AIM, Fire

The American Indian Movement targets the Rocky.

As for Colorado AIM's demands, Temple shrugs them off, and he's equally unreceptive to dialoguing with Morris and company. "I don't see the value of a meeting," he says -- and his pessimism is supported by historical precedent. The Rocky and Colorado AIM engaged in détente-oriented sit-downs circa the 1990s, but they got bogged down over issues such as AIM's insistence that the paper confess to wrongdoing related to Sand Creek. Morris claims editor Carroll told him at the time that the Rocky "doesn't apologize" for happenings in the distant past, yet it did so in a 1993 editorial about Tom Horn, a Wyoming bounty hunter who was executed ninety years earlier. (Back in the day, the Rocky had lobbied for Horn to swing, but the jury in a contemporary retrial found him not guilty.) Carroll, who points out that the Horn editorial was only "half serious," doesn't believe he would have made this statement, since he "didn't speak for the paper." Still, he characterizes the notion of "apologizing for something that happened way more than a century ago, when other people were responsible" as "ludicrous."

With the Rocky unwilling to talk, Colorado AIM-ers met earlier this month to mull over what to do next about l'affaire Deloria. A boycott was among the actions on the table, but in the end, they took a more mysterious path. Spokeswoman Carol Berry says, "We plan to make the racist policies of the newspaper clear throughout Indian country."

Berry declines to elaborate, so it's impossible to know precisely what Colorado AIM has in mind. Even so, one thing's clear: This is one relationship that even Dr. Phil couldn't fix.

Vine Deloria addressing an audience circa 1971.
Denver Public Library Western History Collection
Vine Deloria addressing an audience circa 1971.

Two-timed: On December 6, the Denve Post divulged the story told by inmate Eric Williams about the alleged death of missing Aurora tot Aaroné Thompson, while its December 7 issue contained the revelation that CU football coach Gary Barnett would soon be put out of fans' misery. But this impressive pair of breaking-news blockbusters might say as much about the Rocky's work as it does about the Post's. After all, the Rocky didn't endear itself to Aurora authorities when it recently convinced Aaron Thompson and Shely Lowe, Aaroné's father and his girlfriend, to sit for interviews they won't give to local cops, and its tough CU reporting has undoubtedly made certain university sorts uncomfortable. So did the knowledgeable insiders who spoke with the Post do so in part to spite the Rocky?

Rocky editor John Temple neither endorses nor dismisses such speculation; he prefers to talk about the Post's double-bagger as proof that editorial competition remains fierce nearly five years after the Denver dailies' business operations were linked by a joint operating agreement. But when he's asked if he looks upon the Post's scoops as backhanded compliments to the Rocky, he answers "No" so quickly that it's a miracle he doesn't sprain his tongue.

That's taking your licks.

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