Stepping on History: Justin Bieber’s Two-Holocaust Year

First published at ZNet on July 17, 2013. People ignorant of history and an informed sense of themselves as historical actors and agents are often a danger both to themselves and others. They are cut off from key lessons – both positive and negative – on how to interact with their fellow human and sentient beings, other living things, nature and the world. They are prone to repeat past mistakes and crimes. They do not retain and pass on successes and solutions both practical and ethical. They are prone to childish moral blindness and to easy manipulation by elites, who make sure that history is written (and broadcast and dismissed and deleted and digitalized) for and by the winners. The chilling authoritarian implications were summarized by Big Brother’s dictum in Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four: “Those who control the present control the past. Those who control the past control the future.”   

 “Anne Was a Great Girl” 

Which brings me to Justin Bieber, Anne Frank, Nazism, the Chicago Blackhawks, the Sauk Nation, British Petroleum and the U.S. Empire. A vacuous 19-year old U.S. pop-star who epitomizes his adopted homeland’s notorious ignorance and indifference to history and its lessons, the technically Canadian Bieber made an interesting comment in the guestbook at the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam last April. If Frank had not perished as a teenager in a Nazi concentration camp in 1945, it appeared, Bieber would like to think she would have been his devoted fan. “”Truly inspiring to be able to come here,” Bieber wrote. “Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a belieber.” Adolescent girls who become obsessed with Bieber and who scream and faint at his concerts are known as “beliebers.” 

Beiber’s trip came in the middle of a European tour. He dropped into the Frank House on a “chill day” (as he told his fans on Twitter) between concerts in Antwerp, Belgium, and Arhnhem, Netherlands. As CNN noted, “Frank was 13 when she and her family began hiding in a dark and damp ‘secret annex’ of the house to escape the German roundup of Jews in Holland in July 1942. She never left the house for two years, spending much of her time writing in her diary, until she and her family were found and arrested by Nazis in August 1944. Anne Frank died of typhus in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in March 1945. Her diary survived to tell her tragic and inspiring story.” [1] 

Chances are that Bieber and his crew and most of his fans know nothing, or close to it, about the rise of fascism in interwar Europe or the key role that western elites, including U.S. government and business leaders, played in sparking and enabling its ascendancy. As it happened, the Nazi regime that many British and U.S. ”leaders” initially applauded as a useful bulwark against Russian “socialism” went on a European tour of its own – one that systematically murdered 6 million Jews along with many hundreds of thousands of Gypsies, gays, communists. To suggest that one of the most famous martyrs of the Nazi genocide – a sensitive teenage girl who spent countless hours in private reflection, practicing the craft of writing – would have become a screaming fan of the mindless Bieber is to display a breathtaking ignorance of, and disrespect for, history. That ignorance is all too commonplace, richly cultivated by the reigning mass consumer culture in the U.S. today. It does not bode well for our ability to avoid war crimes and crimes against humanity, widely committed by the Second World War’s big winner both before and since “the war against fascism.”[2]

 Standing on the Logo 

Recently Bieber was back in the celebrity news, again in an unflattering light. A picture appeared on the Internet last week of him taking a photo of the Stanley Cup in the locker room of the National Hockey League’s 2013 Stanley Cup champion, the Chicago Blackhawks. Controversy emerged from a curious problem with Bieber’s picture: he took it while standing on top of the team’s logo, a colorful Indian-head profile of “Chief Blackhawk.” This is a no-no, understood by hockey reporters and visitors, who are warned that setting foot on “the chief” is an invitation to being stuffed in a locker by one of the Chicago players after a game. It is considered a sign of disrespect to stand on team logos in NHL locker rooms, apparently.[3] The sin is especially great when it comes to the Blackhawks, whose logo is considered (by those who think and care about such things) to be among the “best ever devised in the history of professional sports”:


 When you go to a Blackhawks game at the United Center (something I have done more than a few times since a 1960s Chicago childhood nearly as obsessed with hockey and onetime Blackhawks stars Bobby Hull and Stan Makita as any “belieber” is with Justin B. today), you behold an ocean of very predominantly white middle-to upper-class fans wearing bright red jerseys bearing this logo. It’s one of the most popular jerseys in sports history. Its sales have gone through the roof in the wake of two Chicago Stanley Cup championships (2010 and 2013).

It’s quite a sight when 10,000 or so of these bright red Indian head jerseys rise in honor the dramatic high-decibel pre-game singing of the National Anthem, delivered to a roaring crowd with a uniformed and saluting military veteran or two always standing next to the singer at center ice.

At the recent Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup victory celebration in Chicago’s downtown Grant Park, thousands of Blackhawk jersey-wearers could be heard chanting “USA, USA” after the anthem was sung.

I damn near bought a Blackhawks jersey myself after the Hawks knocked off the brutish Boston Bruins with two goals 17 seconds apart in the last two minutes of the third period of the sixth and final game of the Stanley Cup finals last month.

“The Center of the World” 

All of which raises an interesting question. What, if anything, do the masses of very predominantly white Blackhawks enthusiasts who like to drape the “chief’s” head over their torsos know – or care to know – about the history of the individual represented in the logo that Justin Bieber stepped upon? Let me hazard a guess based on years of living and occasionally teaching American history in and around northern Illinois, eastern Iowa (the “chief’s” old stomping grounds), and Chicago: nothing, or very close to it. 

One good indication of this historical ignorance is the habitual reference by Blackhawks’ fans to the individual in question as “Chief Blackhawk.” Neither word in that designation is accurate. The Native American who is rather badly depicted in the Chicago NHL logo was not a chief. Black Hawk, called Ma-ka-tai-me-she-kia-kiak by his people, a band of the Algonquin-speaking Sauk Indians, was born in 1767 in the village of Saukenuk in the northwestern section of what later became the state of Illinois

Saukenuk in the 1760s “contained about ninety multifamily lodges made of planks and covered with bark. Those dwellings,” notes historian Kerry Trask in his remarkable book Black Hawk: The Battle for the Heart of America (2007), “were nearly all organized along straight, wide streets, and the whole settlement ‘appeared more like a civilized town than the abode of savages.’ [Early white explorers] observed [in Saukenuk]…expansive, well-tended fields in which they raised large crops of corn, beans, and melons. The people there enjoyed a quality of life well above subsistence, and their community, was ‘esteemed the best market for traders to furnish themselves with provisions, of any within eight hundred miles of it.'” [4] 

The Sauk had no chiefs or formal decision-making hierarchy. They did, however, possess internally influential warriors who could rally the support of other Sauk fighters and village residents for various actions like moving from one village site to another and engaging in battles with other groups. Black Hawk was one of those prominent warriors. As a young man, he earned a reputation as a great fighter in skirmishes between the Sauk and their principle enemy, the Osage.

By the early 19th century, however, Black Hawk understood that the major threat to his people was posed by the rapidly growing number of white people streaming into the richly fertile soils around Saukenuk (near to contemporary Rock Island, Illinois). In 1804, representatives of the Sauk and Fox (Mesquakie) Indians “signed” (put their marks on) a treaty that granted all of their ancestral lands east of the Mississippi River to the United States. Black Hawk felt the treaty was null and void because it had been signed by Indian representatives that American authorities had gotten drunk. As the U.S. Army constructed more forts and white settlers poured into the territory during the next three decades, he became increasingly agitated. 

In 1829, Black Hawk’s band returned home from a winter hunt to find white Americans living in Saukenuk lodges. “Indian unrest” ensued. In the spring of 1831, U.S. forces summarily ordered the expulsion of the Sauk from the forests and plains of western Illinois. The U.S. General Land Office put the Sauks’ property (including Black Hawk’s lodge) up for sale. The Sauk were told to move west of the Mississippi River. Over the winter of 1831-1832, white settlers moved into Saukenuk. The following spring, the 65-year old Black Hawk returned with 300 warriors and their families from the winter hunt to reclaim their home village, which they saw as the “center of the world.” U.S. General Edmund P. Gaines arrived with a large force of U.S. soldiers and Illinois militiamen. At first, Black Hawk led his large band of warriors, women, and children in retreat, to the west side of the Mississippi. On April 5, 1832, however, he brought them back, mistakenly convinced that other Indian forces and the British to the north would support him in a struggle with the white invaders. A 15-week war ensued, concluding with the near annihilation of Black Hawk’s band as it attempted to escape.

 “Getting Rid of Those Demons in Human Shape” 

The “Black Hawk War” was incredibly one-sided. The Sauk and Fox Indians lost 600 people, including hundreds of woman and children. Just 70 soldiers and settlers were killed. The conflict culminated in the so-called Battle of Bad Axe, on the eastern shore of the Mississippi River, near the present-day community of Victory in southwest Wisconsin. Better described as a massacre than a battle, this American military triumph involved U.S. General Henry Atkinson killing every Indian who tried to run for cover or to flee across the Mississippi River. On August 1, 1832, Black Hawk’s band reached the Mississippi at its confluence with the Bad Axe River. What followed was an atrocity, committed despite the Indians’ repeated attempts at surrender: 

“While the Sauk refugees were preparing rafts and canoes, the armed [U.S.] steamboat Warrior arrived, whereupon Black Hawk tried to negotiate with its troops under a flag of truce. The Americans opened fire, killing twenty-three warriors. Thwarted in his attempt to cross the river, Black Hawk decided to travel north to Objiwa territory, but only fifty warriors would join him; the remainder preferred to attempt another crossing, While they were doing this, Atkinson and a force of 1,300 troops caught up with them. The Indians attempted to surrender, but to no avail. An eight-hour massacre ensued.”[5] 

“As we neared them,” one who “served” in the U.S. assault recalled (and bragged), “they raised a white flag and endeavored to decoy us, but we were a little too old for them.”[6]

Hundreds of Sauk and Fox men, women and children were shot, clubbed, and bayoneted to death at the confluence of the Bad Axe and Mississippi rivers on August 2nd. U.S. soldiers scalped most of the dead. They also cut long strips of flesh from dead and wounded Indians for use as razor strops. The slaughter was supported by cannon and rifle fire from the aptly named Warrior, which picked off tribal members swimming for their lives. 

Many of those Sauk and Fox who managed to escape across the river were captured and killed by Sioux warriors acting in support of the United States. In the weeks after the “battle,” the Sioux delivered 68 scalps and 22 prisoners to U.S. Indian agent Joseph M. Street (no known relation to the present author, whose maternal grandfather was lead architect for buildings constructed on Sioux reservations in South Dakota during the 1920s and 1930s). The United States suffered 5 dead and 19 wounded in the “Battle of Bad Axe.” 

In a popular account of the “battle” published two years later, Major John Allen Wakefield offered some interesting reflections. “It was a horrid sight,” Wakefield wrote, “to witness little children, wounded and suffering the most excruciating pain, although they were of the savage enemy, and the common enemy of the country…. It was enough to make the heart of the most hardened being on earth to ache But, Wakefield wrote, “I must confess, that it filled my heart with gratitude and joy, to think that I had been instrumental, with many others, in delivering my country of those merciless savages, and restoring those [invading white] people again to their peaceful homes and firesides.” [7] 

Such sentiments were common among American army and militia members, who reveled in the mass murder of indigenous people. As a government agent told the Sauk and Fox, “Our Great Father …will forbear no longer. He has tried to reclaim [Native Americans] and they grow worse. He is resolved to sweep them from the face of the earth. … If they cannot be made good they must be killed.” [8] 

A deadly sociopathic attribution of one’s crimes to the will of God provided Wakefield with a sense of righteous justification for engaging in the slaughter of the Indian “demons in human shape”: 

“[John F.] Richardson, from General Alexander’s brigade, with their companies, and a few scattering gentle men from General Dodge’s corps, were also up; who joined General Henry, and fought bravely….Colonel Fry obeyed the call of his General, and was soon there with his regiment, who shrank not from their duty. They all joined in the work of death for death it was. We were by this time fast getting rid of those demons in human shape…When we came upon the enemy, they were fixing their bark canoes to

cross the river. Some of them had crossed; others had just launched their canoes; and some had not got them made; but I suppose all were busy in making the necessary arrangements to cross and get out of our way. But the Ruler of the Universe, He who takes vengeance on the guilty, did not design those guilty wretches to escape His vengeance for the horrid deeds they had done, which were of the most appalling nature. He here took just retribution for the many innocent lives those cruel savages had taken on our northern frontiers.” [9] 

When he was captured shortly after the butchery was concluded, Black Hawk made a speech of surrender: 

“Black Hawk …is now a prisoner to the white men… He has done nothing for which an Indian ought to be ashamed. He has fought for his countrymen, the squaws and papooses, against white men, who came year after year, to cheat them and take away their lands. You know the cause of our making war. It is known to all white men. They ought to be ashamed of it. Indians are not deceitful. The white men speak bad of the Indian and look at him spitefully. But the Indian does not tell lies. Indians do not steal.” 

“An Indian who is as bad as the white men could not live in our nation; he would be put to death, and eaten up by the wolves. The white men are bad schoolmasters; they carry false books, and deal in false actions; they smile in the face of the poor Indian to cheat him; they shake them by the hand to gain their confidence, to make them drunk, to deceive them, and ruin our wives. We told them to leave us alone, and keep away from us; they followed on, and beset our paths, and they coiled themselves among us, like the snake. They poisoned us by their touch. We were not safe. We lived in danger. We were becoming like them, hypocrites and liars, adulterous lazy drones, all talkers and no workers.” [10] 

What a Pack of Asses!” 

After a brief period in a federal stockade in Virginia, Black Hawk was brought to America’s “Great Father,” U.S. president Andrew Jackson, himself a legendary butcher of Indians in the South. In the southern cotton belt, Indian Removal was required to expand westward the plantation economy based on black chattel slavery. 

“Under Jackson, and the man he chose to succeed him, Martin Van Buren,” Howard Zinn noted in his widely read People’s History of the United States, “seventy thousand Indians east of the Mississippi were forced westward. In the North, there weren’t that many, and the Iroquois Confederation in New York stayed. But the Sac and Fox Indians of Illinois were removed, after the Black Hawk War.” [11] 

Seeking to demonstrate the futility of further Indian resistance, Americans, Jackson sent Black Hawk on a tour of major eastern cities, including Washington DC, Philadelphia, New York, Boston, Albany, Buffalo, and Detroit. The defeated warrior was paraded as war booty before gawking crowds as an example of the brutal savagery that had to be heroically defeated for the slaveholders’ republic to spread liberty and “Christian civilization” across the continent. A Kentucky newspaper praised the exercise: “We approve of the determination of the President, to display to [Black Hawk] the resources of our great nation and let him see with his own eyes that it is vain to war with the pale faces.” [12]  

The sulky old warrior Black Hawk was forced to pose before an endless procession of gaping white Americans and to sit through their formal entertainments. He was not impressed, as one contemporary newspaper account reported:

“At Washington Black Hawk was much annoyed by the ladies, who seemed to have nothing to do but attend debates in Congress, trials for murder, and run after great men. On one occasion, he got out of all patience, and observed ‘Debilinchibison Jekorre Manilou’ – ‘What in the devil’s name to these squaws want with me?’”

“He was still more savage at the crowds of men who intruded into his room and stood gaping at him as if he had been a mammoth. On one of these occasions he emphatically exclaimed ‘Elcoue Assin!’ – ‘What a pack of asses!’”

“Black Hawk, being carried to a theater at Philadelphia, managed to sleep through the play until the applause of the audience at the song ‘Jim Crow’ [a popular viciously anti-black racist minstrel tune of the time – P.S.] woke him up. He endured the first repetition with tolerable resignation, but on its being encored for the fourth time, cried out, ‘Peccabogo agankitchigaminst pitchilazo!’ ‘ – ‘When these barbarians come to visit me, I shall treat them to a concert of wild cats!’” [13]

After his eastern tour, which made him something of a national media celebrity in the summer of 1833, Black Hawk was relocated to an Iowa Indian agency. Having served his public relations function for the rising U.S. “empire of liberty,” he lived out his last six years under the supervision of a U.S.-designated Sauk “chief” who had been his enemy and had long cooperated with the U.S. 

Hitler-Approved Ethnic Cleansing  

Under subsequent treaties and orders, Native Americans in general – Potawatami, Fox, and Winnebagos as well as the Sauk – were removed for all time from the incredibly soil of northern Illinois. “The Black Hawk War,” notes Chicago historian Robert Spinney, “effectively ended the American Indian presence in both Chicago and Illinois,” [14] helping open the door for Chicago’s spectacular expansion in the mid and late 19th century. Few who subsequently lived in northern Illinois found it unusual or unjust that First Nations people no longer inhabited the lush black lands of the Prairie State. It had taken only a few years to banish the Sauk from their longstanding homeland and to mark them as illegal “Invaders” – “foreign fighters,” as it were – when they tried to return to plant corn in the village that had been the center of their world for many years. 

The “Black Hawk War” was one of many chapters in the bigger story of the Native North American Holocaust – the commonly bloody white elimination of millions of indigenous North Americans that occurred “Since Predator Came,” to use a book title from the leading Native American historian and activist Ward Churchill.[15]  It was also an episode in the policy of American Indian Removal, “ethnic cleansing,” confinement, and segregation that Anne Frank’s killer Adolph Hitler found praiseworthy. As historian John Tolland noted in his widely praised and bestselling biography of the Nazi dictator: 

“Hitler’s concept of concentration camps as well as the practicality of genocide owed much, so he claimed, to his studies of English and United States history. He admired the camps for Boer prisoners in South Africa and for the Indians in the [U.S.], and often praised to his inner circle the efficiency of America’s extermination—by starvation and uneven combat—of the red savages who could not be tamed by captivity.” 

“He was very interested in the way the Indian population had rapidly declined due to epidemics and starvation when the United States government forced them to live on the reservations. He thought the American government’s forced migrations of the Indians over great distances to barren reservation land was a deliberate policy of extermination. Just how much Hitler took from the American example of the destruction of the Indian nations is hard to say; however, frightening parallels can be drawn. For some time Hitler considered deporting the Jews to a large ‘reservation’ in the Lubin area where their numbers would be reduced through starvation and disease.” [16] 

So silly Justin Bieber has so far set superficial foot, so to speak, on not one, but two holocausts this year

An Internet poll at the bottom of the Web version of the Los Angeles Times’ report on Bieber’s transgression in the Blackhawks’ locker room reads as follows: “YOUR TAKE? Should Justin Bieber apologize to the Blackhawks? Yes. No (click on one)” [17] It is beyond the pale, I suppose, to suggest a poll on whether professional and collegiate sports authorities should apologize to Native Americans for naming sports teams after them – and fashioning team logos in their unsolicited image – in the long historical wake of the Native American holocaust. 

Black Hawk’s Imperial Appropriation 

One hundred and seventy one years after the “Battle of Bad Axe,” the United States would employ Black Hawk attack helicopters in the monumentally illegal, mass-murderous, and racist invasion of Iraq (many if not all the American Empire’s helicopters are named after conquered North American Indian cultures). The military and the dominant homeland war and entertainment media would curiously portray natural self-defensive resistance to that bloody imperial assault and occupation as a dangerous, backward-looking, and ill-advised “insurgency,” fueled by “foreign fighters.” 

The military attack chopper is not the first example of the U.S. military’s desire to appropriate and internalize Black Hawk’s fighting legacy. Here is the official United Center history of how the famous NHL logo came into being:

“The Blackhawks were called the Portland Rose Buds before a coffee baron in Chicago, named Frederick McLaughlin purchased the team in the mid 1920’s. McLaughlin moved the team to Chicago and was awarded a NHL franchise on September 25, 1926…The team name came from its first owner, Major Fredrick McLaughlin. As a commander of the 333rd Machine Gun Battalion of the U.S. Army’s World War I Expeditionary Force, the Major belonged to the 86th Blackhawk Division and felt a many-faceted affection for the name. He also was aware that a chief Blackhawk headed an Indian tribe that roamed the plains of the Midwest. After McLaughlin named the team, his wife Irene Castle – a world renowned ballroom dancer who had teamed with her husband Vernon before he had died – designed the unique Black, Red, and White striped uniforms with the head of Chief Blackhawk on the logo.” [18]

How sweet.

Amusing Ourselves to Death

What would “chief” Black Hawk think as he watched a Blackhawks game in the United Center in the 21st century? My guess is that he would admire the courage and proficiency of the players on the ice. Hockey is a glorious combination of violence, skill, speed, and teamwork and the Chicago Blackhawks are currently its best practitioners. At the same time, I strongly suspect Black Hawk would be disgusted by the relatively affluent and very predominantly Caucasian and suburban fans [19] who scream and stomp on crowd-controlled cue while wearing bright-red jersey’s bearing a very poor and vaguely smiling and animalized version of his profile. The militarized anthem scream (far beyond anything a concert of wild cats could generate) at the beginning of each game would especially evoke his revulsion. “What a pack of asses and barbarians!” he would exclaim.

Reflecting Native Americans’ longstanding culture and practice of seeking to live in harmony with the Earth instead of destroying and depleting it, Black Hawk might be intrigued by the front page of the Chicago Tribune on June 23, 2013. That page contains a large picture showing seven or so first- and second-row box seat Chicago hockey fans in a state of ecstasy. Blackhawks star Pat Kane has just scored his second goal in game five of the Stanley Cup finals against the Bruins. Four of these fans are shown wearing the jersey. Three are pounding with open hands on the protective glass that shields the box seats from the action. One jersey-wearing fan two rows back is extending his right hand in a full-on Nazi-style salute pointed at Kane.[20] Good times!

A much less happy story appears to the left of this cheerful and triumphant photo. It reports that the state of Indiana (whose name incorporates the indigenous people cleared from its territory nearly two hundreds years ago) has decided to let British Petroleum (BP) continue to release toxic mercury into Lake Michigan at a massive refinery about 20 miles southeast of Chicago. The state has “given BP a pass on mercury” despite past public outrage sparked by a 2007 Tribune report that compelled BP to develop cutting edge technology to sharply reduce the deadly discharge. BP “enlisted scientists at the Argonne National Laboratory and the Purdue Calumet Water Institute to come up with methods that company official said could set a model for factories and sewage treatment plants throughout the Great Lakes region.”

Recently, however, the Tribune reports, Indiana “regulators” have said, basically, “don’t bother, no worries.” BP will continue to enjoy a special exemption from federal guidelines on mercury release indefinitely, in the name of job creation. As the Tribune reports, “Allowing BP to skirt environmental laws helped clear the way for a $3.8 billion expansion of the Whiting refinery that, when completed later this year, will upgrade the nation’s seventh-largest refinery to process heavy Canadian crude oil from the tar sands region of Alberta. Indiana regulators justified the move in part by stating that the project will create thousands of construction jobs and 80 refinery jobs.” [21]

So what if exposure to mercury damages human nervous systems and the brains of fetuses, infants, and young children while triggering neurological breakdowns in adults. And so what if the exploitation of monumentally dirty and carbon-intensive Canadian tar sands oil signals what the leading the leading climate scientist James Hansen called “game over for the planet” in the life or death struggle between anthropogenic global warming and livable ecology?

How much mercury have the screaming hoards at the United Center ingested in recent years, and with what neurological consequences (including perhaps the sort that might lead some of them to make Nazi-like salutes while celebrating Chicago goals)? And how much longer will environmental conditions permit Chicago area residents to attend sporting events and indeed to find and drink healthy water, under savage assault by the hydraulic fracturing practices that BP and other oil companies are employing across the nation in the name of growth and expansion – the current version of the same cancer that wiped out Black Hawk’s people and in whose service murderous Black Hawk helicopters are deployed abroad by the “Great Fathers” in Washington today.

My guess would be that the first Tribune item – the Hawks celebration photo and its caption – was viewed by at least 20 times as many the number of readers who went through the BP-Indiana story. We have long been trained – ala Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, and Neal Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death – to favor fun and happy news and cultural fare over “negative” stories and harsh realities like pollution, imperial slaughter, government surveillance, racism, and climate destruction.

Rectifying these problems of empire, racism, inequality, eco-cide, mass-infantilization, and thought control will not be easy. They require dedicated organization and activism for democratic and revolutionary change over many years and decades. In the meantime, it would be nice if Justin Bieber would watch where he steps and what he writes in the guest-books of Holocaust survivors. It would be useful if Americans within and beyond the Chicago area would find time to learn a bit more than what they have so far been encouraged to find out about the real history of their regions and nation and the ever more polluted Earth we all share.

Paul Street’s many book include Racial Oppression in the Global Metropolis: A Living Black Chicago History (Rowman&Littlefield, 2007) and They Rule: The 1% v. Democracy (Paradigm, January 2014). 

Selected Endnotes 

1. Alan Duke, “Justin Bieber Hopes Anne Frank Would Have Been a ‘Belieber,’” CNN (April 16, 2013), 

2. Uncle Sam’s record of atrocity since Germany’s surrender in May 1945 is daunting. Highlights include Hiroshima, Nagasaki, the famine-inducing flooding of North Korean rice fields, the killing of 3 million Indochinese, the murderous terrorization of Latin America, and the murder of more than 2 million Iraqis since 1990. The record is consistent with a long pre-WWII history of Caucasian butchery dating from British and Dutch “settlement” of North America and up through the United States’ original dirty wars in Central America and the Caribbean during the opening decades of the last century. For useful compendiums, see William Blum, Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower (Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press, 2005); Ward Churchill, On the Justice of Roosting Chickens: Reflections on the Consequence of U.S. Imperial Arrogance and Criminality (Oakland, CA: AK Press, 2003). 

3. “Justin Bieber Poses With Stanley Cup, Walks on Indian Head Logo,” CBS Chicago (July 10, 2013),; Chuck Schilken, “Justin Bieber Disrespects Black Hawks by Stepping on Logo,” Los Angeles Times (July 10, 2013),,0,5017255.story; Scott Powers, “Justin Bieber Stands on Logo,” (updated July 10, 2013),; Greg Pollowitz, “Justin Bieber Desecrates Chicago Blackhawks Logo,” National Review Online (July 10, 2013),; “Justin Bieber Riles Stanley Cup Champion by Treading on Logo,” Sporting News NHL (July 10, 2013), The number of stories and commentaries one can find on the Bieber-Blackhawks logo incident is a little mind-numbing: I got 610,000 results for the following Google search: “Justin Bieber and Blackhawks logo.” 

4. Kerry Trask, Black Hawk: The Battle for the Heart of America (Hol7, 2007), 28-29. 

5. Ian Barnes, The Historical Atlas of Native Americans (New York: Chartwell, 2009), 267. 

6. Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the United States, 1492-Present (New York: Harperperennial, 2003), 131. 

7. Wakefield’s History of the Black Hawk War (Jacksonville, IL: Calvin Goudy Press, 1834), full text available at 

8. Zinn, People’s History, 131. 

9. Wakefield’s History

10. Zinn, People’s History, 130-31. 

11. Zinn, 130. 

12. The Commonwealth, Frankfort, Kentucky, July 2, 1833,] 

13. The Commonwealth, Frankfort, Kentucky, July 2, 1833,] 

14.: Robert Spinney, City of Big Shoulders: A History of Chicago [DeKalb, IL: Northern Illinois University Press, 2000], 28. 

15. Ward Churchill, Since Predator Came: Notes From the Struggle for Native American Liberation (Oakland, CA: AK Press, 2005). 

16. John Tolland, Adolf Hitler; The Definitive Biography, (New York, 1991), 202. 

17. Schilken, “Justin Bieber Disrespects.” 


19. Ticket price inflation and wage stagnation have kicked out many of the working class funs that I remember attending Chicago Black Hawks (and Chicago White Sox, Chicago Cubs, and Chicago Bulls) games during the late 1960s. One small indication of this changing class composition came when an NHL referee preposterously took away a winning Chicago goal in the waning moments of the third period of the seventh game between the Blackhawks and their hated rivals the Detroit Red Wings in the NHL Western Conference semi-finals last May. The game was played in Chicago. A Chicago Blackhawks crowd confronted with such an egregious offense by an official in the 1960s would have littered the ice with debris and stopped play for a long period of time. Riotous behavior might well have ensued. The referee would have thought twice about following through with his (very bad) decision in the old Chicago Stadium of that time. In 2013, the predominantly well-off coordinator class fans at the United Center stayed shamefully controlled in the face of the referee’s horrid decision. Fortunately for them and the referee’s career, the Blackhawks won the overtime handily. 

20. ”HAWKEYTOWN BLACKHAWKS 3, BRUINS 1 ONE TO GO,” Chicago Tribune (June 23, 2013), Section 1, 1. 

21. .Michael Hawthorne, “Indiana Gives BP a Pass on Mercury,” Chicago Tribune (June 23, 2013), Section 1, 1, 14.

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By | 2013-08-08T10:58:51+00:00 July 25th, 2013|Articles|