The film actually proposes that traditional cultures and traditional peoples are the cause of suffering in indigenous communities. Not colonialism or racism, traditionals. No traditional people speak in the film. (And the filmmakers are also clueless about who is and isn't traditional. At one point they seem to be implying that casino magnates are the traditionals. Or something. Like I said, they're confused.)
The actual Indigenous people who speak in the film (Australian Aboriginal, Inuit, Cheyenne, and Sami individuals) are basically there only to tell of the difficult or abusive periods and situations in their lives, especially when these involved conflicts with other Native people. But then their experiences are taken out of context and their stories exploited to serve the racist aims of the producers. The only positive things that are ever said about indigenous people in the film are when an indigenous person has assimilated into mainstream, white culture. Even the Sami people, who are portrayed in the more positive light, are outraged about the misrepresentations and white supremacist agenda in the film.
One of the reasons we are concerned about this film is that it was made for an international audience, and there is reason to believe they may soon be trying to sell it to an American market, if they aren't already.
You can see the film on the SVT website. It will be viewable on the Internet for the rest of the month, then it´ll be removed. (note - you will need to go to the menu on the right and select Historiens fångar)
Who to write to in protest:
The guy who made the film, Poul-Erik Heilbuth: PLH@dr.dk
The documentary department of SVT. The head of the dept. is Ingemar Persson: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have enough of the language to navigate the site, you can lodge a complaint at the Granskningsnämden för radio and TV (broadcast standards tribunal) in Sweden here: www.grn.se/
I'm also reproducing here an open letter to the producers from Dr. Al Carroll, historian, professor, and founder of NAFPS
An Open Letter to Poul-Erik Heilbruth and Ingmar Persson:
Dear Mr. Heilbruth and Mr. Persson,
I am Dr. Al Carroll. I am a history professor for the Alamo Community College District in San Antonio, Texas, in the United States. I have written books and articles on American Indian history and am American Indian myself. My ancestry is Mescalero Apache, as well as Mexican and Irish.
This letter to you both will be posted online and sent to as many media sources as possible, in both the United States and Scandinavia. I want everyone to know just what a travesty the two of you have foisted upon the public by making and broadcasting your racist film, doing enormous damage to indigenous peoples worldwide by your promotion of outright cultural genocide.
I have just seen your documentary "Prisoners of the Past" online. As a historian, I have never seen such a poorly done work filled with one falsehood and distortion after another. It is as appalling to watch your film as it is to see a Nazi rant about Jews. Both are equally filled with lies.
There are so many falsehoods that it is hard to know where to begin. But to start with, the biggest error in your film is this:
YOU USED THREE WHITE SUPREMACISTS AS SOURCES.
David Yeagley, Barbara Lindsay, and Keith Winschuttle ARE WHITE SUPREMACISTS and on the extreme Far Right of the political spectrum.
Two of them, Yeagley and Lindsay, are open members of white supremacist groups.
What you did is as insane as using Nazis or the Nation of Islam as a source on Jews.
I have to ask: Did you KNOWINGLY use white supremacists as your sources?
Are you white supremacists yourselves?
Or did you just do such a poor job of research that you did not know?
If you did not know, then I urge you in the strongest possible terms to apologize for your mistakes, withdraw the film, and hopefully reshoot it with the voices of actual Native people instead.
Let me provide with the proof you SHOULD have known about long BEFORE you started filming, that Yeagley, Lindsay, and Windschuttle are openly racist, white supremacist extremists.
Barbara Lindsay is a leading member of the white supremacist group One Nation. She claims to have a small amount of Cherokee Indian ancestry, but is not a member of any tribe. She was expelled from a Cherokee heritage club.
David Yeagley is NOT American Indian at all. He is an imposter who POSES as Indian. His stepmother was Comanche Indian, and based on that he was mistakenly enrolled.
Yeagley is a member of or tied to the following white supremacist and extremist groups:
John Birch Society (anti Semitic conspiracy theorists)
National Alliance (white supremacist)
Stormfront (Neo Nazi skinheads)
Gene Expression (eugenicists)
VDARE (self described as "white nationalists")
Windschuttle is not a conservative, he's outright racist, and often makes up "facts" to support his racism. His take on history so bizarre and filled with lies he can't find an academic publisher and has to go to vanity publishers.
But he and his supporters seem to imagine that because he's clearly seen as racist is somehow proof that academia has been taken over by leftists. In fact most historians tend to be quite conservative, certainly in the sense of cautious.
See for yourselves what far better historians have to say about an open racist like Windschuttle.
"Further, you can find a very thorough analysis of the various ways in which racism manifests in Keith Windschuttle's self-published (as opposed to 'serious academic') research in 'Whitewash: On Keith Windschuttle's Fabrication of Aboriginal History', Black Inc. Agenda, 2003. The book contains contributions from scholars across the Australian academy."
Windschuttle is pretty racist towards Asians too, imagining them "taking over," that whites are "endangered", and that being racist is central to white Australian identity.
"22. Anglo-Australian men as an endangered species in the law are only a part of Fraser's apocalyptic vision of the future. In an article, "Rethinking the White Australia Policy" (a review of Keith Windschuttle's book, The White Australia Policy), Fraser asserts:
Within two or three decades, it is not unreasonable to expect that Australia will have a heavily Asian managerial-professional, ruling class that will not hesitate to promote the interests of co-ethnics at the expense of white Australians. (Fraser 2005b).
23. Fraser supports this statement with the fantastic notion, as recapped by Windschuttle, that "Europeans ... evolved in a cold climate to support non-kinship forms of reciprocity and thus to welcome strangers," while "Chinese and Japanese businessmen operate within mafia-like, extended family clans that are bound by shared genes to support one another" (Windschuttle 2005)....
Despite their internal differences, however, Windschuttle, Fraser and Duffy represent an institutionalised and politically powerful configuration of contemporary Australian nationalism that exists on a continuum with assertions of race pride that are usually disowned as extremist....
30. The most distinctive feature of the formation represented by Duffy and Windschuttle is its foregrounding of Anglo-Australian achievement and white racial pride. Its platform is premised on a whitewashing (Manne 2003) of Australian history, especially of the violence directed towards Indigenous people and their ongoing resistances."
Your film's premises blame the victims throughout, and show a lack of understanding of the most basic facts.
I can only hope you made these mistakes because you did not realize that you were being told lies by white supremacists.
Again, I urge you to admit your mistakes, apologize, and withdraw this awful, racist film you have made.
Dr. Al Carroll
Alamo Community College District
San Antonio, Texas, USA