[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?
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?
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 http://kboo.fm 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. firstname.lastname@example.org 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)