His Gala Friday
From reading Patricia Calhoun's "The Party's Over" in the March 9 issue, I can only assume that her upset with Denver International Airport was caused by everyone's failure to invite her to the party. My real question: If she's so upset with everything here, why did she bother to fly back to Denver at all?

Hal Maxwell

Congratulations to Westword for its continued coverage of this airport fiasco, including Patricia Calhoun's latest column. Indeed, if the dailies had done the same job of reporting on this disaster-in-the-works, maybe the baggage system would have been fixed before yet another opening date was broken.

Joan Myers Aurora

In the short run it will be July-October before DIA irons the bugs out and all systems are phased in and operational. Meanwhile, many travelers have booked other regional airports solid or have simply opted not to fly until we have a working airport.

In the long run, however, DIA fits the bill. It's the only big airport in the snowy Mountain Time zone equipped as a hub for consistently on-time arrivals and departures: extra runways for this future great population center. But soon that businessman will fly the info highway from his laptop in the coming era of virtual reality community. Then both pilots' wages and fares will have to drop and competition increase for the industry to foster either public or private interest.

Gene Edwards

Seems Like Old Times
Michael Roberts's story, "Experience Not Needed" in the February 16 issue, is certainly a wake-up call to all educational institutions. I commend you for having exposed a shameful situation.

My wife and I have known Dennis Powell since his early years as a Catholic priest. He has been a role model for our three children. Having known him and followed his wonderful example, they have benefited appreciably in their adult lives. Dennis is respected, revered and loved by all who enjoy the privilege of his friendship.

Hopefully the results of your well-written story and Dennis's determination to right a wrong will influence the Archdiocese of Denver to rethink its position and promptly renew the contract of an outstanding educator. I congratulate you on this fine piece of work and thank you on behalf of all teachers who have been treated unfairly.

Joseph G. McCarthy
Chicago, Illinois

Just a note to compliment Westword and Michael Roberts on the very informative "Experience Not Needed."

Hopefully the publicity your balanced presentation gave on Dennis Powell's case will make administrators in our Catholic schools and in other institutions think twice before terminating experienced and devoted teachers like Mr. Powell and his colleagues.

Keep up the good work.
Joseph J. Moore
Jackson Heights, New York

Taking AIM
Steve Jackson's February 9 article, "Civil Wars," was an excellent piece of work. I was mentioned in the article but not consulted; here are my opinions (I am not a member of AIM).

The article was balanced and fairly written, but Ward Churchill and his water boy Glenn Morris still came off looking like fake-Indian goons. The issue raised by Jackson's article is more than just a spiteful struggle for power between AIM leaders, as one might think. The use of intimidation by pseudo-Indian white men to usurp the authority of legitimate Indian voices is a disgraceful and unjust situation for the Indian community. Churchill could be called the unofficial head of the pseudo-Indian movement, "Chief of the Wannabes." It looks like these two white men, Churchill and Morris, decided that the foolish little Indians didn't know how to be Indians or do things right, so they dubbed themselves "Indians" and established their pseudo-Indian empire. Ward Churchill's actions have greatly damaged the credibility of the legitimate activist voices of the Indian community. The National AIM office suspects that he is an agent whose agenda is to discredit and confuse the activist Indian community from within, but I think that this is giving him too much credit. I think that his envy, jealousy and a healthy dose of white man's guilt mixed with feelings of inadequacy might explain his motives. The big question is why Russell Means has allowed himself to be taken in by these wannabes. Everyone knows that without Means, Churchill and Morris would be laughed out of the country.

In Jackson's article it is obvious that the other Indian doers and activists in Colorado try to ignore Churchill, hoping he'll go away. Because of his reputation of bullying and intimidation, many Indian people will not publicly criticize him, but have nothing good to say about him. Ward Churchill and the pseudo-Indian movement are anti-tribe and anti-Indian; they threaten the very survival of American Indian peoples as distinct native cultures and sovereign nations.

David P. Bradley
Santa Fe, New Mexico

Really, it wasn't bad enough that Steve Jackson, in his handling of the 1992 counter-Columbus demonstration in Denver, portrayed AIM bullying a group of people who had repeatedly threatened certain of us, or that the article neglected to mention at all the months of negotiation we undertook in order to peacefully resolve our dispute with pro-Columbus demonstrators. These are obviously a couple of mere oversights which undoubtedly had no effect at all on what Jackson calls the balance and objectivity of his article.

And I suppose it wasn't bad enough that Jackson went on and on about whether and to what extent Glenn Morris and I are legitimately--read: genetically--Indians, meanwhile treating as some sort of signifier of biological purity none other than Vernon Bellecourt, a man who is reputedly 31/32 white. (Nothing affecting the accuracy of the piece involved here, right?)

Nor was it bad enough when "Civil Wars" included the categorically false assertion that I am under investigation by the University of Colorado for having misrepresented myself as an Indian in order to obtain my present faculty position. Representatives of the president's office insist that not only is this untrue, but that nobody--including Steve Jackson--was ever told anything to the contrary.

It wasn't truly bad enough that Westword decided to end its profile of the local AIM chapter in general--and Morris and me in particular--by presenting readers with a "more appropriate leadership alternative" for the Denver Indian community. Its form? A man whose main claim to fame is having beaten another human being to death in a bar a few years back. Was it lack of space that caused Jackson to delete this little detail from his evenhanded overview?

No, none of this, nor any of a number of other things I could mention, was bad enough. Westword is always capable of worse. On March 2 you really outdid yourselves by publishing a letter from a person claiming to be a 25-year AIM member "belonging to the Mic-Mac Nation" and calling herself Mrs. Leonard Peltier. In it, Leonard himself is alleged to demand the removal of Glenn Morris from his position in Colorado AIM. A single call to the local AIM office, or to Peltier's defense office in Kansas, would've sufficed to show that--far from being Peltier's wife, or even having met him--the author is actually a Denver resident named Debra Fernandez.

All things considered, her psycho-babble reveals every bit as much veracity as the rest of the outright smears you've published about Colorado AIM.

Ward Churchill
Colorado AIM

Allow me to introduce myself: I am Kathy Denazbah Peltier, a Chippewa/ Sioux and Navajo Indian, and the daughter of Leonard Peltier. The American Indian Movement community stands behind Mr. Glenn Morris, and we have cast our votes to have Glenn as our spokesperson for AIM. Come to any of our meetings and you will see that there are people who support him. My father supports the efforts of both Ward Churchill and Glenn Morris. The Denver Chapter of the American Indian Movement is based on Spirituality, Solidarity, Sovereignty and Sobriety. There are people who become unfocused and forget who they are, who they work for, their beginning and their ending. It comes down to working with your heart for the people you love. Our own American Indian people: our elders, our children and our future generation.

Kathy Denazbah Peltier

Editor's note: Westword stands by Steve Jackson's story. Although Debra Fernandez insists she was married to Leonard Peltier under tribal law, we'll leave tracing the family tree to Leonard Peltier.