This is a somewhat unusual commentary on an award of sorts. Please read this information and pass it on wherever you think it might possibly do some good. If you run or make educational use of a Native website, you might want to share with them the absolute incongruity of linking to the Tribal Voice website.
Point Communications -- picked this [my] site among the "top 5%" of educational web pages. Point's selections -- top presentation, top content, top experience, and just plain tops -- are reviewed, with short descriptions. Their database of picks is well-organized and searchable by keywords. I was happy about this honor (because I put in thousands of hours working on these pages).
That was before I discovered Point has picked as a top Native culture site Tribal Voice, which is a commercial venture owned by a 100% white corporation, that desecrates several major Indian religions in the guise of a "Warrior game". It includes a twisted Heyoka who picks disgusting scatological and porno sites as examples of Indian humor. (Lakotas think Heyokas are sacred, not twisted perverts.)
Our Sacred Pipe, sweat lodge, cedar, tobacco, all of our most important symbols, ceremonies, objects, places are not just exploited but desecrated, trashed, by this Tribal Voice corporation, which spent hundreds of thousands of dollars preparing its commercial site, but has advertised itself all over the web as "Native Culture."
Here is some email between myself and John McAfee, founder of McAfee Associates, Inc., which does big business in network and security software. McAfee founded Tribal Voice with a self-funded educational charitable trust -- a tax dodge.
Here is a photo of the allegedly Native staff, dressed up ho-ho-ho as militaristic miltia freak-geeks. McAfee's picture isn't among them, but with a variety of normal InterNet Fingering, I was able to ID the rest as Tribal Voice -- and several also as apparently current McAfee Associates -- employees, on the respective corporate networks of each corporation.
Here is the start of what you'll get if you click on "About Tribal Voice" on their main menu. It leads to what might be called the religious descration game. A bit complicated, to appeal to game computer potatoes, so...
The Power and Magic After some dead ends, you come to where those of us who feel sacred Pipes are in fact sacred, and sweats are purifications can start to really feel bad. Make all the right twists and turns, maybe you can win a Warrior T-shirt with a sacred Pipe on it.
The Tribal Voice Yuppie Catalog has something to offend just about every major Native religion.
Heyokas are sacred "backwards clowns" for Lakota religious people. They are not sinister, twisted perversions like this. But the function of the Tribal Voice "Heyoka" is much worse. "Our Heyoka" supposedly picks Bizarre sites for your -- and your kids' -- surfing pleasure.
A list of past Tribal Voice Heyoka picks Some have moved -- and improved. For example, Bianca's Daily Dump site in its new location now also features Bianca's Masturbation Handbook and Bianca's Bathroom Graffiti, in addition to the original Bianca's Toilet. Then there's: Rat Feces Publishing; Objects Taken from Men's Rectums; Museum Maximum Vomitus; The Bare Bottom Boys; it's just what you'd like your kids to be touted onto, no? And it desecrates a Native religious figure, and suggests to the general public that this is Native humor, too. Presumably non-Indian parents don't mind that, though, eh? Bcause this thing -- Tribal Voice -- is linked-to all over th place (on education sites, on genuine 100% solid skin Native sites) -- as Native American culture, as Multicultural Education resource, etc.
OK, now I've been getting some Canadian emails saying It's on Canada SchoolNet's Native page of Aboriginal Links!!! This puzzled me because they did link it within the SchoolNet Native section when they were getting started; they had a number of links they really didn't examine. They removed it as soon as they were permitted to, at least after I had made a couple of nasty remarks about that in an early version of this editorial. The Native subcontractors are not -- or at the beginning of 1966 were not -- permitted direct access and manipulation of the web pages they're responsible for. When they said they took it off I, the suspicious, cynical type, immediately checked, and it was gone, around February of this year.
I recently discovered what the problem is -- why some of you who made links or bookmarks to that page of Aboriginal links are still finding it. This is because the old file -- named usalinks.html is still right there, in the same subdirectory. Your old links or bookmarks still pull it right up. They altered their main menu-link so it now pulls a new file named links.html, which is in the same subdirectory. But anyone with bookimarks (or on their own school web page, a link) that was created prior to February 1996 will still pull the original usalinks.html file, complete with Tribal Voice (and many deadlinks). Change your URL for SchoolNet's Aboriginal Links page to http://www.schoolnet.ca/est/aboriginal/links.html.
Don't blame the Native subcontractors for this. They seem to have been given an impossible job with not enough resources and not the simplest kind of access you have to have, direct access, to manage your particular pages. The prime contractor, Ingenia, filters everything. The Native subcontractor is responsible for getting reserve schools wired up, people trained -- and Native SchoolNet section content. I don't think they have enough staff, or money, to really carry out all those tasks.
Ingenia, the prime SchoolNet contractor, and Industry-Canada (government agency), the funder, have started a new service called Digital Collections. Developers are paid to produce these, and receive extensive training and help from Ingenia. Training of young Canadians or start-ups appears to be a major reason for Industry-Canada's financial backing. Though 3 of these nice new educational collections posted so far are Native (art, literature, culture), no Native developers are involved, or recieved any of this training and development funding from Industry Canada (which is all gone for this year).
The main (non-Indian) part of SchoolNet does seem to want to use the commercial software Powwow, put out by Tribal Voice, Inc. (Use of Powwow requires registration at the Tribal Voice website on their corporate net's database, and permanent inclusion within the database of Powwow users Tribal Voice is building, as well as automatic user access to their web pages). A French Multimedia SchoolNet course was taught this spring using the Powwow software. I heard that SchoolNet courses involving web museum tours using the Tribal Voice Powwow software are planned. (Schools with Macs cannot take part; personally I think this is good.) The Native subcontractors have nothing to do with any of this.
Can't do anything about those tout services like PointCom -- those edu-multcult pages, etc. But if you're Indian and you have a web site, I think it's quite disgraceful for you to link Tribal Voice, just because it pretends to be Indian and has flash pages. If you're a teacher or parent who does find it on educational, mult-cult pages, as Native American educational resources, and you don't think what you saw when you checked out the Tribal Voice links I provided above is all that nice for kids, let 'em know. Some people might possibly even think that trashing Native religions, culture, history, etc., isn't all that kewell, and is the wrong kind of cultural education. The tout services and big web indexes represent tens of millions of users -- they don't care about the small number of Native Americans online, what we might feel or say to them. They are going to continue to enshrine Tribal Voice as a top-quality example of Native American culture. It's a multi- million dollar outfit, Tribal Voice, Inc., backed by an even bigger one, McAfee Associates, Inc. (network security software -- sells a lot to the U.S. government).
But maybe we could at least do something about all the education pages that carry links to Tribal Voice as a Native American cultural education resource. Whenever you see it, write the webmaster an email.. Tell 'em to check it out.
Nothing anonymous about these remarks. I put those Tribal Voice links there so you can check it out, what I said, only after thinking it over more than a year -- but I'm not going to leave them once the 1996 school year begins.
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