“Let me tell you ‘bout a story ‘bout a man named Harlan…a poor Sac and Fox barely kept himself fed…and then one day he was walking cross a yard…and out from nowhere came some f**ckin racists – white boys…dumb sh*ts…some Oklahoma Hillbillies.” (This is the theme song from the Beverly Hillbillies sitcom back in the ’70s).
“Well the next thing you know ol’ Harlan’s cornered…by three white boys who looked cross-eyed…I said f*ck this I’m moving outta here…so I loaded up my Honda and moved to A-B-Q. Albuquerque that is…Pueblos, Navajos…” (Hit the banjo boys!).
This is a true story – except for the part about why I left Oklahoma for New Mexico. But this incident happened in the early ’90s after my dad died and I went back to my hometown to help out the family. My car was in the shop so I decided to walk over to my friend’s house (about a half-mile away) to shoot some hoops and blow off some steam.
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Growing up in my small town I had never really faced a lot of overt racism; didn’t really have to deal with the KKK, neo-Nazis or white supremacists. But on this particular day – I did. It caught me by surprise. Three white guys came walking up as I was knocking on my buddy’s door (who was also a white guy). Their apparent leader asked me, “What the hell are you doing walking through this neighborhood?”
I simply replied “I grew up here. I remember when these houses weren’t even here. Who are you anyway?” I quickly recognized that these guys were not from my hometown. Surprisingly the apparent leader, and by the way they were all shirtless with tattoos (which was the least of my worries), and he ordered one of the other guys to “go get that rope out of the back of my truck.”
Okay, so now I’m thinking I might be in a little bit of a jam here. I could run a 4.6 second forty-yard dash and was also a half-mile and mile track runner. But I was blocked in by my buddy’s porch fence. As the subservient went to the truck I started looking around for options. I noticed that my buddy had a glass door right behind me. My plan was to break the glass and use a glass shard as a weapon against these punks. I figured I could grab a piece of glass and put an end to this episode.
Right then my buddy drove up and helped diffuse the situation. I grew up and played sports with him and we bonded on the football field. My good friend said “what the hell’s going on?” I said “these boys are going to tie me up or something. I don’t know if they’re planning on hanging me or dragging me along the back of their truck.” I was just trying to figure out how I could eliminate them. Kill or be killed.
I was relieved but also angry. I brooded over this. I wished for revenge. And then a couple of weeks later the racist, the apparent leader of his little punk a** trio got hit head on by a semi-truck while driving in the wrong lane on his motorcycle. He was killed instantly. I thought about it and decided I needed to reign in my power. Hate was never taught to me.
The point is that hate groups have been around forever. Whether you’re Native or Black or Hispanic or any minority, there will always be white people who think they have conquered this continent and that they have a right to be the dominant race. What is wrong with these people?
“Take your shoes off…ya’ll come back now…here.”
Harlan McKosato is a citizen of the Sac and Fox Nation of Oklahoma. He is the Director of NDN Productions, an independent media production company based in Albuquerque.