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'Casually Glorified'

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Editor:

Thank you Cutcha Risling Baldy for your piece about Seth Kinman and his Silence of the Lambs chairs ("Genocide and Fugly Chairs," April 11). On a recent trip to Bayshore Mall, as I was walking past the historical photo display in the food court that I normally breeze right by, I happened to look up and see Kinman glaring down at mall patrons. Described on the placard as being "like a character from a dime-store novel," he is featured next to photos and drawings of the same indigenous people that he, most likely, helped massacre, though that connection isn't made.

Some of us know "frontiersman" as code for "Indian killer" and realize that the West was "won" because of state-sponsored genocide, but we obviously need to keep having this conversation because the mythos of the Mountain Man Who Tamed the West is so huge that is seems to suffocate our collective capacity for reason. The fact that this man decorated his home with the body parts of human beings who he killed, and that he got a bounty from the state for doing so, should at least warrant a mention in every description of this local "character."

Our acceptance of this reprehensible, de-humanizing behavior in our folk-heroes makes it no surprise that we accept the casual racism of our current leaders. The fact that this particular photo presides over what I would say is, at any given moment, the most racially diverse place in Humboldt County (The Bayshore Mall — seriously, check it out), makes this even worse. What sort of message are we sending to our citizens, when racially motivated murder is being casually glorified at the mall?

Caroline Griffith, Eureka

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