Farrakhan Follies

Are the Navajo Nation and the Nation of Islam goin' on the warpath together? That's the scenario this carping canary initially imagined when it heard that none other than part-time south Phoenix resident Minister Louis "Lightning Rod" Farrakhan addressed the Navajo Nation Council at Window Rock, the Navajo capital.

Farrakhan, of course, is the head of the N.O.I., the separatist Black Muslim group that preaches African-American self-reliance, the racial inferiority of Caucasians and, er, how a big UFO came down from heaven and beamed up the N.O.I.'s late honcho, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad.

Though he usually keeps a relatively low profile while snowbirding it in the Zona, the violin-playin', bow-tie-wearin' Farrakhan is otherwise known for garnering negative press by the truckload with racist crankery like: "White people are potential humans . . . they haven't evolved yet," or his suggestion that New Orleans levees had been destroyed by explosives during Hurricane Katrina so the black parts of town would be flooded and the white parts left dry.

Yep, Farrakhan's widely regarded as a first-rate loon on the level of the 9/11 conspira-nuts The Bird profiled last week ("Loose Screws," September 7). Nevertheless, Navajo Prez Joe Shirley and the Navajo Council puckered up to the minister during his July visit, treating the Black Muslim leader like royalty, wrapping him in a Navajo code-talker blanket, slipping a bola tie 'round the 73-year-old's neck, and lavishing him with keepsakes. Farrakhan came on Shirley's invite.

What did the Navajos receive in return? A homemade pen, and an N.O.I.-produced documentary on Hurricane Katrina, The Unmasking of New Orleans, which sells online for $15.

Uh, gee, thanks, Minister.

But there were also Farrakhan's words. What wisdom did he regale the assembled leaders with? What advice did he have concerning the widespread unemployment and poverty that plague the largest Native American tribe in North America?

"No one will respect a people who are non-productive," he lectured the council, later telling them, "You are a very rich people because you have land under your feet that is crying for development."

In other words, pull yourselves up by your moccasin straps, kemo sabes, and put in a Grand Canyon-load of strip malls.

What about the racial strife in towns bordering the Navajo Nation? In two separate incidents this June in Farmington, New Mexico, one Navajo man was fatally shot by cops, and three white males were arrested for beating another. Farrakhan's advice? Take it on the chin, red man.

"You cannot defeat racism by picketing," Farrakhan said. "Marching will never win the respect of the people who are looking down on us as a people."

It's counsel the Navajo leaders chose to ignore September 2 during a march to protest both incidents.

Naysayers began chirping shortly after Farrakhan's departure, criticizing the poufy-haired Shirley for bringing in the minister to talk down to Navajos like they're a bunch of little kids. This birdseed-swallower phoned Shirley, but all the Prez did was read a press release aloud, then hang up when asked a tough question.

No wonder Shirley's in a tight reelection race against opponent Lynda Lovejoy, who, if successful, would make history as the first woman president of the Navajo Nation.

"We don't need to have someone come in and make the kind of statements [Farrakhan] made," Lovejoy opined to this ornery owl. "We can say that to ourselves. Why do we have to bring someone in to coach us on how to behave as leaders?"

Farrakhan's granddaughter YoNasDa LoneWolf Muhammad (say that three times fast), herself half Oglala Sioux, organized the event and defended it by stating that Navajos and the Black Muslims are fighting the same struggle against The White Man.

"Our struggle is the same, and we have a common enemy," twittered Muhammad, who heads up part of grandpappy's Millions More Movement, an odd offshoot of 1995's Million Man March.

Muhammad, who grew up in Phoenix, the daughter of late PHX activist Wauneta LoneWolf, should stick to her burgeoning hip-hop career in NYC. To judge from her Web site, she's talented, even if she is getting help from Wu-Tang Clan rapper Cappadonna. Plus, wouldn't she rather be dope than make her grandsire look like a dope? That's something Minister Farrakhan's good at already.

As for the Navajos themselves, The Bird reckons they've been Farrakhaned!

Munsil's Bastard

This worm-licker's gotta hand it to governor-wanna-be Len Munsil: The evangelical Bible-humper sure knows how to make premarital bonin' pay — to the tune of a whopping $80,000!

That's right, Munsil just earned more for one act between the sheets than any porn star in history. Someone get Jenna Jameson on the line! Forget about Dave Navarro. We've got a real man for ya, Jenna.

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons