In the summer of 1997, a conference was held in the town of Aberdeen, SD. The focus of this conference was the writer Frank L. Baum. As part of this conference it was hoped that a little known aspect of Baum would be addressed, that being the racists editorials written by him in the winter of 1890. The conference came and went and no address was made. Comments were posted to this site and sent to encourage Aberdeen to hold Baum accountable for his past assertions.
In the summer of 1998, a conference and festival was held in the town of Aberdeen. The focus was again Frank L. Baum. Once again, the Baum editorials were not addressed.
The comments below are a sample of those received at this site demanding that the Baum Festival committee make a public statement that holds Baum accountable for his genocidal words, and that this material be presented at the Baum Festival of 1999. The statements below are in support of holding Baum accountable, and in the words of the petition: "Should He Be Not, I Will Actively Support The Boycott of Aberdeen."
signature_date: November 4, 1998
I sincerely hope that Baum will be held accountable for his part in promoting and supporting the bloodshed against the Native Americans. I find it seriously disturbing that there are still those that honor him. In promoting the massacres, he is just as much to blame as the soldiers who cheerfully followed their orders or the generals who gave them. Having a festival in his honor is the equivalent to me, a black man, celebrating the first man that said, "I know! Let's go to Africa and extend our slave trade there!" I am very disappointed in their views and feel sorry for their narrowmindedness.
I never knew about Baum himself until my psychology teacher at Xavier University told me about him. I didn't know he wrote "The Wizard of Oz" or that he advocated in the exterminations of the Indians. Some people know that he wrote "The Wizard of Oz" but did not know that he wanted the mass extermination or genocide of the Indians. I support your boycott in the Baum Festival and hope that other people will know what I know about this racist man; not for what he is famous for but for his support for genocide Indians.
To Whom It May Concern:
I was one of the people who thought that Baum was this wonderful man: he wrote "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz"! I thought that he was a hero, as many of the other people in the world think. But now knowing that he was a racist man, and called for the annihilation of an entire race, I am horrified! Is this the kind of man we would want our children to admire? Why don't more people know the truth?
Everyone thinks of Dorothy, Toto, and the Yellow Brick Road when it comes to the wonderful movie. I am now thinking of gunshots, blood, violence, ANNIHILATION, GENOCIDE. To think that since FOREVER, I have thought that Baum was a dreamer, a person who wrote fairy-tales for little children. Now, I think that everyone should know of the nightmares that he had written. Everyone should know what kind of man he REALLY was, and that he wasn't just some childhood joy that we all remember. He's a low-down, horrible person! Now when I think of the Wizard of Oz, I see racism and I feel betrayal.
I'll never be able to look at OZ the same way again. Everytime I think of the Evil Witch's monkeys attacking Dorothy and her friends, I'll think of the terrible massacre and remember those who died. This festival should not take place. It is a disgrace to those whose ancestors died.
How can people be so heartless, without any compassion? I will continue to support any cause that tries to cease racism; yet, we should never forget the past.
signature_date: november 3. 1998
comments: As an individual of society, everyone is held accountable for their own actions. If you have a strong voice in your community and know that you are of some influence to the people in that community, then you must watch what you say. In my opinion, L. Frank Baum is responsible for the 1890 massacre of the Indians. In his story "The Wizard of Oz" he says that "there's no place like home", but when dealing with reality and real life, he takes people away from there home and brutally murder them for no reason. Now if there is truly no place like home, then why not let the Indians live peacefully in their own home. Afterall, this was their land (home) before anyone else even set foot in America.
signature_date: November 2, 1998
Many in the government of this nation would have the American people believe that this is one nation under God, but the reality is that ethnic groups that are not European in nature are not treated as part of this indivisble nation. All too often the histories of Native Americans and African Americans are twisted or disregarded in order to serve the Eurocentric view that it was the destiny of white people to "rule" the earth.
Many so-called liberals say that they want to change the way that the ethnic groups are treated in this country; however, they ignore the most obvious of ways. One such way is to discontinue the practice of glorifying those that have been were responsible, either by pen or by sword, for inhuman massacres. A great place to start is the cancellation of the L. Frank Baum festival. Such "celebrations" should be reconsidered and cancelled based on the malice that such people have caused.
I am proud to add my name to this petition, and I hope that there will be future movements to bring injustice of this nature to light.
I feel a man that had this much hatred for a certain race or culture should not be celebrated or have a festival or even have a day in his name. He was not a man of integrity, respect and certainly did not contain plain knowledge that everyone on this earth is not the same and is not like him.
This festival should not take place in honor of man like this. There should not be a L. Frank Baum Festival!!
I believe this celebration is totally outrageous and not fit for this day and age. We must not celebrate a man who promoted genocide and the destruction of a whole race. The articles that he wrote in the Aberdeen Pioneer only fueled this sick thought of superiority and slaughter against God's children. It's wrong and I am totally against it.
It is morally wrong to support outright prejudice and calls for genocide. Whereas the idea was "common in the 1800's", the later part of the twentieth century is supposed to be the age of enlightenment. For Aberdeen to memorialize an evil man such as Mr. Baum because he wrote stories is a slap in the face to the efforts of the people of the United States to come to terms with the injustices bestowed upon those with darker skin and to remedy those injustices. It would be as if the actions were condoned because a town wanted the political acknowledgement of having a writer live in their midst at one time. Certainly Aberdeen has more to offer as positive recognition. If not, than perhaps Aberdeen should review their priorities.
To honor such a man as Baum is a contradiction to the proclaim that the country we live in is one of social justice and compassion. The disgraceful comments by your honoree is a slap in the face to everyone who has ever been a victim of discrimination and racism. His racist remarks toward the people of the American Indian Nation puts him in no category as a hero. To continue festivals in honor of this oen racist is to celebrate the innocent blood shed of thousands of American Indians. Never have I heard horrible accounts of genocide since I first learned of Hitler's attempt to annihilate the Jewish Nations. I hope that you plan on extending an apology to the survivors of the victims of the awful slaughter. If you do not you will only be supporting every racist action committed in this pseudo Utopia we call "the home of the free and land of the brave".
I support the effort to hold baum accountable for the extermination of the First Nations and support the idea to boycott the festival in Aberdeen.
To whom it may concern:
I not only support this boycott, but for all people I have contact with on the west coast who will be heading back to South Dakota next summer for ceremony, I am speaking out loudly that one and all boycott Aberdeen for the summer of 1999. I have made a point to explain to all individuals that Aberdeen is holding a festival to celebrate a man who call for the extermination of the First Nation People I tire of trying to talk to the people of Aberdeen regarding this subject, as they seem to have no ears to hear. As long as this festival celebrates Frank Baum, and does not loudly address these racist editorials, address the racist nature of Baum, and the potential effect that he had on people's hysteria that potentially caused Wounded Knee Massacre, as long as there is no effort to rescind those medals of "dishonor" given to the men who participated in Wounded Knee, as long as Aberdeen pertetuated their own racial attitudes, I shall boycott Aberdeen. I may have a itty tiney, small little voice, but it is a voice being heard, and I do call strongly for the boycott of Aberdeen South Dakota for the summer of 1999.
This man sounds pitiful! Why would a town want to honor such a man? What is wrong with the people of this town? Are they just as pitiful? Are they direct descendents of this man?
How many ways can we say it, and how much will it take before you listen? Holding a festival to "celebrate" a racist like Baum, who advocated genocide of MY RACE, is like celebrating Hitler or any other genocidal historical "figure". It's a shameful thing to do in the name of greed for your community. Hold a festival to honor the original inhabitants of your land, and then put your money where your mouths are and give back some of that land. Then we'll celebrate you, and be your friends. Continue on this shameful course, and we'll tell the world to boycott you.
signature_date: oct. 30, 1998
the festival planners thus far, have refused to acknowledge, in truth and fact, that frank baum was a racist, genocidal maniac. so far, festival planners have stonewalled, and refused honest comment, re: "frank". the oz/frank baum festival in aberdeen, south dakota, right along with the planners must be held accountable for their dastardly exploitation and death of all good first nations peoples. too many died, for the hell of baum's words and intentional malice.
tis a travesty to hold such a black hearted event, in the faces of those who ancestors were not deemed worthy enough to live. they were slaughtered, land stolen, because of the baum's poisoned pen, to help make the killing of men, women and children, faster! for shame, for shame!
all connected with planning the festival must be held up to public scrutiny. they and their ill begotten festival that should be renamed - carnage days, with frank - the baum festival must be made a world wide scourge.
the frank baum festival must be BOYCOTTED, by all people, of good concscience.
Having a festival celebrating a man of such RACIST writngs that promoted GENOCIDE is an insult to all First Nations people as well as anyone with a sense of justice or compassion. So what is next? A festival to celebrate Adolf Hilter and the book Mein Kampf?
AN APOLOGY IS LONG OVERDUE!!!
Please see recent E-Mails to Jordan Dill on this matter. There are several. They should be coherent read sequentially. Aberdeen cannot shoulder the blame alleged of L. Frank Baum. It can only express its sentiments in response to the blameworthy editorials.
In what way did Baum support his advocacy of Siouan annihilation? Could he have regretted his genocidal rhetoric? Could he have died repentant? Can we accept penitence? Was his Oz work a penance? Could he have died truly contritely penitant?
Is there any among us who believes any man is incapable of repentance and reformation? Then may Creator have mercy on his soul.
Life is hard. He will make it harder.
I do not have a computer, so I am borrowing this one to support this boycott and demand that this festival be abandoned. A celebration of a racist is wrong....no matter how it is "disguised". To continue to blindly support this festival is to be a racist. What is the point? Change it, cancel it.... Get the point!
By the way, don't respond unless ou are telling everyone the festival is dead!
Perhaps back in the days that Baum wrote his racist editorials the "social atmosphere" provided an excuse for calling for the "extermination" of my people.
What is your excuse for honoring this man? Is it still the same "social atmosphere" there in Aberdeen?
It would certainly seem so. What a shame!
signature_date: 27 October 1998
There is much comment now about the inaccuracy of our history books; it has been clear we are only willing to remember what makes us proud.
Please remember the TRUTH, and show that Frank Baum's talent for children's stories did not bring him wisdom for the time in which he lived. He had influence: he used it for evil.
It is not all we want, but TRUTH is a good place to start!
Baum's comments sound like something that would be found in Hitler's "Mien Kampf". I can not believe that anyone in this day would wish to honor such a racist.
The Director for the Baum festival has said that "historians would best be able to answer the question on how much his editorials led to the actions against the Indians". Well, Indian people happen to have historians too and we say that it does and this festival has no place in our country; it is a racist festival and needs to be known as such.
I support the effort of my brothers and sisters, to boycott the 1999 Aberdeen Festival, should the planners not agree to address the racism of Frank L. Baum. This man must not be set up as a hero and role model for American children. To do so, is to actively give approval to his blatant racism.
How can u honor a man that wants the extermination of the Lakota?? Is this only done for the dollars it might bring to your city?? If you do as a ex south dakota native i will actively support a boycott of Aberdeen
signature_date: October 17, 1998.
According to the following words whose author is L. Frank Baum :
"The Whites, by law of conquest, by justice of civilization, are masters of the American continent, and the best safety of the frontier settlements will be secured by the total annihilation of the few remaining Indians."
I definitely believe that by celebrating the memory of such a pitiful man, Aberdeen, SD, is promoting human genocide, advocating the use of force and denying all Human Rights and Indigenous Peoples' Rights. As a french citizen, I feel shocked by the idea of a Baum Festival. I assume that Aberdeen is almost ready to host a Adolf Hitler Festival and to give an exhibition of its paintings....
In Disrespect and in Disgust....
Although I do not live in the States and will not be attending the Baum Festival, I am shocked to find out that such an insensitive event is taking place in the 'democratic' USA.
It is clear that the man was a racist and I do believe that such views need not be incouraged and most certainly not celebrated.
In light of what is now common knowledge as to what happened throughout history to the Native Nations on the American continent, it's time to readress the representation of Native Americans. What kind of a message is this festival giving to the young generations who attend? Surely, there is someone out there who will see the point the Native People are making (with support from friends world wide!) and stop this abomination of an event.
signature_date: October 15, 1998
If Baum had landed in Oz, spewing all his hate and inflammatory racism, the people of Oz would've had Dorothy kill him instead of the Wicked Witch of the West. Baum was a racist, and the people of Aberdeen who promote a festival in his honor are racist as well. You have my full & enthusiastic support for a boycott.
Your continued efforts to laud a racist such as Baum, who advocated the total annihilation of First Nations people, is a direct insult to every Indian on Turtle Island. I am actively urging everyone in the tourist industry to boycott this "festival". In my opinion, Aberdeen should be honoring the original inhabitants of Aberdeen and all the surrounding land; the ones you've stolen from and assimilated and discrimated against and dishonored, the indigenous peoples of this land.
The staging of a Festival to honor Frank Baum focusing on his "Wizard of Oz" is reprehensible without acknowledgement of his other works, and the full body of his writing. His works must be viewed in the context of his full history, and the fact that he was a "cheerleader" for the Genocide which was occuring on the Great Plains at the time of his writing.
A failure to respond to his Aberdeen Editorials is a emphatic public confirmation that the current citizens of Aberdeen have no sense of history, or of their heritage. It also lends credence questions about the current state of ongoing racist attitudes in Aberdeen. This is hardly the reputation that any community would seek, in publicly promoting itself either as a viable destination for the vacationing public, or as a seat of culture and educational value.
I find your efforts to celebrate Baum's literary achievements in your city's Oz Festival to be a very misguided, distasteful and offensive proposition. I would like to let you know that I vigorously object to any such show of support for, or celebration of Mr. Baum. That he was a racist who advocated the extermination of Indigenous Peoples is best expressed in his own words in his own published writings. That this man should be celebrated is warped, indeed. To schedule a festival around his work is not only inappropriate, but vulgar.
I am certain that it has been made clear to you by my peers and elders that Frank Baum was a racist.More, one who promoted genocide. I am also certain that the comparison between Baum and Hitler was made; if Hitler had written a childrens book would we arrange a festival in his name? It is my hope that your answer would be no. I am assuming that you are not depraved only ignorant. Now that you have been properly informed, I do not understand how you can continue to make plans on your celebration. I have read the form letter that was sent out in response to many, many letters of protest and outrage, and it seems to me that you are not interested in correcting yourselves. It seems to me that you have no intention of abandoning the initial themes and goals of your festivaland yet you seem to hope to pacify and quell the outrage of the collective who have spoken truth and fact to unhearing ears. And you should be ashamed of yourselves. This Festival is not, and never was about promoting racial harmony, fostering community understanding or providing an arena in which History could be examined and learned. It was not designed to educate people about the gross and cold blooded viciousness Frank Baum was capable of. It was certainly not designed to expose the ruthless legacy of a hateful and powerful man. And this event was not planned to shed light on Wounded Knee, its causes, its brutal and chilling truth or its repercussions. This Festival was not conceived for the purpose of illuminating any other dark chapter in American History. Your festival is an effort to promote tourism, raise the cash flow in your city. A fun day for the whole family. Nothing else.
Since your festival has motives which are not educational, but financial, I have two comments. First, it is extremely inappropriate to have any sort of display which incorporates Native Americans. It is inappropriate to pretend that this is a forum for multi-cultural education. Lets be fair here: It is exploitation. Again. You cannot use the image of Native peoples for your profit. You cannot bastardize traditional dances for your gain. You will not use the story of Anna Mae or other fallen heroes to sell tickets. You will not.
Secondly: find another kid's book. Unless you are shameless enough to proceed with your initial plan, even after being informed- and you have been informedwhy dont you just find another book? Another movie? There are plenty of pop culture books, movies and characters to capitalize onwhich arent attributed to grossly racist and offensive people. You could center your Family Fun day around those. For surely you recognize that if you proceed with the Oz festival you are dismissing the crimes of its author, which people have done for years. In this sense you are reinforcing the fact that it is acceptable to ignore extreme racist attitudes in others. You give credence to the fact the in 1998 America still cannot reconcile and decry it's racist pastand still does not have to. Not only are you validating this position, but you yourselves stand to gain from cashing in on his popularity. You are guilty of a terrible wrong by turning the other cheek, and ignoring the obvious. You are guilty of spreading misinformation; because half truth bears half it weight in lies. You are culpable. You are responsible. And you know what they say: If youre not part of the solution, youre part of the problem.
It is my sincere hope that you reevaluate your position, and redirect your festival to center around something not penned by genocidal Americans. It is my hope that my peers and elders have taught you something. It is my hope that you recognize that no one is taking this lightly. It is not too late for you to change your course. If not, that I have every confidence that I will be one of many, many people who are ready and willing to change it for you.
As a once police officer on Pine Ridge Rez, it seems to me that you have been holding this festival only as another slap in the face to our People. Celebrate Oz and Baum?.....why not celebrate Hitler and Nazi Germany? Get a life. Find something meaningful to celebrate...like the those American Indians who gave their lives so you can occupy the lands you now live on.
In a day and age where it is so very politically correct to support and advocate human rights, it staggers the mind that the practice of celebrating those that supported and advocated the genocide of an entire race/culture continues.
For all the supposed literary value place upon fairy tales and make believe, how is it that the reality, the truth, the very lives of people are ignored? How can a town, a city, a community of people, in festive spirit and merriment, under the guise of education carry forth with celebration of a man that not only condoned but encouraged the extermination of a people?
The community of Aberdeen has been given opportunity to amend for the wrongs of the past, to enter into apology and work towards a new day of healing. To continue a celebration that constitutes support of such grievous action as that perpetrated by Baum without amendment is as unjust and inhumane as the writer's notion.
If the community fails to support apologetic action on behalf of Baum and continues to celebrate the man in the name of "art" I soundly support boycott of Aberdeen and any future festivities.
I give you back - and refute - the word of the racist Baum - may you hear these genocidal words echoing in your subconscious and your dreams for all time - for supporting this nightmare:
"The proud spirit of the original owners of these vast prairies inherited through centuries of fierce and bloody wars for their possession, lingered last in the bosom of Sitting Bull. With his fall the nobility of the Redskin is extinguished,and what few are left are a pack of whining curs who lick the hand that smites them. The Whites, by law of conquest, by justice of civilization, are masters of the American continent, and the best safety of the frontier settlements will be secured by the total annihilation of the few remaining Indians. Why not annihilation? Their glory has fled, their spirit broken, their manhood effaced; better that they die than live the miserable wretches that they are. History would forget these latter despicable beings, and speak, in later ages of the glory of these grand Kings of forest and plain that Cooper loved to heroism.
We cannot honestly regret their extermination, but we at least do justice to the manly characteristics possessed, according to their lights and education, by the early Redskins of America." ...L. Frank Baum
And from a deeply respected person - Jordan Dill:
"Because so much has already been said in this regard, this page is simple. It asks for support in "our" effort to insure that Baum is held accountable."
"Should members of the L. Frank Baum Festival planners NOT agree to address this RACIST, we ask for your support in a BOYCOTT of the Festival planned for 1999 in Aberdeen, South Dakota."
"I Support the Effort To Hold Baum Accountable. Should He Be Not, I Will Actively Support The Boycott of Aberdeen."
Oh! I agree!!!
How can you look once again at this verbatim quote by the racist Baum and not see it for what it is? Genocide?
First he honors the First People of this land - for so they ARE - to *this* day! And then he says that with one death of one leader, it is all gone. Ridiculous! It was not done then. It is not done now. It will never be done. The honorable First Nations of this country - who lived here for thousands upon thousands of years before anyone "discovered" them are here now and are DEEPLY offended at this celebration of this racist and of the lack of honor given to the people who have been genocided, robbed of their language, their culture, their land, their freedom and the honor they so deeply deserve. What you give out returns...this is a universal law. I - although everyone would say I am "white" - I am not white for my great grandfather's blood - a kindred to Sitting Bull - pounds in my heart every moment I live. You are tearing my heart out with this celebration. I cannot bear it! I will not only boycott this "celebration" and everyone who supports it but I ask that you do not have it! This is an insult to the People - the First People - the Fathers and Mothers BEFORE the "forefathers" of this country. You have no honor - how can I approach you!?!
Sincerely and in deep despair,
Our spirit is strong and will never die or be forgotten. But it is my sincerest of wishes that the memory of those as ignorant as L. Frank Baum be forgotten forever!
I wish you will please stop and listen to all the voices calling out to you. What are they saying? It hurts us...
Baum should be held accountable.
It is unthinkable to hold a festival in celebration of a man who called for the extermination of all First Nations Peoples. Why not hold a festival for Hitler and ignore his acts of genocide? I'm certain his contributions to the world included more than the extermination of millions of human beings. Actually, since Hitler and Baum have so much in common, why not make it a dual celebration and honor both racists in one festival?
Open your eyes, Aberdeen, and address this issue of holding Baum accountable for his actions as your current attitude toward this racist is totally unacceptable.
There is no place like home. But home is where the Heart is and without heart there can be no home.
What Frank Baum did was defile "home", Aberdeen and it's surrounding area, by killing Heart within his own people. The effect of that Heart death led to an us vs. them mentality and, a result of that was the tragic genocide of Native People.
It's imperative that retribution to the Native People be made, physically, spiritually and emotionally. If it is not done, this wound will fester between people long into future generations.
The time has come to regain Heart, to talk and to be with each other Heart to Heart; to apologize, to forgive.
Great Spirit, please help us all.
signature_date: 13 October 1998
Dear Citizens of Aberdeen,
The cat is most assuredly out of the bag and the handwriting is on the wall, I hope you can read it. The web site from which I send this message to you receives thousands of visitors every day, therefore the word is out on Aberdeen and it's inability to confront the racist words of the Baum editorials.
Why is it such a problem for you to acknowledge and speak out against these repulsive editorials? Hearing nothing to the contrary, I and many others will assume that you do not find Baum's words offensive.
If, then, you do not speak against the man who called for the elimination of an entire culture of people, then you speak for him and his murderous words while you continue to celebrate him.
Woe betide you...Aberdeen and your citizens...
Regardless of any other statements by L. Frank Baum, his racism was clear. Though he may have been voicing the common opinion of his day, THAT opinion led to the near extinction of our Peoples.Place it in today's context and see if he can still be excused.
This is an occupied land and ours is a captive People.
signature_date: 12 October 1998
The stones of the Road to Oz are laid over the bones, blood and lands of my People. The arrogance, racist attitude and genocidal views of this Baum person are rivaled only by those of Hitler and the Nazis. This country of the free, welcoming the "poor, the tired, the hungry" is built on theft, lies, deceit and murder of the Peoples of the First Nations of this land. We are not dead, weak, frightened curs licking the hands of those who smite us, we are proud, angry, normally peaceful Peoples who will stand up to this racist diatribe, this racist community, and this arrogant and racist government.
What goes around will definately come around to visit the enclaves of Klan thought and behavior. I, personally, am anxiously awaiting the day when the First Nations Peoples of this land rise up to recover all that has been stolen from us.
Hokahey! It is a good day to die!
With the year 2000 quickly approaching, it is my hope that the residents of Aberdeen will choose to re-think this Baum festival and it's goals. To celebrate and honor the life of a man with such racist ideas and thinking is a step backward.
The past cannot be erased. Baum's racist editorials will forever be a testimony to the backward and inhumane thinking of his time. In spite of the temporary tourist dollars that this festival may raise, the community of Aberdeen has the oppurtunity to make a change and be remembered for the actions they choose to take now in this present time.
Doing the right thing, taking a stand against racism or injustice is difficult and not without some amount of sacrifice, but don't our future generations deserve this?
Our children, our hope for the future, judge us by our actions, not by what we say. History remembers....Here is the chance for the community of Aberdeen to be remembered and have something to really celebrate.... a step taken to wipe out racism, oppression, and the "extermination of the Redskin" as Baum wrote.
signature_date: Oct. 12, 1998
Baum must be held accountable. Any "festival" that takes place should include a complete reading of all the racist statements he made; as well as a discussion about the racist viewpoints that he held.
Please open your ears and your hearts to these issues. This apology is LONG overdue and is the least that can be done.
signature_date: October 12, 1998
I feel the best thing for everyone involved in this 'tribute to a racist' is to do away with it altogether. If you truly want to help with the education and understanding of Native Americans, then why not take the money allocated for this "festival/tribute" and provide food and shelter to the many, many Native Americans there locally. Or why not use this money to sponser a true day of learning, by asking Native Americans to share their *American* experiences past and present with you. Surely this money could be put to better use. I equate this activity to the same thing as having a "David Duke" day becuase he's a supposed visionary. Visionary or not let's call a racist a racist.
To the people of Aberdeen, South Dakota who support this festival, I guess there is really nothing much to say. You know what has been done to your Indian neighbors and still you support a man who is the epitome of a racist monster. When I think of him, other names come to mind, Hitler, Stalin, Columbus, all have a thread that binds them. They were all narrow minded little bigots with the extreme luck of circumstance that sped them on their way to infamy. Will you be holding celebrations to honor these people too? I may be one drop in the bucket but I have many friends, and connections. We will be working to see that all across the continent, people know of your dirty little secret and many will boycott. The only time you seem to understand is when it hits you in your pockets.
Why celebrate this racist. Is there nothing else Aberdeen can "claim" to put them on the map? Just because someone is "famous" there should not be a celebration based on a racist who condones and promoted genocide. Why not celebrate Adolf Hitler? Think about it.
What better day than this, "Columbus Day," to voice protestation of the continued denial of America's genocidal past as embodied, in part, by contemporary celebrations of such virulent historical propagandists as Frank L. Baum. While it would be the most extreme understatement to suggest that Baum was somehow singular regarding his historical genocidal proferrings, the continued popularity of his work, particularly among children and manifest in celebrations like those being held in Aberdeen, warrant all of the negative attention that this "festival" has received or is about to receive. Like so many others of his time, Baum contributed to an atmosphere accepting of or complicit with the American genocide, not at all unlike notorious historical figures such as Julius Streicher of "Jewish denigration" fame. And what is worse, modern historians and Baum revelers perpetuate the genocidal process by either outrightly denying his role or by downplaying either the influence, motivation, or vociferousness of work such as his.
Again, as writers like Ward Churchill so frequently suggest, this sort of activity, it can reasonably be imagined, is precisely what might be expected of neonazi historians if Germany had won WWII. It is, in fact, precisely the project of extremist neonazi historians at present, though their influence and credibility, it can be argued, is somewhat lessened by Hitler's defeat. The motivation for such protest, quite simply, is to finally reveal the truth about America's genocidal history and to arrest the current ongoing genocidal assaults on Indians and other indigenous populations worldwide, and, ultimately, to prevent future holocaust. To underestimate the role of writers like Baum is to perpetuate genocide.
signature_date: 12 October 1998
I find this Baum worshipping by Aberdeen extremely repulsive. First, I will not hesitate informing as many people as possible about this. Second, I will ask schools in Europe, as well as the U.S., to banish all Baum books from their libraries. The road to Oz is slippery with blood! Third, I fully support a boycott of Aberdeen as long as this city continues to worship and celebrate a man who preached genocide. By celebrating him, you show racism is alive in Aberdeen.
Racism is forbidden by U.S. laws as well as international laws. If Aberdeen should decide to ignore the protests of people who object to this Baum circus, then we will probably see you one day at the International Court of Human Rights...
To Whom It May Concern: It has come to my attention that you are holding a fevistal that not only suuports but seemingly expounds on Frank Baum, a known racist who supported/encouraged the genocidal efforts of First Nations people.
Whatever literary merits Mr. Baum may have, in no way exhonerates him from the clearly evident racial tactics he encouraged, supported, made editorial reference to in regards to the destruction of, annialation of the Lakota Nation, for which I am a part of.
In no way do I support such a festival, such a celebration of this man whose attitudes, and editorial comments supported, called for wanton hate, disregard, and genocidal tactics. We, the Lakota Nation, have not been annihilated, we have not been destroyed, we have not been wantonly extinguished by Mr. Baum, this wasichu mentality of divide and conquer. We are here. I find any celebration of such a racist as Frank Baum is to be diplorable, and indicative of the Aberdeen mentality that surely must be present if the good people of Aberdeen so wish to celebrate such a "founding father" such as this egocentric, racist, writer who perpetuated racial slur and white supremist attitudes through his children's story, "The Wizard of Oz." I challenge you to re-evaluate the purpose of such a celebnative festival in honor of this man. If you so wish to perpetuate such a racial mentality, then perhaps a celebration of Custer might be right up your alley. Or perhaps you would like to have a celebration of Hitler. There is no decided difference between Hitler or Baum, in my opinion. Therefore for you to celebrate and/or encourage the festival for Baum, you are in effect holding a celebration for Adolph Hitler.
If the community of Aberdeen is truly and actually desiring any form of reconcilliation between First Nation's people and those whites that do reside there now, it would behoove you to cease this festival that celebrates Baum and his racial dictoms, and focus a festival on true issues of reconcilliation between First Nation and whites. To focus on Baum is to further racial inequalities, injustices, and denegration. Any celebration of Frank Baum is a perpetuation of racial injustice. Any celebration/festival related to Frank Baum does not address racial genocidal issues, and until such issues are addressed honestly, directly in relation to the people who existed prior to Aberdeen's existence, the Lakota people, is a greater fantasy world than the "Wiz" ever was. It is time for the good people of Aberdeen to wake up tot he realities of what Frank Baum perpetuated in his editorials, to not celebrate his momentary fleeting accomplishments, but address his truer attides of racial genocide of the Lakota Nation. To ignore such an important aspect of this man's life, his work, and his efforts, will do nothing more than perpetuate the racial injustices, genocide that Baum so powerfully advocated for.
On behalf of my father, my grandfather, and the Lakota Nation that I come from, I strongly request that you do not hold this Baum festival at all, and that if you truly wish to correct the problematic, genocidal attitudes that Baum perpetuated in his time, then direct your attentions to his true nature of being a racist, one who perpetuated cultural, political, and national genocide of the Lakota People. Please cease this festival and it's ridiculous excuse for a celebration now if you do wish true actually healing, resolution to occur between you and the Lakota/First Nation's people. However, if the good people of Aberdeen are as racist as Frank Baum, desiring to eradicate the Lakota people as Baum did, then by all means, do continue to support this racist. Perhaps in a court of law, such discrimination will not be looked upon with much favor towards these so called "good people" of Aberdeen. At the very least, I can certainly encourage absolutely every single person I know going to South Dakota to avoid this racial city of Aberdeen, and if this is the only way to boycot you and this festival, Frank Baum , then I will devote all effort possible to effect your "tourist" trade.
I visited South Dakota twice this year, and passed through Aberdeen on both trips. I would not stop in my travels through your town because if you are promoting a racist like Baum, you are capable of the types of things going on in Rapid City, or what went on in the deep south in the early 60's. Racisim is hard to deal with in people like you, because you insist that you are right, and are not at all racist, it's just that you worship a racist. The KKK would feel right at home there. You have an excellent spokesperson in Barbara Johnson however. She makes it very clear that it is a question of racist people doing what they like best, and to hell with what anyone else thinks. When asked about an apology to the Lakota people for what Baum said, and what happened right after - Wounded Knee 1890 - she said; "I'm sorry... we have nothing to apologize for." That pretty mush spells out the racist attitude that I see in your little corner of the world. In my little corner of the world, I will be busy telling everyone I know to stay the hell away from Aberdeen!
The U.S. Government should be tried for war crimes against the Native American People. It's actions cannot be defended on any level. To celebrate this man in any fashion would be like celebrating Hitler for bringing his country a better economy.
signature_date: October 12, 1998
I recently read the Book The Lost Bird of Wounded Knee which described the massacre and how this baby was found under her mother's body after a 3 day blizzard. I could envision the young woman gasping in pain, blood pouring from her wounds yet digging the positioning herself over her child to shield it. This book also described the actions of the Home Guard, white ranchers and cowboys who days before the massacre were killing Indian people in order to goad them to war. This all actually happened. It is history, not some fantasy of "political correctness." That Frank Baum, author of the Wonderful Wizard of Oz could wish such butchery on other people reveals and evil which was widespread at the time. This is an evil that can only happen when the other people are not recognized as fellow human beings. To Baum, there could only be "the noble savage" or "whining curs." Not mothers, children, babies, fathers, brothers, grandmother or grandfathers.
That racism still exists in South Dakota means that the evil has not been exorcised. The genocidal mindset, begun with the pilgrims still lives. It should be time for the descendants of the European settlers to recognize the evil wrought on the Indian people, and seek reconciliation. Frank Baum needs to be examined as to how it is possible to call for mass murder while also writing fairy tales? It is most inexplicable that one of the these of his work is the tolerance of diversity. I hope the organizers of the festival will have the courage and moral integrity to to recognize the evil done at Wounded Knee and Frank Baum's hand in it.
As a member of the Indigenous People in this country I do not feel that Baum should be honored with a festival. He reqested the Genocide of Native Americans and campaigned for it. We do not honor Hitler, Stalin, or any other Maniac why should we do so now because he is an author. Many of us lost people in the Washita and Wounded Knee. The pain is still in our hearts. Understand this and that these wounds may never heal. Such a festival only increases the pain we feel and makes it grow.
signature_date: 12 Oct 1998
Baum is one of my favorite writers. And I had given though of going to the Oz festival one day. But I will not until some acknowledgement is made about these editorials.
signature_date: 12 Oct 98
To the City of Aberdeen and State of South Dakota:
As a small child, living in England, I certainly knew who The Wizard of Oz was. But, if any had asked me where South Dakota was, I would not have known, and would certainly would not have known the sinister link between an author of children's tales and a proponant of genocide.
At any age, it is a shock to learn the author of children's tales not only haboured extreme racist opinions, but also published them, along with calls for the eradication of the Lakota Nation, in a South Dakota newspaper at the time when First Nations Peoples all over the Continent were fighting, backs against the wall, against extinction.
In recent months I have learned that there is a "Festival" held in the town of Aberdeen where Baum published his newspaper. From what I can discern, the object is to "honour" his contribution to the late 19th and early 20th century America.
The question that I have for you is this: The Oz Story not withstanding, and given the hard evidence available, is it by this man's words and genocidal encouragements that you would like your State and Town to be known across the world?
I have spoken to many people here in England who did not even know who wrote the Wizard of Oz. When I've said "this man wrote this kiddies tales - but, he also wrote this...." and added the exhortations to murder in his paper, the reactions have been of shock. Those reactions turned to disgust when I have further added that there is a "Festival" to celebrate his life.
The people I have spoken to, to gauge reactions to Baum, are your potential tourists, money spenders that add to the wealth of your State. Should those tourists care to look at this "Festival", to look at Mount Rushmore, and to then go look at the poverty on the Native American Reservations, what impressions would you imagine that they take back across the globe with them?
As the world turns into the 21st Century, and at a time when there really does seem to be more and more efforts being made to address racism and to address past and present injustices, slow painful steps, where do you feel that the glorification of Frank Baum fits into the image by which, I have no doubt, you would like your State to be viewed?
I respectfully ask you to think again about the "Festival", and, if you feel that it must go ahead, then to insert somewhere in the programme, an unreserved apology to The Lakota Nation for the words of Frank Baum that helped to fan the flames of genocide.
Thank you for your attention.
How can anyone with any amount of compassion in their heart support Braum, when he has inflected these disgraceful words towards the nation's first people? I can not prove my heritage but my Great-Grandfather was a Blackfoot and Cherokee Indian, for which I am very proud to be a part of these proud people. To say these hateful words shows lack of respect to any man, woman or child that has, or is walking on these lands. Braum's words are daggers of racism that mars the memory of my Great Grandfather and my people. I shall not support him and his kind by joining, and I will do all that I can to spread the word to boycott this festival as well.
signature_date: October 12, 1998
Much that is harmful that has been done is in the name of "progress". What Baum was say- ing about Native People was surely in the name of progress....to get on with building this great country of ours get "them" out of the way.
"Progress" is a joke. It is used to pave over farmland for an interstate. It is used to con- done the building of some filthy polluting factory in a neighborhood. It always says "more jobs, larger tax base, an easier life for all". What it means is more money in the pocket of those "in the know" who can get in on the ground floor of a land deal or be on the board for a consulting fee. "Progress is the name for making a money - and not money for the truly needy at that.
"Progress" is advancement in whose eyes? The festival tourist dollars and grants are to make "progress" for your town, it are they not? So show off your city, attract industry, build some more monuments to an avowed racist to impress those "in the know" that they might invest some of their $$$ in Aberdeen. And the com- munity leaders (who are involved in civic pride) will be "in the know" too when that new road or factory comes to town.
For this, you are prepared to defend a man who promoted killing a race of people, the original inhabitants of Aberdeen. I have head the say- ing "anything for a buck". I think you people have a hit a new low here. And for all the sputtering and denial that this is not so, just think about it......you are all for "progress".
signature_date: Oct. 12, 1998
To Whom it May Concern:
It is, in my view, unconscionable that an attempt to sweep Baum's racist editorials "under the rug" is being made by those who would promote the Aberdeen community via a festival celebrating Baum's literary contributions. To conveniently overlook this aspect of Baum's personality and career is both academically and ethically disingenuous.
As a founding chairman of my city's Task Force on Tourism and the creator of a tourism development plan that continues to be implemented in my community, I feel I can speak with some degree of authority on matters relative to the tourism industry. Therefore, when I suggest that the prospect of a boycott of Aberdeen does not bode well for the Aberdeen community and South Dakota, I hope that such words are taken seriously.
One way or another, the truth will eventually come out. Accordingly, I strongly urge all concerned to do the right thing and take the necessary steps which will ensure that this aspect of Baum's life and times is not forgotten or glossed over.
Thank you for your consideration.
signature_date: October 12, 1998
The Baum festival clearly is an attempt to capture tourist dollars by honoring a man whose real legacy is murder, genocide and noterity. I'm sure Aberdeen can find something or someone better to honor...if not, what it has to say about the city is.....all people of good will, stay away from Aberdeen.
signature_date: Oct. 12, 1998
Baum must be held accountable. Any "festival" that takes place should include a complete reading of all the racist statements he made; as well as a discussion about the racist viewpoints that he held.
signature_date: October 11, 1998
To All concerned,
I am shocked and appalled that people in todays society condone a celebration of someone who openly supported the extermination of an entire race. Not only do you support but it appears that a blind eye and a deaf ear are also being turned. In this society of today where we are a multicultural society other minorities and cultures are going to pick up the cry for retribution for the first nations people. This is not a statement meaning using whatever means and underhanded ways that so many people use. But that the laws and rules that those who lied and stole from the FN will one day apply to us all and we will utilize the law to the fullest. I support 100% this cause.
Respectfully I hope you will do the right thing.
To Whom this May concern;
I run an online news service and have spread information concerning this boycott to several thousand people. I would advise an apology be forthcoming concerning this genocidal son of your community.
signature_date: October 11, 1998
If this festival were simply dedicated to the "Wizard of Oz" then such a protest would not be so important. However, since this festival is named in honor of the man, it is only appropriate that it be dedicated to the entire man, warts and all. Racism is an attitude about society and the human race that is both repulsive and unacceptable in a nation founded on the premise that all men are created equal. I urge the promoters of this festival to state the words that one would hope Mr Baum would utter, were he alive today and aware of the total situation that affects modern Native Americans.
signature_date: October 11, 1998
Baum's racist position and genocidal urgings are not a small local issue to be kept swept under the rug by Aberdeenians. It is a national disgrace, a continuing insult of great magnitude. Address it directly, publicly, and honestly in the next annual Baum festival, or, if unwilling to do so, permanently discontinue the charade.
signature_date: 11 October 1998
If the issue of the brutal advocacy of Baum for the extermination of the First Nations is NOT addressed by the board and programme of the so called "Oz Festival", I will ACTIVELY support the boycott of the Oz Festival and Aberdeen.
To ALL those involved in this "Festival" ( ? ):
I, as a Native American, of Choctaw and Cherokee descent, do hereby voice my disgust and outrage that you can even begin to consider a " cele- bration ", of any sort!, of a man who was so very blatantly Racist !!
If you do not immediately address the issues of his racism, and take to task the APOLOGIES needed towards his intended victims, not only will I work to BOYCOTT your little "festival", in the State of Florida, I will also call for a group to accompany me to the State of South Dakota, and ACTIVELY PROTEST, so all who may be attending and are unaware of Mr. Baum's TRUE colours,will be made acutely aware of them. Not only that, but they will also be made aware that the committee organizing this festival was made aware of this very important issue, and instead of addressing it MONTHS IN ADVANCE, saw fit to close their eyes in favor of bringing in tourism and dollars. By the way, you can thank one of your committee members for bringing this to my attention. While Ms. Barbara Johnson made me aware of this festival, she also made it quite clear that she and the City of Aberdeen thought more of their StoryBook Land than they do of Native Americans. What a very sad thing for me to hear. Yes, Dorothy, racism is alive and well.... in Aberdeen, South Dakota.
Please, ladies, and gentlemen, rethink your position, and help heal these gaping wounds.
signature_date: october 11 1998
this is inexcusable.... how dare you.... celebrate this racist man's life and dismiss a terrifyingly inhumane part of him... you need to learn compassion, integrity, and humanness
There can be no healing between the citizens of Aberdeen and American Indians as long as you hold this festival celebrating a racist man who said we cannot regret their extermination. Shame on your town for this kick in the face to all American Indians.
I am shocked and amazed that any city in this Nation would memorialize a man, L Frank Baum, who was an admitted racist, who called for the extermination of a whole race of human beings. This is advocating genocide, for which other people have been brought before courts of law and sentenced for "crimes against humanity." L Frank Baum does not deserve your civic commemoration. The Baum Festival should be terminated immediately, and replaced with a day honoring the survivors of the attempted annihilation which he espoused.
Now is the time to bring the past to light. Now is the time to acknowledge what the man has published and what it did to promote the ill will that was felt by the Native American's in the area.
signature_date: October 11, 1998
A festival based on the name of a racest who was commmitted to the destuction of the Native American People in your area will not be tolerated please review, and renew your consciences on this matter.
signature_date: Oct 11, 1998
I cannot imagine celebrating a racist spewing such ugly ideas as the articles he wrote regarding the Native Americans. I cannot imagine that the planners of such a festival could so blithely just ignore the man and his sentiments.
signature_date: October 11, 1998
I support the FNs effort to hold Baum and the festival planning committee accountable... lay all the cards on the table and let the public judge for themselves...
While the argument is frequently presented that the descendants of "evil-doers" should not be held responsible for the sins of their ancestors -- I say to you, Aberdeenians, that the celebration of the life and philosophy of Frank Baum makes YOU equally the racist that he was.
Though the United State military was the instrument of destruction and thievery that was inflicted on the original inhabinants of the prairie where the town of Aberdeen now sits, the hatred that flowed from the pen of those like Frank Baum gave the army the "ammunition" to purse and destroy the Great Lakota Nation.
You, Aberdeen, are the benefactors of that legacy of hate and death. It is YOUR responsibility to do what you can to atone for the atrocities commited by your ancestorslet the world know Frank Baum for what he was and discard the festival which honors him.
Baum Petition Responses 1997
Rescind the medals of dis-Honor
Dr. Wagner's Testimony Regarding the Massacre at Wounded Knee
Wounded Knee Home Page
First Nations Cumulative Index
Please provide an opinion as to this site and