On August 29, 1970, a “Chicano Moratorium” against the war in Vietnam was held in East L.A. Loyola-Marymount film student Tom Myrdahl shot this documentary, capturing the events that unfolded as law enforcement and protesters clashed in and around Laguna Park. This film has not been seen in nearly 40 years. Tom, who is still a working cameraman in Los Angeles, is putting this historic film on the web as a tribute to the brave citizens of East L.A. who came together 40 years ago to voice their dissent against the Vietnam War.
“I always find it amazing considering the fight against Native mascotry is something I’ve been aware of my entire life,” she said. “My parents protested against it in college in the late ’60s and early ’70s. When I was a student at Dartmouth College in the 1990s we Native students were forced to confront this issue. It was at Dartmouth that I first met Suzan Harjo, long-time Native activist who has led the fight against Native people being used as mascots. And of course, National Congress of American Indians, the largest representative body of tribes (two of my dad’s family members were former executive directors) first began an initiative to get rid of Native mascots in 1968.
“This idea that the fight against the mascotting of Native people is something new and led by white folks is an oddly insular and navel-gazing way to understand the issue—and yet another way of cutting Native people out of the American discourse about things that matter to us. By reframing the issue this way, the Washington NFL team continues to make real, modern Native people to disappear, much as their mascot does. It’s a continuation of the extinguishment of the Native voice and the appropriation of our identity and lands. This constant denial of our existence that leads Native youth to feel disconnected from American society and exacerbates the burdens of poverty; Native youth have three times the suicide rate of their American peers of any ethnicity. It also leads to bad policy decisions by non-Native politicians and poor funding for the very real needs of our communities.”
Dave Zirin, The Assassinating of Native American Voices by the Cowards Palin, Ditka and Snyder