belittle, diminish both the issues and the people (usually Native Americans) who are protesting the wrongs being done or the serious issues such as corruption, drug addiction, unemployment and abuse.  When you hear anyone in media using those terms, they want you to treat the story as a joke.


Perhaps the most abused word when it comes to First Nations Issues. Sovereignty was supposed to give Native Communities a certain amount of autonomy so that they could pursue their own land uses, their own economic plans, their own religions and to an extent, their own education and governance. It was intended as an interface between The United States and the Native American Nations, essentially the Nation within a Nation cogs and gears.

But it has been used to obscure, cover up and rationalize all levels of crimes against Indian Peoples, by their own Leaders. With the SLN Tribal Council voting, "In the Name of Sovereignty" to remove the photos of convicted sex offenders from the public buildings, they were saying that "We as Indians, will protect pedophiles, rapists, at the expense of the community. We are for Sex Offenders."

Other Tribes are outraged by even the thought of doing that. Which then brings us to the question: "How do we define Sovereignty? Are we one Nation within a Nation? Or are we more than 300 Separate Nations within One Nation with more than 300 different definitions of Sovereignty for each Nation?

What is needed is for All First Nations Leaders to gather in a Congress and vote on what, exactly, Sovereignty means and how it is defined for all First Nations. 

But for now, it means: "We protect sex offenders. Our people have no rights to seek legal recourse for any crimes or offenses we as their leaders, or our families and friends, commit against them personally or as a community."

Staffing Shortages:

That is where the people who were doing their jobs were fired for pointing out corruption and abuse in their particular department or agency. The Director of that program, department or agency then cries that they are 'understaffed' and 'need more money' to 'better handle the situation'.

In particular, the therm is used as a euphemism to mean: We fire anyone that points out we are doing something illegal. Give us more money and feel sorry for us because we are 'understaffed'.

Usually followed by "Children are our Priority".

There are more phrases that are used and abused, and we can, if necessary, update our little dictionary as time goes on. But, from what I have read in the Comments sections listed above-- most people are already wise to all of this. Most people are not fooled and no one is bullied by being called 'racist against Indians'  because they are demanding these urgent situations be dealt with, expeditiously and for the children to be safe.



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