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American Indian Movement of Colorado Media Release

September 25, 2005

Charlie Brennan's Rocky Mountain News September 24 article, "Columbus Parade could see less strife," uses the opinions of two Denver mayoral political appointees-Lucia Guzman and Darius Smith-as the basis to claim that there will be little or no opposition to the Convoy of Conquest this year. Their opinions and Charlie Brennan's slant are not informed by any actual knowledge of the American Indian Movement and Transform Columbus Day Alliance (AIM/TCD) organizing and are more reflective of wishful thinking.

Though Charlie Brennan asserts that "some American Indians and their sympathizers are determined to follow a less confrontational path this year," he only offers the opinion of one American Indian as proof. The willing participant in Brennan's game of pitting "responsible indians" against "hostile indians" is Darius Smith, identified as the President of the Colorado Indian Education Association. In a professional journalistic breach, Brennan fails to reveal that Darius Smith is also employed by the City of Denver as the director of the Denver Anti-Discrimination Office (DADO). In essence, Darius Smith is a political appointee of the mayor of Denver, whom Colorado AIM has repeatedly asked to take a moral stand by denouncing the celebration of an Indian killer. This omission leaves the impression that Smith has no personal, economic, or political interest in taking the side of the mayor on the Columbus Day issue.

Another source used in the article is Darius Smith's supervisor, Lucia Guzman. Lucia Guzman was also appointed to her position by Mayor John Hickenlooper and serves as the Executive Director of Human Rights and Community Relations. Lucia Guzman states that "this group is saying enough is enough" and also claims unidentified protesters have told her "enough is enough." For the record, Guzman has not spoken with TCD nor
has she attempted to mediate any sort of resolution involving Colorado AIM. Instead, she and her employee, Darius Smith, have chosen to criticize the efforts of TCD and Colorado AIM while remaining silent about the actual parade and Mayor Hickenlooper's refusal to take a moral stand on the issue.

Charlie Brennan violates the basic ethics of journalism by failing to reveal that one of his primary sources is a mayoral appointee or that both city employees quoted have a vested interest in advancing the position of the city administration. Both Darius Smith and Lucia Guzman violate the spirit of the Human Rights and Community Relations office by attempting to marginalize the efforts of a grass-roots alliance to transform Columbus Day.

Once again, on Friday, October 7th, with the All Nations/Four Directions March, and on Saturday, October 8th for the protest of the Columbus Parade, Colorado AIM and the Transform Columbus Day Alliance will join arms to resist racism in Denver, and will commit ourselves to a more positive future for our children.

On behalf of the Leadership Council of the American Indian Movement of Colorado:

Leslie Andrews, Vicci Anderson, Carol Berry, Robert Chanate, Josh Dillabaugh, Mark Freeland, Brenda Jenkins, Glenn Morris, Shannon Pangani, Michelle Running Wolf, and TroyLynn Yellow Wood

On behalf of the Elders' Council of the American Indian Movement of Colorado:

Yank Bad Hand, Russell Means, Tink Tinker, and Margaret Tyon

Contact phone number: 303-832-2544

Colorado AIM Blog


2005 Transform Columbus Day Alliance