Robert Coltte (Bernard Red Cherries) is Dead

August 28, 2012

According to a number of published sources as well as my own research, Bernard Red Cherries/Robert Coltte is dead.

The Social Security Death Index (SSDI) listing:

Name: Robert Coltte
State of Issue: Montana
Date of Birth: Wednesday  September  05, 1962
Date of Death: Saturday  August  18, 2012
Est. Age at Death: 49 years, 11 months, 13 days
Confirmation: Verified

At least one published source lists August 16, 2012 as the date of death but I tend to believe the SSDI listing is probably more accurate. All listings seem to agree he died somewhere in North Carolina, possibly Winston-Salem or Mooresville.

Those are the bare facts. I’m not going to link to his obituary because it is full of misinformation and outright lies. Obituaries and memorial webpages are not factchecked. Even I can see much of the information in the obituary is false.

While I have very high confidence that Coltte/Red Cherries is indeed deceased considering the number of sources reporting it, I’m still looking for firsthand information or primary documents such as a death certificate. If anyone can provide these, please contact me at: All emails and documents will be considered confidential unless you give me explicit permission to post or republish. I will also publish information without naming my source, if that is desired.

Lest my readers think I’m being overly cautious, I will just note that sometime after Red Cherries did prison time in Nebraska in 1987-88 and before the next arrest (that I know of) in 1997, he legally changed his name to Robert Coltte. I don’t have concrete proof but I suspect this was, at least in part, an attempt to hide his previous criminal record.  Other court documents show he has used additional aliases that I had not previously listed and had petitioned the court to have those documents sealed. Some of the threats that Coltte directed at people were to keep all his aliases from being known.  Given his history of deception and violence, I am unwilling to give a definitive and final opinion about his death until I see valid documentation.

In the last decade of his life, he was wanted on serious felony charges, yet during that time period he was repeatedly released from custody and even had parts of his criminal record suspiciously removed from legal databases. There are only a few situations where law enforcement is willing to do this sort of favor for violent felons. It’s unlikely that conclusive evidence will show up on this matter but COINTELPRO provides an instructive context, particularly the parts of the program which implement informants and agents provocateurs.


Sockpuppets of Robert Coltte (Bernard Red Cherries)

August 26, 2012

During the various public discussions in the Spring and Summer of 2009, Robert Coltte/Bernard Red Cherries seemed to have some defenders. Some of these appeared to be family members of Coltte/Red Cherries. Others appeared to be various other people. Closer examination revealed that all but two or three of these “people” were in fact one person: Robert Coltte/Bernard Red Cherries.

I’m not going to give too many technical details of how I’ve arrived at these conclusions. But let’s put it this way: Coltte not only had a very distinctive writing style, he used the exact same computer to post comments in his own defense, under a variety of aliases.  Some of the aliases he used were the names of real people, who were in another state or even another country at the time he posted from this computer, pretending to be these people. Sometimes he even signed with an alias but used an email address known to be his. If I say a particular name is Coltte/Red Cherries posting under that name, I have a very high confidence level that this is true. If the evidence seems ambivalent, I will say so. [NB: I am not an expert at intertextual analysis and the relatively small writing sample sizes of some of these writers makes this a less than ideal method. What I do have is a large and varied selection of original writing definitely by Coltte/Red Cherries for comparison. When combined with internet traffic logging and tracking, I can often be very certain of my conclusions.]

In Part 3: Comments from Pudgy Indian 2 – “We’ve Been Had”, the following people posting are Coltte/Red Cherries: “anonymous…isn’t it a classic” and “anonymous known only to Lois”.  In Part 5: Comments from Pudgy Indian 2 – “Kill the Messenger”,  “Wilbur Hawk,” “A friend of the Red Cherries F,” and “Lori Red Cherries” are all the same person posting, with IP address and intertextual analysis indicating Coltte/Red Cherries as the writer.

“anonymous2 – since everyine el” and “anonymous2 – ” are not obviously Coltte/Red Cherries but the writing contains some of his distinctive stylistic quirks along with further threats to his victims. I lack certain data to reach a definitive ID on these writers but inter-textual analysis indicates they are both probably Coltte/Red Cherries.

While Sandra (Sandy) Lipe, who comments in Part 7: Comments from Pudgy Indian 2 – “Apologies”, and Casandra (Cassie) Mehlow (Part 3: Comments from Pudgy Indian 2 – “We’ve Been Had”) are identifiable real people, in the past Coltte has posted in his own defense pretending to be one of these women. The argument for these two writers/posters here actually being the people they claim to be is that neither post actually defends him. Mehlow’s post in particular simply states that he wasn’t violently abusive to her all of the time (only some of the time), and that he had apologized for some of the abuse. As snapshots of abusive relationships and manipulated victims, these comments are hardly a very good defense or even a very good denial of Coltte’s alleged abusive behavior of other women. Additionally, recent court records indicate that Coltte pleaded no contest to a domestic violence assault that involved one of his known victims. (See updated Arrests page)

This is not an exhaustive examination of the comments “defending” Coltte/Red Cherries. It is clear that in the vast majority of instances, Coltte/Red Cherries is pretending to be different people in order to give the illusion that he has supporters willing to vouch for his character. In reality, he is almost the sole person speaking in his own defense through false accounts and names.

Warrants for Robert Coltte (Bernard Red Cherries)

June 13, 2011

Here is my dilemma:  I have in my possession copies of official documents which I’m not comfortable publishing on The Abuse Papers. I have verified the authenticity of these criminal complaints against Robert Coltte/Bernard Red Cherries to my satisfaction. But since one of the five counts is for rape, I cannot in good conscience publish too many identifying details of the location or the time frame in the complaints here. There are rape shield laws to protect the identity of the victim among other considerations. Violations of rape shield laws are taken very seriously by the courts. I place a very high priority on protecting victims from further harm as well. In almost every case I have knowledge of, Coltte/Red Cherries has continued to harass victims, sometimes for decades. His criminal record certainly shows him capable of violence.

Until now, I have done my best to minimize my interpretation of the evidence of Coltte/Red Cherries’ criminal record. I’ve provided screen shots and links to public records wherever possible rather than have my reader trust my reporting or opinion. I can’t do that in this instance. To remove identifying details on the original criminal complaint documents to my satisfaction, I would have to obscure the overwhelming majority of each page in the series.

Instead, I am going to quote from these documents, removing (redacting) any sensitive information which might identify a victim.

The first criminal complaint names the defendant as “Bernard L Red Cherries Jr.” of “Portland, OR” [includes last known specific street address of the defendant, confirmed but redacted];  DOB –/–/1962 [month and day redacted to prevent identity theft but the date of birth (DOB) on these criminal complaints is exactly the same as the DOB on all prison, arrest, and court records for Coltte/Red Cherries I have seen (e.g. here, here, here, and here among others.)] There are four (4) separate counts of specific offenses listed in this document. This also appears to be a warrant for the arrest of the defendant on these charges.

  • Count 1: “THREAT TO COMMIT CRIME… On [date redacted] did threaten to commit a crime against the person or property of another, to wit: murder, in violation of [specific law redacted].”
  • Count 2:  “THREAT TO COMMIT CRIME… On [date redacted] did threaten to commit a crime against the person or property of another, to wit: murder, in violation of [specific law redacted].”
  • Count 3: “RAPE… On [date redacted] did assault a person with the intent to commit rape, and did commit rape upon such person, in violation of [specific law redacted]. …upon conviction, must register as a sex offender pursuant to [specific law redacted].”
  • Count 4: “A&B… On [date redacted] did assault and beat [redacted], in violation of [specific law redacted].”

A second criminal complaint names the defendant again as “Bernard L Red Cherries Jr.” of “Portland, OR”;  DOB –/–/1962 [see DOB redaction note above.] There is one (1) count of a specific offense listed in this document.

  • Count 1: “ABUSE PREVENTION ORDER, VIOLATE [specific law redacted] On [date redacted] did fail to comply with a court order to refrain from abuse, to vacate the household, multiple family dwelling or workplace, to have no contact with the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s minor child(ren), or to surrender any license to carry firearms and/or firearms identification cards which the defendant held, or to surrender all firearms, rifles, shotguns, machine guns and ammunition which the defendant then controlled, owned or possessed, issued under the provisions of  [specific laws redacted], or a protection order issued by another jurisdiction, as defined by [specific laws redacted].”

In summary, these documents show that Coltte/Red Cherries is charged with two counts of threats to commit murder, one count of rape, one count of assault and battery, and one count of violating an abuse prevention order. My best information is that the warrant for his arrest is still active as of July, 2012.

Aliases of Robert Coltte (Bernard Red Cherries)

March 9, 2011

In the course of researching Robert Coltte / Bernard Red Cherries, I found a number of aliases for him. I think it is worth noting these aliases listed on official documents, most significantly on Department of Corrections (DOC) records. On the Oregon Department of Corrections Probation record (1998-2001) for Robert Coltte, the following alias names are listed:

  • Bernard Leonard Red Cherries
  • Robert Oliver Coltte
  • Bernard T. Red Cheri Jr
  • Bernard Redcherries
  • Bernard Red Cherrys
  • Robert Colette

From the Montana DOC record (1997) is this slight variation:

  • Bernard Leonard Redcherries

A different Montana DOC record includes the addition of “Jr” to some names:

  • Bernard Redcherries Jr
  • Bernard Leonard Redcherries Jr

From less official sources, I’ve also found several other names he has allegedly used, names which are completely different from the variations above. For the moment, since I don’t have solid documentary proof of the connections between him and those names, I’m refraining from printing them here. If I find confirming evidence of the connection between the names and Coltte / Red Cherries, I’ll add them to this post.

Addition, July 20, 2011: According to this Multnomah County Oregon court docket, the name “Robert L Coltte” is also an alias.

Addition, August 25, 2012: I’ve found a few more aliases. Some seem to be mispellings but they are all connected to him in documents.

  • Robert Coltee
  • Robert Coltle
  • Bernard J Redcherries

Addition, September 9, 2012: These additional names have also been used by Coltte/Red Cherries.

  • Bernard Laroche
  • Aanhosee’ (Swift Hawk)
  • Chirp
  • Bernard Walksalong (or Walks Along)


Transcript of Eugene Johnson on WSLR, June 6, 2009: Part 1 of 3

August 3, 2009

Here is a link to a transcript of Eugene Johnson’s appearance on Sal White Horse Serbin’s radio show “Indigenous Sounds” in June, 2009: I found the entire transcript interesting in relation to this whole discussion so I’m reprinting the transcript here in full. I’ve broken it into three parts because of the length. Note: When Martha Alvarez speaks of “Robert” in part 2, she is referring to Robert Coltte, aka Bernard Red Cherries. This is part 1 of 3.

“Indigenous Sounds”
WSLR, Sarasota, Florida – June 6, 2009
Sal White Horse Serbin and Eugene Johnson

This is a transcript of the first hour of the radio show “Indigenous Sounds” on WSLR, originally broadcast and streamed live on the web on June 6, 2009. “Indigenous Sounds” is hosted by Sal White Horse Serbin. A copy of the .MP3 audio file used for transcription can be found at The file name is IndigenousSoundsWSLR-EugeneJohnson-June-06-2009-1of2.mp3

TRANSCRIBER’S NOTES: Times are in [minutes:seconds] and within straight brackets []. Times are only accurate in relation to the specific sound file named above. This is NOT an absolutely verbatim transcript. False sentence starts are mostly eliminated as are word fumbles and transitional clauses of basically nil significance to the expressed verbal meaning. Arbitrary paragraph breaks have been inserted for ease of reading. At a few points, I was unable to definitively transcribe particular words. My phonetic approximation is followed by a (?) to indicate this circumstance.

Sal “White Horse” Serbin: …just want to break into the song. As promised, I have on the telephone Eugene Johnson from KBOO in Portland, Oregon. Eugene, you there?

Eugene Johnson: Yeah I am. Can you hear me?

Sal: Yes, we can hear you just fine.

Eugene: OK.

Sal: And there was some controversy between you and Chief Bernard Red Cherries and he came on the radio show two weeks ago and gave his side of the story and we wanted to give you the opportunity to offer your side.

Eugene: OK, sounds good. First I’d like to let people know a little about myself so we can kind of understand who I am and where I’m coming from.

[04:24] My name is Eugene Douglas Johnson. My mother was Joanne Bonnie Brooks who was Finnish, English, Dutch and Scots Irish. My father was Louis Wilbur Johnson. He passed away back in ’81. He was Alsea, Kutcat(?) and Lower Umpqua. My paternal grandparents were Violet Johnson, formerly Smith. She was Alsea and Klickitat. My paternal grandfather was Zulas(?) Johnson and he was supposedly the last Chief of the Lower Umpqua. I’m a member of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz and I’m also a poet, a blogger, a radio show host and a TV show host. I’ve written a book of poetry that is out of print called “Tremble In Fear Before the Soft Pudgy Indian.” I’ve produced a radio show for KBOO in Portland, Oregon for about 14, 15 years called “Mitakuye Oyasin.” I had some really good co-hosts throughout those years. One was James Craven who’s the Solicitor General of the Blackfoot Traditional Government. He’s also the head of the Business Department at Clark College up in Vancouver, Washington. He also indicted the United States and Canada for the crimes of genocide and has been pushing for a hearing at the UN ever since. Another co-host I had was… my wife was my co-host for a while. Another co-host I had was David Liberty who was a former Ph.D. candidate at the University of Oregon for archeology, anthropology. He resigned about six months before he was going to do his dissertation because of the racism around the Kenniwick Man case, which I’m not sure a lot of people know about but I’m assuming that a lot of people do. Currently my co-host… “Mitakuye Oyasin” is now a collective, the radio show is now a collective and my co-host is Dean Lookinghawk who’s a web designer and an AIM member, and also he’s Lakota.

[06:27] On “Mitakuye Oyasin” we’ve interviewed folks like Vine Deloria Jr, long before he passed away of course, Ward Churchill many times, Andrea Smith author of “Conquest,” a book about sexual violence in Native America, Joy Harjo who is a musician and poet, Arigon Starr who is a Nammy winner and musician, Karen Greenberg who is one of the editors of “The Torture Papers” which is documentation about the torture around the Abu Ghraib story. One of my favorite interviews was a boy soldier from Sierra Leone, his name is Ismael Beah, who wrote a book called “A Long Way Gone.” The TV show is hosted by David Liberty, and I recently got back on there. I was the host for about 5 or 6 years. There’s also a young man named Adam, and I forget his last name. Sorry Adam if you’re listening. I’ve done all sorts of stuff on that TV show. I also write a blog which is pretty much where this problem really started with Bernard, which is called, in which I discuss all sorts of topics from fluffy flower photographs to serious issues of genocide, rape, child abuse and so on. I’ve never claimed to be representative of Native Americans, I just wanted to make that clear. That would mean someone would have to have asked me to do that for people and I was never asked. The only person I claim to represent is myself. I am a Native American and I deal a lot with Native American issues.

[08:07] As far as Bernard Red Cherries goes, about two years ago he asked to come on “Mitakuye Oyasin.” He was in search of his daughter Della who had ran away from state custody. He hadn’t found out about it until about 30 days after she had ran away. I didn’t think about it then but a former co-host did and informed me but that would mean that he had no contact legally with Della and the state had no legal recourse to inform him that this was going on. So I didn’t think of that as a red flag or anything at the time. Also when they did find her, Della was 15 at the time, when they did find her, Bernard came back on the show and said that when they asked her whether she wanted to go home, she threw a major fit and refused to go. Those were like little red flags that I see now but didn’t really think about then.

[09:13] So about 4 or 5 months ago, Martha Alvarez who was his stepdaughter started emailing us because me and a former host had put messages up on our blog, looking for Della also shortly after Bernard had come on. Listening to her testimony, at least reading it in the emails, and what she was alleging happened to her when she was in Bernard’s care… A couple of the things I’ve studied for the last 14, 15 years is genocide and child abuse and how it affects people even after it happens, how it affects people intergenerationally. For example, like how do Indians feel now from the genocide that happened to us physically which probably actually the physical part probably ended with the boarding schools which I think were really ended in about 1970. So what happens to the generations and how we act and behave since then.

[10:23] So I’ve made these studies and I’ve read lots and lots of books like “Co-Dependent No More,” “The Verbally Abusive Relationship.” I read lots about various holocausts and genocides all over the world including in Native America.

I thought about it for a while and I started going over in my head all the patterns and everything Martha was talking about and I decided to make a post on my blog because I felt that we’d been had. I felt that Bernard, I believed that Bernard had used the radio show to make his case more legitimate and so whatever the state had against him, which they must have had something against him if they didn’t inform him for over 30 days that his daughter ran away. I had a legitimate… I should have gone to him personally, is what I should have done and I didn’t do that and I regret not doing so. But also I’m glad it’s coming up because it helps deal with abuse in Native America, in Indian Country. It gives kind of a face to it, probably not a face that really should happen but it’s there now. I’m hoping that this will bring up issues about how to deal with it better instead of keeping it quiet because in Indian Country, most people decide just to keep it quiet. I’m finding out that a lot of people I know have done things in the past, I don’t know if they are doing it now but they definitely had done things in the past, and nobody has ever said anything. So I’m kind of hoping that these things will lead to abuse prevention, help for victim survivors and help for people who are abusive also. That will come up with time.

[12:19] So Martha emailed me with these things and I put a post on my blog saying that I felt like we’d been had by Bernard and that he’s been accused of abuse from a former stepchild. At that time I wasn’t using her name because I didn’t really have permission at that time. I left it at that and for a couple of weeks I only got a few comments, I didn’t see anything. That was probably three or four months ago that I put that post up. Then about May 7th I think it was, I got a call from Robert Vanpelt who’s a fellow Siletz tribal member, saying that he was asked by Bernard Red Cherries to talk to me about that post on my blog. I said I hadn’t gone and looked at it in a long time, I didn’t get emails on my comments or anything of what was going on. I said, well, what if I take it off, would that satisfy Bernard? He said he thought it would. He didn’t say it definitely would, he said he thought it would. I said I won’t be able to get onto the Internet until the next day and so I’ll take it done then. When I took it down, there were a lot of comments on there then.

[13:34] Martha Alvarez had submitted comments from emails that she had sent to me and a fellow blogger. And then, after that was all sorts of crazy abusive crap coming at her and her mother and others. And so I read this stuff and thought, OK, they are going to ask me to make an apology and I don’t know if I’m going to do that. Sure enough the next day I got a phone call from Robert Vanpelt and he asked me to make an apology… or he sent me an email, that what it was. He asked for an apology. The demand for the apology was coming from a group called the Red Brotherhood Warrior Society, who I assume is out of Oklahoma, and Oklahoma AIM. I only know of two members of the Red Brotherhood Warrior Society, and that’s Bernard Red Cherries and Ralph Birdshead Jr. Ralph Birdshead I don’t know any other way or anything. I can’t find anything out about Oklahoma AIM. I’ve even asked people who know old AIMsters, who’ve been asking for me these old people and nobody seems to know who’s in Oklahoma AIM or what they do or anything.

[14:52] So I had been reluctant to apologize and so I put a post on my blog calling out these guys, not bringing up the issue. I said let’s not bring up the issue that we have between us. But I put my name and face behind everything I say. That way if there’s something wrong with what I say, things like this will come up. If I’m proven to be wrong, I will admit it. It’s happened several times in the past with the radio show and my blog and other things so I admit it. Because I’m fallible, I make mistakes, I understand it.

[15:28] But Martha kept on emailing us and talking about what happened to her and stuff and I couldn’t bring myself to make an apology for accusations that she’s making. I just brought up the fact that he is accused of being abusive and these accusations have come from Martha Alvarez who is a former stepdaughter of his which was also further proven by some of those horrific abusive comments that happened on the original post.

[16:01] So I did these little battles with folks who were coming up. I believe some of the folks were actually Bernard but I can’t prove that. You can be anybody you want to on the Internet and I’m not a person that does that kind of thing. In fact there’s forums I won’t participate in because I can’t use my name. I will immediately be removed from those groups, or my comments will be, because I use my name. And I just can’t do something like that, it bothers the heck out of me. I tried a few times but it just bothers me so I don’t do it.

(Continues in Part 2 of 3)

Transcript of Eugene Johnson on WSLR, June 6, 2009: Part 2 of 3

August 3, 2009

This is part 2 of 3 parts of a transcript of Eugene Johnson’s appearance on Sal White Horse Serbin’s radio show “Indigenous Sounds” in June, 2009. This is a link to the complete text file of all three parts:

[16:40] Eugene Johnson: So anyways, about May 14th Robert Vanpelt showed up at the radio station where I was answering phones for the pledge drive. And he gave me this letter from Ralph Birdshead Jr. And what I was expecting from Robert Vanpelt was for him to come and say, “This is what’s upsetting Bernard and this what he’d like and what do you have to say to that?” and have him go back and forth until like Bernard and I defined comfortable ground to talk with each other, is what I expected. But what I got instead was the fact that he gave me this letter that was again demanding the apology that I wasn’t about to give. It was signed by Ralph Birdshead and I was supposed to say in my apology that these lies that I’m putting forth are really hurting all these people involved. But I’m not lying. Martha Alvarez, who is willing to come forward, has accused Bernard Red Cherries of abuse.

[17:48] I have an email which I’m going to read a little from in which she describes it but I’m going to continue with what went on at this meeting at the moment. What happened at this meeting, as he handed this to me I was informed that I was now banished from all Native American events and that Portland AIM, who I know some bad stuff about too, which was also covered up by Robert Vanpelt but I won’t go into the details of that, are going to be the ones that enforce this.

So now I’m supposedly not going to be allowed to go to powwows or public speaking events where Indians are speaking because Portland AIM will be banishing me for coming out and saying these things about Bernard, which all I really stated was that he is accused of abuse, which he is, by Martha Alvarez.

Then Robert Vanpelt made these veiled threats at me and if you know me you know I don’t respond to that type of stuff very well. What he said was that he’d hate to see anything happen to me or anybody I know. At that point, I kind of ramped up my stuff on my blog. Which by the way if anybody goes to my blog you’ll see there aren’t any posts about this other than me being on your show because I started getting in fear of the people that I know coming to harm, not necessarily from Bernard but from people in Portland AIM. And so that’s what really got on my nerves.

[19:31] It’s one thing to threaten me, big deal. I don’t care, you can threaten me all you want but sometimes people know where to look for a weakness. And in that case, with me, it’s the ones I know. There were verbal threats on my blog in the comments sections that were starting to come out towards some of the people I know. That’s when I took everything off. Like I said, it really upset me and bothered me.

[20:00] I’m just trying to put this behind me and trying to get into a good space and deal with other issues in my personal life. It’s really hard because this keeps coming up. It would not even be public, Bernard would not even have come on your show had Robert Vanpelt actually been a mediator between us. All this stuff on the Internet and all these people hating me and all this other stuff would not have even happened if we had good mediation between each other, somebody talking. But at the same time, I’m kinda glad it did come up because… I was told in the letter to do my own investigation and I found out all sorts of things. Like Bernard Red Cherries did time in 1986 for kidnapping. It wasn’t really called kidnapping, it was like holding someone against their will or something like that. He did 15 months for that. He was also charged with robbery in that but the robbery charge was dropped. He was also arrested in El Reno [Oklahoma] for drunk driving in January [2009].

[21:01] So I’m finding out all these things and then I’m getting other people, who want to remain anonymous because they’re scared, coming forward and telling me a whole bunch of other things about him that are pretty horrific. And not all of these people are people who’ve been involved with him in his family. But none of them want to come forward and to protect them I’m not going to say anything about their issues because I don’t want anybody going after them for saying anything about this. Because there’s definitely a feeling that people are coming after me or people I know about this issue because I’ve gone public with it.

[21:43] So that meeting ended. I wrapped up stuff on my blog. I’m just pretty tired of this. I’m not one who shies away from controversy either. I’ve been involved with all sorts of stuff like this but this one seems a hell of lot more dangerous than anything else I’ve been involved [in]. My wife joked with me shortly after all this started coming down. She laughed at me and she said “Yeah, you thought that after all this time it would be white people that killed you.” She goes, “White people love you. It’s Indians, Indians who are going to kill you.”

[22:20] I had all this coming up. Then I heard through some of the people that I’ve been talking with that Bernard had been on your May 23 [2009] show. And that he had said that I had been proven a liar, which I haven’t been a proven a liar because Martha Alvarez is till willing to come forward and talk about all the things that he did to her when she was his stepchild as well as things he did to her mother and so on and so forth. She still accuses him of abuse. That’s an accusation. It hasn’t gone to court or anything which all those people are saying “legal proof, legal proof.” Well, testimony is legal proof but testimony doesn’t necessarily get you convicted.

[23:07] So I heard that. Then I also heard that Bernard said we came to some sort of settlement, but we never came to any sort of settlement. All we came to was the fact that all of a sudden I have three different organizations coming after me: The Red Brotherhood Warrior Society, Oklahoma AIM, and Portland AIM. I know some of the people at Portland AIM so I know who to look out for there at least. And so all of these things kind of wretched things up. If anybody wants to email me about this or talk to me about this personally, my email is

Again, I avoid going through certain details but Martha Alvarez has given me permission to use her name and everything else. She tired of living scared. That’s what happens with victims. A lot of victims… most people will never talk about what happened to them, ever. But there’s a few that finally just get tired of feeling that and they will start talking and Martha Alvarez is one of them.

[24:24] This what she has had to say in one of her emails to me:

[24:30] “Robert was a controlling man. When I was a little girl, I remember him being nice, almost like a savior when we moved to Montana. We were in a group home in Warm Springs and apparently it was Robert’s idea to come and get us. He told my mother to get the kids and bring them back here. She did. After a while that man went away. As to the extent of our abuse, I remember the most because I was older, about 7 or so. My little brothers were 2 and 5 when we moved there. He abused us in every form except sexual. He whipped us with anything, 2x4s, extension cords, belts. And not just our butts. I know the difference. I recall being drug through the house on numerous occasions, pulled up off the ground by my hair, yelled at, threatened, belittled, etc.

[25:24] “The worst for me was the mind games. He would always tell us to go to our room… the back room and we would know what was coming, almost like walking down Death Row. And most of the time we didn’t even know what we had done. On one occasion, my brother Tommy Joe and I were in the back room and Robert walked in with his belt in one hand. We were both crying, of course, and he holds out his finger to me and says “pull it.” Tommy looks at me and vice versa. We look at him. I just stood there looking at him. He turns to my little brother and says “pull it.” Tommy, still crying, put out his hand and pulled his extended finger. Robert farted and started laughing and said “get out of here.”

[26:09] “He also liked to use guns, rifles on my mother. I actually saw this. My mother has never really mentioned anything else but that about what happened to her behind the doors. We were made to call him Dad. I didn’t want to but we didn’t have a choice. When people use the expression “walking on eggshells,” we really did. He would tell us not to go outside when he wasn’t there and we would listen. That’s the type of control he had over us. We weren’t allowed to talk at the dinner table, only he was. We were the family that has been seen and not heard, truly. (This was confirmed by an anonymous source also.) It felt like we were there for appearances. Looking back now, I was always the defiant one. I don’t think I realized that until now.”

[27:01] And that was part of what she had to say about her life with Bernard. But what I really want to point out here is that abuse is, it is rampant in Indian Country. The way Indians have dealt with it for many, many years is to just… They either avoid the person, I’ve heard of about this happening in various places, I’ve had to deal with this in certain forms. They avoid the people. They sometimes, like with this, they go after the messenger. But mostly they know that the one person or another has been abusive and so they basically try to avoid them or have limited contact with the person.

[27:51] What I would like to see happen is, because there are so many damaged Indians from abuse… and a lot of the abuse… I talked with Ward Churchill on “Mitakuye Oyasin” a week or so ago, a week and a half ago, and I asked him to talk on that because he wrote this excellent book called “Kill the Indian, Save the Man” about residential and boarding school abuses of Indians. A lot of abuse stems from that era because of the horrific abuse children had to go through then. And at times, it doesn’t happen with everybody, but at times it gets passed on. One person who was abused will abuse from time to time. There is a percentage of that. Personally, although there’s not any documentation that I have read, I believe that that type of abuse was deliberate because people knew then that it would continue throughout our communities.

[28:52] And so now we as indigenous people, well, not just Indians, it happens to all communities really. But as indigenous people that is where a lot of the abuse behavior that happens now comes from. That’s a big part of the history of what has happened to our people. In my opinion, and I could be wrong because nobody has even… Here at the Bradley-Angle House, I interviewed somebody, a woman, it’s a battered women’s shelter, about 5 or 6 years ago, who had started a program that was specifically designed for indigenous peoples but it could help anybody. I thought that was really good. I plan on hunting that person down again and seeing if I can’t get her back on the air if she still works there. It’s an issue that really we need to find ways of dealing with it. I keep on thinking of abuse prevention programs, teaching our children about it, what it looks like, what it feels like, how to prevent it, where to find support if it’s happening to you. Victim/survivors could… people who are in it need a safe place to go and people who have survived it and are no longer in it definitely need help because there is a psychological damage that is sometimes even physical. There is definitely a psychological damage that goes with abuse, having that terror put into you.

[30:37] If you talk to veterans, you know PTSD, if you talk to vets… I’m listening to a great book right now called “My Father’s Secret War.” It’s about a guy from World War II who was a spy and he didn’t talk about anything he had seen until he was in his 80s and he saw some pretty horrible stuff.

[31:01] I think that what we need to do… What I’d like to see done is programs for… prevention programs, abuse victim/survivors programs to help people that are in it get out or to help people who have been in it to heal because there needs to be a healing process. As my co-host would always say, this should to be rooted in our life ways and culture and try and find healing that way. There should also be programs, in my opinion, for people who do abuse because they need to break that pattern. It’s a pattern. Everything operates in patterns. If you look at people who have been abused, they’ll do things throughout their life that are patterns of… kind of like re-living it but in a lighter form.

[31:57] People have to heal from all this. And the abusers have to heal from whatever has led them to do that because it doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It’s not like some really great, nice guy all of a sudden one day decides, “What the heck, I think I’ll just start beating my wife and kids.” It doesn’t happen that way. There’s roots to it, there’s a history to it. And therefore there is a pattern to it and those patterns are what we need to break so we can heal and move forward and become a more productive and healthy community.

[32:34] So I’m kind of glad, even though this stuff has been so horrifically stressful this last month or so and I haven’t done a whole lot to not stoke the flames on my end either. I want to make people aware it’s there. Most people are aware that it’s there but it needs to be talked about and somehow we need to find solutions to deal with the problem of abuse in Indian Country.

[33:11] If anyone wants to talk or has any great ideas, My blog is Let’s start a dialogue and try and find ways to make a good, healthy society because I see this type of damage in so many people, not just Indians, but there are certain patterns that need to be changed or broken in my opinion. It would be nice if we started heading that way instead of just saying “Yeah, we know so-and-so is an abuser and what are you going to do about it?” Except avoiding him or her or whatever. I don’t know. I don’t know where we should go from here but I’m hoping somebody has some great ideas. So that’s about it for me, Sal.

(Continues in part 3 of 3)

Transcript of Eugene Johnson on WSLR, June 6, 2009: Part 3 of 3

August 3, 2009

This is part 3 of 3 parts of a transcript of Eugene Johnson’s appearance on Sal White Horse Serbin’s radio show “Indigenous Sounds” on June 6, 2009. This is a link to the complete text file of all three parts:

[34:16] Sal: OK, if I could just offer… I just wanted to make sure you had got all your points across. Just as a third party, I’m not representing you or Bernard Red Cherries. He has, if I remember right, Robert Vanpelt representing him. As a Native American, why didn’t you seek to handle this in a traditional way by going to the Native Chiefs and offering tobacco and stating your case among the other Chiefs and seeing how that would go?

[34:42] Eugene: Well, I saw how… I won’t go into the details of it, but I saw how Portland AIM’s bad behavior was dealt with, which was basically giving people tobacco to not say anything about it and to keep quiet about it. To me, that just wasn’t right. To me… and none of it would have come up in meetings or anything… To me, it should have been handled differently as far as that goes. It should have been “OK, you, so-and-so, you need to take responsibility for your actions, for what you did. And you, you need to take responsibility for these actions that you did. You need to make the proper apologies and make amends for the actions you’ve done that have harmed people on one level or another or have somehow disgraced the organization.” And so on and so forth. And what I saw was basically a cover-up and the use of tobacco to keep people from talking about it.

[35:47] So to go in more traditional manner, the people that I knew of who knew us both, I didn’t feel comfortable with. And so the only thing that I felt to do was to come forward with it. Then, in terms of protection for myself, I thought it was best to bring up names because if any harm comes to me like it was said through Robert Vanpelt, you know, he’d hate to see something happen to me or anybody I know. Veiled threats aren’t anything that police or anybody else knew anything about. I wanted, if anything actually happened, I’d want there to be a trail, people to be investigated. So as a self-defense, I’ve started naming names just to protect those that I know. Not so much myself because as I said I don’t mind putting myself on the line but it’s when I put myself on the line and then all of a sudden other people that I know are targeted, then it makes it like a whole different thing altogether.

[36:56] So I didn’t do it traditionally because I had seen that happen with the Portland AIM issue and the people that I knew that knew us both didn’t seem… I didn’t feel comfortable with. So the only thing that I knew to do, which I usually do, is to open my big fat mouth, which has at times got me in trouble but I still do it. That’s what I do. Like I said, I’m hoping in the long run that what this helps with is to bring about prevention programs and programs to help people get out of abuse, programs to help people who have been abused and programs to help people who are abusers. But I don’t know. I don’t know if anything will even come from it other than a lot of people being pissed off at me. So I don’t know. Maybe what I’ve done has done the complete opposite but that’s how I operate. Well that’s pretty much my explanation.

[38:03] Sal: One other thing too. You mention that Martha Alvarez is his accuser, his stepdaughter… cause so far she hasn’t come forward yet. If she doesn’t come forward, what do you think you might have to do then? Because then it will look like a smear campaign on your part against Bernard Red Cherries. [crosstalk] Because of the work he’s done, that has happened before…

Eugene: She sent me an email. Another person I’ve been talking with said you talked to her and that she recanted. But then I talked to Martha herself and Martha said she didn’t even know who you were at that time. She sent you an email, which also came to me, asking you about that because she had never talked to you. I don’t know if you talked to… somebody or how you got whatever number you had but if you want her to, I’m sure she’d be willing to talk on your show too.

[38:52] Sal: Well, not that, just… Let’s go the police. If there is a case of abuse, then let’s get some charges filed. If there’s abuse, there are other channels of handling this other than just blogging about it.

Eugene: Yeah, well, also I’m not sure what the statute of limitations are on something like that. I haven’t looked that far into the law. So I don’t even know if those type of things can still be brought up at this point. They probably can, I don’t know. But you would have to ask Martha about that herself since she’s his accuser, she’d be the one that would be able to do so. I don’t know if that’s where she wants to go or for that matter if that’s a way she actually can.

[39:37] Sal: OK, well, if she never does comes forward, would you offer any sort of apology or whatever officially to them or no?

Eugene: But she has come forward. Like I said she’d be even willing to talk on your show if you wanted her to.

Sal: [pause] Well, that she’d gone to the police though and talked to them…

Eugene: If she goes to the police?

Sal: Yes.

Eugene: You mean if she doesn’t go to the police, would I offer an apology or anything like that?

[40:04] Sal: Well, yes, because really if there is abuse, that is the proper way to handle it then that you want to go if you don’t want to handle it the traditional way is to go to the police and let’s file some charges and get the man locked up. If he is guilty of abuse, he’s guilty of abuse and should be sitting in a jail cell. [crosstalk] Otherwise then it’s just one woman’s word. I just hope you weren’t being used…

Eugene: [crosstalk] Again, I don’t know the laws that well as far as statute of limitations and stuff like that and what gets a person comvicted… Sometimes people get convicted of crimes they didn’t commit on circumstantial evidence. For example, Leonard Peltier. Sometimes people get convicted on circumstantial evidence when they are guilty. The state laws… That would have to be something you’d really have to bring up with her.

[40:51] But if she even doesn’t go to the police, no, I wouldn’t offer an apology because, again, I’m not his accuser. I just brought up the fact that Martha had accused him of abuse. And even if she can’t bring it up in court or anything like that, she will still continue to accuse him of abuse when she was a child, when she was his stepchild. So I don’t see the fact that whether or not she takes it to the courts, through the court system, would have anything to do with me giving an apology because, again, she’d still accusing him, whether or not it goes through court. She stands by her words and she was actually his stepdaughter.

[41:38] Sal: OK, but like us that just came in as a third party, we’re not really seeing any proof other than what you’re posting about. Or were posting but it’s no longer there. That’s my concern.

Eugene: So somebody accusing somebody of abuse that was actually his stepchild is not considered proof to you guys, that’s what you’re saying. Even though…

Sal: Well, let’s go to the police and do that. That’s my point.

Eugene: … for example in boarding schools and residential schools, most proof in the cases there, especially up in Canada and residential schools, is only testimony. It’s only testimony from the people who have been abused. …

Sal: [crosstalk] Well, could you offer what proof that was offered to you before you posted that?

Eugene: …There is not photographs or physical evidence or anything, it’s just the fact that, yeah, they were at the school and, yeah, they are accusing these people of abuse in various forms.

[42:25] Sal: [crosstalk] Well, could you offer what proof that she offered you that made you post this?

Eugene: Other than that, testimony is considered proof, is that…?

Sal: How about what proof did she offer you that encouraged you to post this?

Eugene: Huh?

Sal: What proof did she offer to you of abuse that warranted you posting all these accusations?

Eugene: For one, her testimony. And, two, she follows the same patterns of having been abused. She was definitely his stepchild. And many other people, like I said, have came forward but they want to remain anonymous, that have dealt with him and/or been abused by him in one form or another. So that is the basic proof at the moment…and… I’m not exactly sure what you’re looking for…

Sal: I’m looking for…

Eugene: Testimony is considered proof but even if it doesn’t go into the court system, it still what it is, it’s still an accusation.

[43:33] Sal: OK, just, to all of us it looks like you’re attacking the man, that’s my point.

Eugene: But what?

Sal: That was my point. It appeared to many of us that you were attacking the man.

Eugene: Oh, attacking him?

Sal: It just appeared, yes…

Eugene: I felt like the show was used as a cover for possible bad behavior on his part, possibly towards Della, after I found this out. But then again that’s just possibilities, I don’t know exactly what. But I do know that Martha has stated that he has abused her and she has stated the same things over and over. Her story doesn’t change and her mother has supported her on this although her mother wishes she wouldn’t come forward because she’s terrified. And so has her grandmother. And other people have come forward as well like I said. That unfortunately kind of leaves me out there as the point person in all this and all I am is the person that’s pointed out the fact that he’s been accused. It may look like an attack but really I don’t care about Bernard one way or the other, other than the fact that he came onto the radio show, that he possibly used it as a form of cover, that he’s never come forward to deny this. That’s another thing: This whole thing, never been a denial, never a rebuttal. All that came forward was the fact, through Robert Vanpelt, that there were three different organizations, Native organizations, coming after me because I brought this up. And so there hasn’t been any like “Oh yeah Martha was then my stepdaughter but I was the model father.” He’s never come forward to say that. He’s never said that through Robert Vanpelt or to me personally.

[45:30] You know, like if someone accused me of something, which has happened in the past, I’d say “Well, no, I never did that. What I did was this.” Or “No, I wasn’t even there. I have no idea what you’re talking about. I was someplace else and I can prove it.” But none of this has been done. This whole month that we’ve been going through this there has been no rebuttal, no denial. I mean, if you were accused… If I came up to you and accused you of beating your dog. You’d say “Well, I don’t have a dog so how can I beat my dog?” You know? Or whatever. You’d have some sort of denial or rebuttal to it, unless you actually did it. Then, if you were man enough, you’d admit that “Yeah, I beat my dog but I don’t beat my dog anymore. I really love my dog. If I lose my temper, I go out of the room” or whatever else. Like I said, none of this has happened. There has been no denial, there’s been no rebuttal, there’s been nothing other than veiled threats against anybody I know. And this invisible army of only whom I know a few people.

[46:37] Sal: OK, did you happen to hear the show when he was on WSLR two weeks ago? [crosstalk] Because that was his offer of his side of the story.

Eugene: I haven’t heard it yet. I have copies of part of it. I haven’t had a chance to sit down and listen to it yet but I’ve been told the things that I brought up, saying that I have been a proven liar which hasn’t happened yet. And that Bernard and I came to some sort of settlement. That has never happened. The only thing that has happened is what I said: The fact that Robert Vanpelt came forward, gave me this letter of which I was supposed to make this apology that was a lie in my opinion. And that I had three different organizations coming after me and that I’m banished from all Native American events and Portland AIM is going to be that banishing arm. That’s all I’ve been getting. And ever since, I’ve been getting harassed. And ever since, my wife has been harassed. All these other people were getting verbally harassed when I had those posts up. That’s all we’re getting. We’re not getting any denials. We’re not getting any “Nuh-uh, that didn’t happened.” We’re not getting any “Well, this person that I’ve known a long time will say I’ve been a fine upstanding great father, who’s seen me father these people joyfully and happily and helped them go through whatever they need to.” None of that has happened. All that has come forward was the use of bullying and force to get me to shut up. And if you’re gonna get me to shut up, that not the way to do it. And so, that’s where I am with that.

[48:18] Sal: OK, are there any steps maybe to move on from this? Put an end to it or something?

Eugene: Yeah, it would be nice if some organizations like AIM would come up with programs to prevent abuse and to help those who have been abused. And to listen to people when they come forward and say “Hey, you know, I was abused,” even if it’s years afterwards. “Hey, you know, my dad used to beat me all the time when I was a kid and he’s a great upstanding guy right now and I still hurt from it and we all need to deal with it.” To come up with programs or something to help people that have been abused or are abusers or to prevent it because it’s a rampant problem in Native America. It’s not just Bernard, it’s happening all over. And so that is what I would like to see come out of that. If something like that would? I kind of doubt it but I’m hoping something like that would. That’s what I’d like to see come out of all this.

[49:18] Sal: OK, well for those that are listening when is your show on again on KBOO in Portland, Oregon? Can you give any web links, maybe they can tune in and listen?

Eugene: Yeah, the web is and our next show… We do a show every other week with “Indian World” and our next show will be this coming Thursday, which I believe is the 12th. My co-host lined up Russell Means for that show so that should be an interesting show. Probably talk about Palestinians and everything like that too. That’s one of the things we usually bring up too, is the commonalities between what happened to Palestinians and what’s happening to Indians.

[50:03] Sal: Uh-huh. Is there anything else you’d like to add while you have the stage right now?

Eugene: Um, just if anybody has any great ideas as to what to do with abuse, please move forward with it. Try and help out and it will be challenging, it will be difficult. It won’t be easy. As I’ve tried to start various things throughout my fifteen year career as an activist and Native show host and stuff, usually you get frustrated and stop. But this is an issue that needs to be dealt with and maybe there’s going to be some sort of golden gem that will start opening doors and helping people out. Because that is the main thing we should be doing is helping each other and that would be, seriously, one great way to help people heal from abuse. Like I said, it’s historical. It goes back to the boarding schools, it goes back to the genocides that our people have gone through and all of that is part of it. We need to heal and to, not just move on, but to build something better, to create something more beautiful than we have already. That would be really, really nice. if you want to talk to me.

[51:22] Sal: OK, well, I really thank you a lot for coming on the air and letting us know your side of the story. Hopefully, one day this abuse thing will be taken care of. That’s not just an Indian issue, that abuse is among all cultures.

Eugene: Oh yeah, it happens in… there’s not a culture that I know of anymore that it doesn’t happen. I haven’t read anything or heard any studies that it happened before the colonization started here. Before Christopher Columbus showed up on our shores, I don’t think abuse was anything in our cultures here like it is now, if it existed at all. But it’s certainly here now and we need to do something with it.

[52:01] Sal: OK, well once again thank you for coming on and hopefully we can once and all finally put this behind us and move on to some more pressing issue and always keep this in mind.

Eugene: OK. Thanks Sal.

Sal: Thank you. Good talking to you.

Eugene: Good talking to you. Bye.

Sal: Thank you. Bye. We’ll get back to some music. I’ll start that song that began. This is “My Land” by Lightfoot.

[52:21] (music begins)

(End of part 3 of 3.)

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