Both the Coeur d'Alene and Puyallup Tribes have elected not to host Ted Nugent concerts at Tribally-owned venues.

A Victory for Native Power: Just Say No to Ted Nugent's Ugliness

Gyasi Ross

Both the Coeur d'Alene Tribe and the Puyallup Tribe displayed Native Power 2014-style. Ted Nugent (and really anybody else) has an absolute legal right to say hateful, ugly and/or racist things ("Subhuman mongrel," anyone?); yet Tribes are thankfully showing that they do not have to be complicit in hateful ugliness and/or REWARD the ugliness. Both the Coeur d'Alene Tribe as well as the Puyallup Tribe flexed that ability—to express displeasure with their pocketbooks. At first glance, these steps might not appear huge, yet these are steps that Tribes would not have the ability to make 20 years ago. In that regard, this is a huge deal—a thousand mile journey starts with one step.

Symbols matter. The ability and fortitude to disallow hate is a big deal. 

RELATED: Coeur d'Alene Cancel Ted Nugent Concert Over Rocker's "Racist Remarks"

Now, as Tribes build economic resources and engage in the electoral process, no matter how imperfect, they have the ability to weigh in on discussions that we previously were simply not invited to. Ultimately, reasonable people can differ on Ted Nugent specifically—I personally am not convinced he's a racist. But I do think he's a pretty nasty human being who has a penchant for saying really ugly things. Yet, irrespective of personal opinion, he's just one redneck who happens to wear his stupidity on his sleeve. If you enjoy his music, whatever. But what he represents is much larger—a disruption to the status quo of folks not needing to respect Tribes' purchasing power. "Hey Ted Nugent/Federal Express/Bank of America, if you're gonna make money off of us, that's cool, but you better come correct." The Puyallup Tribe and the Coeur d'Alene Tribe were both willing to take action and pass on a very likely highly profitable concert for principle. Principle over profit??? That's a rare and beautiful thing. We should all be proud of the Coeur d'Alene Tribe and the Puyallup Tribe for creating this discussion and we should all be proud of all the activism that's happened around this topic. This could and should continue. Someone needs to be keeping score of this: Who are our friends, are and who are not our friends.

Let's hope Tribes follow suit—not just with Ted Nugent, but with anyone who creates an environment of hate or who doesn't help Native people.  

Gyasi Ross
Blackfeet Nation/Suquamish Territories
Twitter: @BigIndianGyasi

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Grayhorse's picture
Submitted by Grayhorse on
Hate is a dirty four letter word. If you can't say something nice, then say nothing at all. I remember hearing that when I was a little boy. I try to live by those words.

sonnyskyhawk's picture
Submitted by sonnyskyhawk on
There is no doubt left amongst most, that TED NUGENT is anything other than stupid and that he is, as previously described, SUBHUMAN VERMIN. The fact that he has hidden behind the skirts of the FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHT to say anything his twisted mind conjures, is one thing, but what he failed to comprehend, is that at the same time, Native people have the same right as business owners, to deny anyone, the RIGHT to appear as an Entertainer, in their showrooms. Put that in your BONG and smoke it.

tmsyr11's picture
Submitted by tmsyr11 on
With so much time and focus and collective energy perpetuating a culture of 'hate', it would certainly be more constructive and civic-minded for very bright, informed progressive minded indians, natives, educators, teachers, indigenous to be asking questions to local/regional tribal administrators of their electoral responsibilities and dedications to legitimate public concerns. Questions as why is there 60 to 80 percent unemployment on the Blackfeet Reservation? Why is the Navajo Nation being asked to return $96 Million dollars in federal funding for the Navajo Nations's failure its failure to comply with the Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Act by not spending the $96 Million dollars? Why is the White House Administrative Government so quick to sponsor a request for $3 BILLION to undocumented immigrants when so many established Indian tribes and Americans in general are homeless, jobless, etc. Has anybody really explored or documented what the outcomes became from the White House Conferences on American Indians each November? I do believe the perceived 'hate' is just as inherent and aggressive and passive in indian tribal communities/homes/families. Then maybe (possibly) "we" all won't be needing somebody like _ Uncle Ted_giving some degree of TRUTH (when he isn't ranting).

Juliet's picture
Submitted by Juliet on
Over at Americans Against the Tea Party, the resident GOP-worshippers (who also believe that all mass-shooters are liberals, among other strangeness) squalled that Mr. Nugent's free speech rights were being denied. (For them, freedom of speech means they can say whatever they want, but those who disagree should sit down and shut up.) Maybe Nugent will learn to regulate his mouth if he loses a few more venues.

nativewomn's picture
Submitted by nativewomn on
Clark County Fair, in Ridgefield, WA, also canceled him. He IS racist. Google 'Ted Nugent Racist" and you'll get over a million hits. See the nasty things he says about black people. And he has been disrespectful to Natives for a LONG time, acting superior to them, claiming he is having to show us our old ways, and then belittling anyone who doubts him, or tells him to stop the disrespect.

builds-the-fire's picture
Submitted by builds-the-fire on
Nugent comment from the Media Matters for America Web site: "Real Americans Are 'Working Hard, Playing Hard, White Motherfucking Shit Kickers Who Are Independent.' From a 1995 interview with Bob Mack of Grand Royal magazine" The wonder is why did Native American venues support him in the first place. Calling the Washington team racist for keeping their mascot and name, while supporting someone like Nugent by supporting his income at NA venues seems duplicitous to me, and makes other groups in the minority wonder at the sincerity of the leadership within the NA community. Looking at the other side to this argument, I'd have to say, at least they've started to do what's right. I hope it continues, and Indian Country finds its collective economic voice.

fflittle4's picture
Submitted by fflittle4 on
Listen to the lyrics, TN is abhorrent about everything. Unfortunately I can only turn off my own radio.

aliberaldoseofskepticism's picture
Submitted by aliberaldoseofs... on
I wonder how successful this will be. I guess it depends, are there any Ted Nugent fans on Twitter? Tumblr?

Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Submitted by Michael Madrid on
When is Ted Nugent either going to kill himself or check into jail? Before Obama's election he said that (should he be reelected) he would either end up dead or in jail if Obama were elected again. Well, draft-dodger, which one is it going to be?

jakkwagon's picture
Submitted by jakkwagon on
Can you please offer up one shred of evidence please of Ted's alleged racist character ? Just because someone on the left is engaged in a smear campaign don't make the guy guilty of anything...jeez, it's this narrow minded thinking that convicts the wrongfully accused, starts wars, creats hate across this great land of ours. Signed: Innocent until proven guilty

jakkwagon's picture
Submitted by jakkwagon on
wow - and I thought the only dumb people were on the people ever listen to the rap lyrics ? Hello.....

jakkwagon's picture
Submitted by jakkwagon on
wow - and I thought the only dumb people were on the people ever listen to the rap lyrics ? Hello.....

Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Submitted by Michael Madrid on
TO JAKKWAGON: Sure - here you go: National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent has offered a disingenuous and tepid apology after being condemned across partisan lines for his description of President Obama as a "subhuman mongrel." The apology only came after Nugent attacked his critics on Twitter and elsewhere, at one point comparing CNN to a top Nazi propagandist. ____________________________________________________________ Here are more: Nugent: Deceased Florida Teenager Travyon Martin Was A "Dope Smoking, Racist Gangsta Wannabe." [Rare, 7/14/13] 4. Nugent's Reprehensible Commentary On The African American Community. During a 2013 appearance on conspiracy theorist Alex Jones radio show, Nugent claimed that African-Americans could fix "the black problem" if they just put their "heart and soul into being honest, law-abiding, [and] delivering excellence at every move in your life." [Genesis Communication Network, The Alex Jones Show, 7/16/13, via Media Matters] 5. More Inexcusable Commentary From Nugent On The African-American Community. In a WND column, Nugent wrote that his claim Travyon Martin was a violent person was evidence of "the same mindless tendency to violence we see in black communities across America." [WND, 7/24/13] 6. Nugent Compares Obama To A Nazi. During a March 2013 appearance on 9-11 truther Pete Santilli's radio show, Nugent compared Obama to a Nazi who kills his Jewish neighbors, stating the president is like "a German in 1938 pretending to respect the Jews and then going home and putting on his brown shirt and forcing his neighbors onto a train to be burned to death." [Media Matters, 3/22/13] 7. Nugent: Civil Rights Leaders Jackson And Sharpton Speak In "Ebonic Mumbo-Jumbo." In a column for birther website WND, Nugent claimed that if a Republican president had the same drone policy as the Obama administration, "Jesse Jackson and Al Not-So-Sharpton would be lisping their ebonic mumbo-jumbo that the policy and the president are racist and bigoted." [Media Matters, 2/11/13] 8. Nugent: "I'm Beginning To Wonder If It Would Have Been Best Had The South Won The Civil War." From a column for The Washington Times: _________________________________________________________ Maybe you should find another hero.