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AMERICAN INDIAN MOVEMENT GRAND GOVERNING COUNCIL

MINISTRY FOR INFORMATION
P.O. Box 13521
Minneapolis MN 55414
612/ 721-3914 . fax 612/ 721-7826
Email: aimggc@worldnet.att.net
Web Address: www.aimovement.org


AIM Statement on 1968:The Year that Rocked the World

January 17, 2012


The American Indian Movement Grand Governing Council, and the National Coalition on Racism in Sports and Media object to the ďThe CorralĒ a 10-minute play written by Rhiana Yazzie that is included in ď1968: The Year that Rocked the WorldĒ directed by Ron Peluso, Director of the Minnesota History Theatre that, in part, discusses the American Indian Movement in the early days. After a meeting with the director of the history theatre, Ron Peluso, and the playwright, Rhianna Yazzie, and members of the American Indian Movement this weekend, there has been no solution to the idea of changing some of the dialogue that is historically inaccurate, sometimes vulgar, and more than a few times, banal.

The scene takes place outside the Corral bar on Franklin Avenue in 1968. The characters are two Native men who are being arrested by the Minneapolis police and are handcuffed to a street lamp on December 24th. While a more meaningful scene might have been selected, the controversy stems from the use of real names in what family members see as a derogatory portrayal of real people who stood up against brutality, and racism. Native people have suffered with addictions and social problems as a result of genocide, thereby also suffering from being beaten by the police and wrongfully arrested. This is not a laughing matter. The seriousness of our situation comes through once in a awhile in the play, but much of that is lost on the bad dialogue. Further, a historical glimpse into an organization like the American Indian Movement is a great undertaking, and the magnitude of the that era and the impact of the American Indian Movement on the entire world has not been captured.

After a three-hour meeting between Ron Peluso, Director of History Theatre, Rhianna Yazzie, and Clyde Bellecourt, National Director of the American Indian Movement in October of last year, an agreement was made with Ron Peluso that no script would be approved until another meeting took place between these three people. That was never done.

We are attaching the script and hoping that you will send emails and/or phone calls to Ron Peluso, RPeluso@historytheatre.com Artistic Director of the Minnesota History Theatre in St. Paul, Minnesota, 651-292-4325 and voice your concerns.


The Script (Original Version):

THE CORRAL, a Ten Minute Play by Rhiana Yazzie

Setting: 1968 Franklin Avenue, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December 24, 1968.

At Rise: Two white male police officers in a tight light look up at the moon.

OFFICER ONE
You know what weíre missing tonight?

OFFICER TWO
Christmas Eve?

OFFICER ONE

No. This is a historic night, NASA is orbiting the moon and weíre fucking with these goddamn prairie niggers again. Why canít you stay on your reservation?! Goddamn drunks!

The light expands and music bumps up and plays LOUD, Magic Carpet Ride by Steppenwolf underscores a tense moment. We can now see two Indian men handcuffed to a streetlamp on Franklin Avenue. The officers kick and punch the handcuffed men. A host of obscenities follow each blow.

EDGAR
I wasnít drinking! Fucking pigs!

MOON
Get off me!

EDGAR
Let me go!

OFFICER ONE

Weíll be back for you, soon as we book these Squaws in the back seatÖ

OFFICER TWO
Ögonna take Ďem downtown.

OFFICER ONE
They didnít fit into the paddy wagonÖ

OFFICER TWO
Now we got to give them personal service.

(The police laugh.)

EDGAR

Personal service? What the fuck? Where are you going?! Aw, fuck. Come back! What the fuck is happening? Theyíre not going to do what it sounds like they are? Are they? Are they?

MOON
Youíre handcuffed to a street lamp, numb nuts. What else you expect of Minneapolisí finest when it comes to Indians?

EDGAR
Donít leave us here! Aw shit. Shit! Now what do we do? Now what do we do?

MOON
One more game, one more game I kept telling myself. On a winning streak. Had to play just one more game in there at that Corral. Shoulda known better.

EDGAR
Least you have an excuse. Iím not even from here. I donít even go to bars back home.

MOON
Welcome to Minneapolis. Franklin Avenue. (he shivers) Cold.

EDGAR
Hey! Come back here! Assholes! Fuck, fuck! Damn itís cold! Leaving us out here?!

MOON
Shoulda brought gloves.

EDGAR
I had some mittens but theyíre in there, on the floor of the Corral.

MOON
Mittens? Iíd kick my own ass if I got caught wearing mittens.

EDGAR
Arenít you cold, asshole?

MOON
No. Iím pissed, I lost another fucking tooth! Itís probably on the floor by your mittens.

EDGAR
It must be minus ten!

(beat)

MOON

At least we werenít dumped in the river.

EDGAR

What do you mean?

MOON
What do you mean, ďwhat do I mean?Ē Just wait till those pigs come back. How can you not know they throw us skins in the river? Iím getting to think your rez must be a paradise. Where you from? Ainít got fuzz there?

EDGAR
Yeah. We got em too. Tacoma. Washington State troopers. Fish and Game. You name it.

MOON
Whatcha doin out here, then? Vision quest at the Corral? No, I look too slick for that. I bet youíre just another lost Indian on Government Relocation.

EDGAR
Relocation, please. I didnít fall for that one: sending Indians from the rez to the big city on Uncle Samís dime! An Indian canít have a BM without the government dictating where it should happen, if it should happen, how long, what color, and how it smells!

MOON
Ok. Never heard it put like that before.

EDGAR
There hasnít been a generation of us yet that hasnít had the US Governmentís hand in everything tiny piece of our lives. Thatís why Iím here. Iíve heard stories, something different is happening here.

MOON
At the Corral?! Man! You came to the wrong place!

EDGAR
Thought I came to the only place.

MOON
Only place that doesnít have a ďNo Dogs, No IndiansĒ sign. Only place thatíll serve us.

EDGAR
Lookin for help.

MOON
Me too. I was just lookin to make some dough from a few cribbage games. Guess I didnít duck out in time enough Ďfore the pigs showed up. Guess I ainít playing Santa tonight. I didnít think them cops would be cold blooded enough to be out on Christmas Eve, their own damn holiday.

EDGAR
Me, I was hoping they had a tv in there. You know theyíre sending living pictures of the Moon tonight?

MOON
Oh, yeah? You thought there was a tv in the Corral!? (he laughs) Look at you, youíre one of those bourgeois type educated Indians? I bet you never had a nose bleed in your life before. Like I said ďWelcome to Minneapolis.Ē

(They both look up at a sliver of the moon.)

MOON
Whatís your name?

EDGAR
Edgar. You?

MOON
Moon.

EDGAR
Serious?

MOON
Yeah.

EDGAR
Really?

MOON
Uh, huh.

EDGAR
So you ainít on your moon, are ya Moon? Might be too powerful for meÖ

MOON
AssholeÖ

EDGAR

Ö to be standing right here next to you! Huh, Moon?!! (laughing)

MOON
Like I never heard that before.

EDGAR
Oh, well, nice to meet you, anyway, Moon!

MOON
The pleasure is all mine. Boozhoo.

EDGAR
Mucho gusto.

MOON
Enchante.

(BOTH)

Aye!!!!!

(They both laugh a bit.)

MOON
So you a salmon eater, then?

EDGAR
Yep. On good days. Iím Puyallup. Timber cutter.

MOON
Oh yeah? Us too.

EDGAR

Damn, whatíd I give for even a hack saw right now.

MOON
Heck yeah! I know!
(they laugh a moment)
Me, Iím. Anishinabe.

EDGAR
Groovy. Rice eater?

MOON
Ever, yeah!

EDGAR
How the hell do you stand this cold?

MOON
Itís in our blood. Itís home.

EDGAR
Itís cold.

MOON
Ever.

EDGAR

Probably warmer up there on the moon, huh Moon?

(They both look up again.)

MOON

Hey, Edgar, know why the white man is trying to go to the moon?

EDGAR

Why?

MOON

Cause he thinks Indians have land up there too!

EDGAR

Shheee!

MOON

Theyíll never own this Moon.

(They laugh for a moment again staring up at the moon. Then laughter subsides. A wind gusts. Edgar shivers. He pulls at his cuffs and kicks the street lamp.)

MOON
Youíre making it worse. You couldnít take on a cop, I doubt you can take on that street lamp.

EDGAR
Where did the rest of them go?

MOON
Those in the paddy wagon?

EDGAR
Downtown?

MOON
Hopefully, but the river first probably.

EDGAR
What do you mean the river?

MOON
Do you know which cops are faster? Saint Paul or Minneapolis?

EDGAR

What?

MOON
Come, on. Which are faster?

EDGAR
I donít know.

MOON

Minneapolis, their cars also got Injuns in the trunk. Getís them to the river faster. Unload our brothers and sisters beat em and dump em in the Mississippi.

EDGAR
Holy shit! Is that what weíre waiting here for?

MOON

Probably.

EDGAR
Oh, god. I wasnít even drinking! (looking up) You hear that, moon?! I donít drink!

MOON
Which Moon you talkin to? Me or her?

EDGAR
Donít matter at this point. Oh, god. Oh, Jesus. Oh, Christ.

MOON
You religious?

EDGAR
Apparently. What a way to end the year.

MOON
It wasnít all bad.

EDGAR
Are you kidding me? Not a good year for the Indian. But then again, is any year?

MOON
It wasnít all bad.

EDGAR
Not all bad? I got two brothers, uncles, cousins, all in jail. Fishing. Trying to eat to live. Indian tribes being terminated, land being taken away to make National parks, back home white folks hunting Indians, saying they want the river to run red with our blood. Nebraskaís got a bounty on Indians, get paid for every Indian arrested. And here in Minneapolis, Iím handcuffed to a goddamn streetlamp!

MOON
Youíre negative you know that? I can tell youíre prone to dwell on the bad stuff.

EDGAR
Kinda hard not to given the circumstance!

MOON
You canít try?

EDGAR
You give me something. Name one good thing.

MOON
I got an honorable discharge from the army, ainít going back to Vietnam.

EDGAR
Thatís great, man.

MOON
Iím having a second babyósecond as far as I know, I was stationed in Japan for a couple months, aye!ó and I won $10 from cribbage tonight!

EDGAR
So what about the rest of us?

MOON
Itís gonna get better.

EDGAR
Itís gonna get better? Hopefully before we get frost bitten, loose our fingers and toes.

MOON
And other stuff.

EDGAR
And Iím not looking forward to a night in jail.

MOON
A night? You kidding? If we get booked we got a whole frickin week at the workhouse.

EDGAR

What?!

MOON
Come on man, who are you?!

EDGAR
Sorry! I donít know, I ainít from around here.

MOON
Itís free labor courtesy of the Chippewa and Dakota nations. Thatís why they surround the bars. 9pm, just about could set my watch to it. If I had a watch. If I did, I wouldnít be standing here with you either. They come in here bang on the walls, knock a few heads, load Ďem into the paddy wagon, and Mr. Minnesota Attorney General gots new license plates, and stadium sweepers for the Vikings over the next 5 days.

EDGAR
Not courtesy of the Puyallup Nation! I hope.

MOON
Unless theyíre out tonight.

EDGAR
Who?

MOON

The patrol. AIM.

EDGAR
Shit, are you serious? American Indian Movement. Got a lot of bad stuff happening back at home. Thatís who I wanted to find.

MOON

What a way to do it. Oh, hey, listen to this one:
ďFor all the treaties that were brokenĒ
ďFor all the land that was stolenĒ
ďCuster died for your sins!Ē
ďCuster died for your sins!Ē
ďCuster died for your sins!Ē

Groovy!!

EDGAR
Whereíd you learn that?

MOON

Dennis and Floyd!

EDGAR

Who?

MOON

Dennis Banks and Floyd---the Red Crow Flies, aye!--- Westerman!

EDGAR
Who else is making this AIM happen?

MOON

Them.

(He points across the street with his lips.)

Right there on the corner of 11th, thatís the Patrol office.

EDGAR

What? You mean that place with the card board sign?! Shit, I was right next to it this whole time?!

MOON
I think they got a tv in there too.

EDGAR
Why didnít you say something you asshole!?

MOON
Their light wasnít on. What was the use?

EDGAR
Maybe someone is the back!?

MOON
I guess we could find out.

EDGAR
You asshole.

MOON

Hey!!!! (yelling to across the street)
Clyde! Vernon! Belly-courts you in there?! Frannie! Alberta!

EDGAR

Frannie!!

MOON
George!!

EDGAR
George!!

MOON

Eddie!!

EDGAR
Eddie!!

MOON

Hey? What are you doing? You donít even know them?

EDGAR
I donít care! Belly Courts!!! Come on out!! Any one in there!!!!

MOON
Thatís Bellecourt.

EDGAR

Alberta!

MOON!

Hey Downwind! You in there?!

(to Edgar)
You know itís her, Alberta Downwind that named them. Get this, they was at first calling themselves, ďConcerned Indian Americans.Ē Funny hunh?

EDGAR
That sounds good.

MOON
No, itís funny.

EDGAR
I donít get it?

MOON
Youíre so serious. ďConcerned Indian Americans?Ē

EDGAR
CIA?

MOON

Yeah!

EDGAR
Oh, shit, that wonít work.

(They stop a moment, wait, listen. Look up at the moon.)

MOON
Yeah, Alberta. She says as American Indian people, we canít stop moving. No one else will do it for us. I believe it. I do.

EDGAR
Donít think any oneís home. American Indian Movement. Cops donít bust them?

MOON
Not too much. Theyíre taking pictures, shooting film, trying to prove to the judges this kinda stuff is wrong. Cops, judges, never believe till they have the evidence right in front of them. And even then, they donít want to. But they gotta. Bringing in lawyers too. Good black and white folks, seeing thereís a red man for the first time. Still here. Still alive. Still needing to find justice. Right?

EDGAR
I hope they come back tonight.

MOON
Yeah. Itís cold.

EDGAR
Youíre bleeding bad.

MOON
I donít feel right.

EDGAR
Oh, shit. Help! Somebody help!

(More silence and Moon breaks down a little.)

MOON
So cold. I want to get home.
I WANT TO GET HOME!!

EDGAR
(trying to comfort) Hey. Hey, manÖ

MOON
I need to be home. My lady is waiting for me! Shit. Shit. Not again, not like this. She needs me. Our babyís due any minute. And Iím gone again. Itís always something, ainít it? Always, always, shit.

EDGAR
Moon.

MOON
Goddamn, donít you sometimes get tired being an Indian.

EDGAR
We ainít gonna stay like this forever.

MOON

I hope not.

EDGAR

Course not. (beat)
Cause, you keep crying like that everyone is gonna think youíre on your rag, Moon!

MOON
Gawiin. (he lets loose a smile finally) Youíre one to talk, snowballs! I saw where that pig kicked you. That canít be feeling too good right about now.

(They stare up at the moon.)

MOON
Just a little sliver of Moon over Minnesota.

EDGAR
A little sliver of light over us too?

MOON
So cold.

EDGAR

So right.

(They stare up at the moon again.)

(A few agonizing silent beats.)

(Then a flash bulb, two, three.)

OFF STAGE FEMALE VOICE

Niiji! Brothers, weíre here. Damn you, shit birds look rough.

OFF STAGE MALE VOICE

Get Ďem some food, get Ďem some blankets.

(The two men look at each other then say together.)

BOTH
Get us a hack saw!

End of play.

__________________________________________________

More Information on the American Indian Movement:

American Indian Movement Interpretive Center-AIM Archive Collections
aimcollection.org/interpretivecenter

American Indian Movement Grand Governing Council
www.aimovement.org

The American Indian Movement was the vanguard to the landmark adoption by the United Nations General Assembly of the Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples on September 13, 2007. In 1974 the American Indian Movement organized the International Indian Treaty Council, and IITC was the first indigenous oranization to work with indigenous populations internationally at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. United Nations adopts Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples