At the peak of controversy

Son of Scam

Losing patients: Well done ("Rent a Patient," Paul Rubin, April 24). Many of my clients (employers/health insurance carriers) have been battling fraud of this sort for a long time and have had difficulty getting the public and regulators interested. I think your article will help with this current fraud ring that robs us all in America. It is often not legitimate insurance companies, health-care providers and patients that cause our health-care system to be out of control. I think managed-care companies often get a bad reputation, but they lead the regulators to most of these fraud schemes. Thanks for your work in exposing this issue.

Philip Davidson
Via e-mail

Hill of Beans
Prevailing winds: Just wanted to commend you on writing a beautifully scathing column in the recent issue of New Times ("Squaw Peeved," Robert Nelson, April 17). Man, I love a good lambasting, especially on an issue as ridiculous as this one. One of the most bitter-tasting aspects of modern politics is this kind of pandering for the supposed affections of his/her constituents. I'm certainly keeping my fingers crossed that Governor Napolitano doesn't prevail in this little campaign. For crying out loud, work on bringing our gas prices down instead! Thirty-four cents above the national average. I can think of another name for that: price-gouging.

Rich Pedersen

Monumental undertaking: I just read your column titled "Squaw Peeved" and I have to say I am in total agreement with you; I don't think we should rename the Squaw Peak or the parkway. I believe it would be a huge slap in the face to the many Americans from Arizona who have died in action. I do, however, think it would be quite appropriate to build a small monument to honor all those from Arizona who have died in service to this country. I also feel we should start a petition or something to remove Governor Napolitano from office. Keep up the great work.

Leo Howard

Don't you mean Ntv Amrcn?: You idiot! If it really doesn't matter what the name means to most Native people, then why do you care, one way or the other? Your disgusting tirade about something you know nothing about shows just how ignorant white people are about the Ndn Nation's attitude toward that word. Typical white thinking, you can find some way to piss on something you don't agree with by doing what you call research. Look in the dictionary, ask an actual Ndn. What, you don't know any? Hmmm. Why doesn't that surprise me?

Judi Brannan Armbruster
ULCKaruk Tribe of California

And we know what paybacks are: "Squaw Peeved" was not a good column -- it was great. It has been payback time for the poor, pitiful, disadvantaged, misunderstood and underappreciated natives and their sympathizers for a hundred-plus years now and it will be for another hundred. They snag a political hack bent on getting a few extra miles from this tank and we get an unnecessary new name for an old peak.

Custer died for my sins and I owe them nothing. Besides, I voted for the real war hero, Williams Peak.

Name withheld by requestRace relations: Hey, you know you have a bitter heart. The renaming of that place is trivial, especially since it belongs to some tribe anyway. It is the fact that Lori Piestewa was the first sovereign Red Nations woman to serve in a volunteer capacity for a so-called country called U.S. government, a country and government that uses God's name in their courthouses but yet, still steals from the very first peoples of this country.

Yes, you, sir, are full of shit. We, the Red Nations, shall be served with justice someday; we will have our lands back. It's Scripture, it's Biblical, racist man. Piestewa's death in one way represents all the women who were brutally murdered by U.S. government soldiers, women and children, and this day she stands with them. Yes, racist man, surely our god or your god shall prevail and stand by and with the righteous owners of this land.

Josh Redwing
Via e-mail

Bad connections: "Squaw Peeved" is what we all should be about now. Used and abused by a slimy politician in the governor's chair and a few (very few) misinformed others. If Mike Williams only had better political connections, a little more skin pigment, been from the Rez or the ghetto, we would have never heard of Lori Piestewa. A political hack job was foisted on the many, by the few.

Name withheld by request

The Buck starts here: Where is Ed Buck when we need him? I, for one, would gladly sign a petition to recall our newly established dictator.

If this bully had any respect for the people she allegedly represents, she would have called for a public vote on the Squaw Peak matter. Oh, excuse me, I forgot -- in Arizona, the will of the voters doesn't matter if a few politicians disagree with it, a fact for which Jerry Colangelo undoubtedly gives thanks every day.

I will make one concession in the future, however; I will use a new name for the mountain, but not the one Little Ms. Tyrant demands. To me, it will henceforth be Piss on the Peak -- and on the governor, too.

Charles Tannen

A new fan: Absolutely wonderful column on renaming Squaw Peak! You have obviously found your life's calling. I read your piece three times and could not stop laughing. Your column was not only bitingly satirical, but loaded with relevant facts. Great job on exposing Governor Napolitano's unsavory treatment of the rules and Tim Norton personally.

I am a conservative at heart and never found New Times to be of much interest. However, I will now make it a point to pick up a copy each week for your articles. Keep up the great work.

Frank Pankow

Hacked off: I just loved your "Squaw Peeved" column. Nobody has, can or will explain it better. Political pandering to the self-deluded, misinformed, disenfranchised few, from a real political hack in the governor's chair. Just disgusting what happened and how it happened. Aside from my new hero Tim Norton, those other bunch of gutless wonders on that board should be ashamed of themselves, caving in and voting for the change. Again, thanks for the informative, humorous, candid, right-on-target column. You have my respect for having the courage to write it like it is. You humored me and provoked me, and it just doesn't get much better than that. Thanks.

Wade Hoffman

Idiot Governor Peak?: Oh my God. You hit it right on the head in the Piestewa Peak column. You were right on every aspect. Not only is the governor an idiot, but Lori Piestewa does not deserve anything named after her. She was a fricking cook who took a wrong turn and got shot. Good job, keep up the good work.

Name withheld by request

Easy come, easy go: What gives with our governor? First, she pounded both fists on her desk at a meeting with legislative leaders. Then, when Tim Norton informed her about the "five-year rule" on geographic names, she demanded his resignation. She just appointed him to a five-year term in January!

I suggest for her next "temper tantrum," she hold her breath until she turns blue; that worked for me once when I was 5 years old.

Tom Shaffer
Via e-mail

Blow harder: In his pigheaded column "Squaw Peeved," blowhard writer Robert Nelson contended that there is nothing wrong with the word "squaw." According to Nelson, the renaming of a Phoenix landmark, the former Squaw Peak, in honor of the first woman soldier slain in combat, Arizona native and Hopi tribal member Pfc. Lori Piestewa, is out of line. Hogwash!

Lacking any original and substantive arguments, Nelson instead relied on distorted comparisons, sophomoric attempts at sexual humor, and reactionary political rhetoric of the most banal variety. So infantile and empty were Nelson's remarks that he actually took exception to the fact that there are four syllables in "Piestewa." Apparently, the use of four-syllable words is beyond Nelson's intellectual and literary capabilities. Nelson even went so far as to imply that the supreme sacrifice made by Pfc. Piestewa in service to our country was not "great" enough to qualify her for recognition. What unbelievable gall this small-minded and loudmouthed writer has shown!

If Nelson really thinks there is nothing wrong with the word "squaw," he should go to the Hopi and Navajo reservations in Tuba City, where Pfc. Piestewa was from, and try to convince the people there of his twisted concepts. When Nelson has succeeded in this mission, then, and only then, should the Phoenix landmark revert to its earlier, demeaning, and clearly outdated name.

Robert Eurich
Via e-mail

Scam artists: Bravo to Robert Nelson. The whole "squaw as derogatory" image is bogus. The whole idea came about in the early '70s when some AIM members were invited to Moscow for a "cultural exchange." Their government hosts sat them down and taught them how to create a public issue that would get them media attention. Since the women's movement was popular at the time, they chose to piggyback on that group by provoking feminist issues as well.

For those of us in the know, over the years we have sort of rolled our eyes and whistled when the issue came up. But bring up why the issue had to be a lie and you're provoking trouble.

Now this urban legend is promoted even by people who abhor AIM. I have heard five distinctly different stories how this squaw as slur happened in history. All from different times and places. All from supposedly knowledgeable sources and all bogus considering the time and distances involved. Just that there are five stories is enough to tell you it is fake.

While this scam has had its use, it is still fallacious and absurd. That it is being used to change a landmark to pander for votes is intolerable.

Napolitano was a poor attorney general and now she is becoming a poor governor. If Janet wants to improve Native American self-esteem, let her look to providing better education and employment opportunities instead of their crouches.

Name withheld by request

Freedoms suppressed: Thanks for the humorous column. I guess grocery stores will now discontinue the sale of squaw bread?

I find this issue to be distasteful only because of the way it was handled. Our governor's strong-arm, dictatorial, undemocratic tactics are no better than the lack of freedom many people experience around the world. Okay, perhaps I have exaggerated, but maybe Tim Norton should be grateful that Dictator J. did not order his execution, or at the least have him publicly flogged.

We have lost sight of what the word "hero" means. It certainly does not represent Lori Piestewa. I would think it rather an embarrassment that a wrong turn was made in the first place. I have and always will support the armed forces. My father, an Army Full Bird Colonel and recipient of two Purple Hearts, never considered himself a hero. He joined the services and did his job. That is what Lori did.

I am grateful to all the wonderful men and women who decided to have the different branches of the military as their employer. They know what they are getting into and they know that the main purpose of being in the military is to serve, defend, and die for America if need be. Even the reserves have had a free ride for a long time. For that, I am also grateful because no one wants to see these individuals off to battle.

All men and women who died in this state should be recognized at the capitol. A plaque with their names would be appropriate. Changing the name of a pile of dirt and rock is not. Nor do I believe that the citizenry really know how much it will cost to make these changes happen. Maybe you can impart your research and knowledge of costs in a follow-up article.

Janet showed her true colors of deception and being above the law, and I look forward to signing a petition asking that she be recalled. I hope, too, that Tim Norton files legal action against the fools who harassed him.

Joan Bazemore

On the offensive: Think about this another way: Would you call a female Native American a squaw? Hell no. Why? Because she would most likely be offended and kick your stupid white ass.

You think we would have a Wetback Way? Wetback simply means a Mexican who enters the U.S. illegally. This should not be offensive to those of us law-abiding citizens -- and it is much shorter. How about Pickaninny Parkway? Ex-governor Evan Mecham saw no issue with the word "pickaninny," which Webster's simply defines as a Negro child. Screw the "pussies who make their living being offended" should they object, the linguistics say it just refers to a black child.

And even so, we could name a small road Pickaninny Parkway, right? After all, if it were "pathetic sizewise" it shouldn't make much of a difference; really big highways are named after important dead white people protecting our highways, not Hopi women fighting on behalf of our country.

Bobby Nelson wants it every way. The name Squaw Peak is no big deal because it represents a "barren, ersatz hill north of downtown that's about as pathetic sizewise as a British lassie's tits." On the other hand, "Piestewa doesn't merit a mountain." Now I am confused, are we talking about a flat-chested Brit's breasts or a big mountain? I guess it depends what you're arguing.

Let's face it; the local Native American population detests the word "squaw" despite the word's origination and the "cracker" interpretation. So who gives a crap what these marginalized and disenfranchised people think? Nelson's piece was just another shiny example of white male American ethos, completely wrapped up in our own version of vanilla political correctness. We certainly would not know how to get to our north Phoenix homes in our gas-guzzling SUVs without a highway named after a word that refers to a people treated about as poorly as Americans have treated anyone. "Squaw" doesn't offend me, and I am all-knowing, so it really doesn't matter if it offends you, and I don't like change. People better get smarter about recognizing bigotry, because it lives and breathes in insensitive and ignorant vulgarity.

In the end, it boils down to three things: The word refers to Native Americans. They don't like it. It should be changed. One only need change the word "squaw" into something that is derogatory that can be directed to them (WASPs, never mind, you just wouldn't get it), and then the light might click.

Derk Finstad

Soldier of misfortune: I can see your point of view for the five-year waiting period. These rules are made for reasons. Political people usually do think they are above the law. What I disagree with is that you do not consider Lori Piestewa in a hostile environment and her unit being ambushed. Maybe it was a wrong turn or being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Her unit was overtaken and there were prisoners of war taken and some killed in action. Those are the things that happen in a military conflict. I do not see you over there providing the front-line troops with supplies. Piestewa was following orders, and sometimes following orders will get a soldier or a sailor killed or captured. She volunteered for the military, because I do not see the selective service being used. Have you ever served in the military? Better yet, do you know the purpose of Memorial Day? I tell you what, I will remember her on Memorial Day. As well as those of my family who served in the military and what I did when I was her age. Thank you for this time.

Robert Simpson
Manson, Washington

That pretty much sums it up: Outfuckingstanding! The best column I've read in years. Thank you for showing me that there's at least one journalist out there that has his head on straight.

Chris Lowenberg
Via e-mail

Music Man

How many people can we offend with this letter?: Regarding the Dixie Chicks ("Chick Hunt," Chris Parker, April 3): I haven't heard their music, but if people want to quit buying their stuff because of their politics, they have that right to do so. I would never buy their stuff, especially when they display their altogether. Maybe they should be renamed the Dixie Sluts.

As for renaming Squaw Peak to Piestewa Peak, at least it was renamed to honor a GI Jane who was KIA while serving her country, and not for some politically correct piece of crap. May God rest her soul.

Whoever was responsible for land-navigation for that outfit needs to go back to school.

Marc V. Ridenour
Via e-mail


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