On-air comments about Sioux tribes made by Tom Barnard and his co-host sparked the uproar.
Furious over recent on-air comments made by KQRS Radio personality Tom Barnard and his show's co-hosts, American Indian leaders plan to protest at KQRS at 10 a.m. today.
Representatives of the American Indian Movement (AIM), the Red Lake Indian Reservation and urban Indian leaders hope to meet with executives from the classic-rock station (92.5 FM) at its southeast Minneapolis headquarters regarding the on-air statements by Barnard and his co-host, Terri Traen, AIM co-founder Clyde Bellecourt said Sunday.
Bellecourt said the remarks about the Red Lake Chippewa and Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux tribes were "ignorant." He compared them to comments made this spring by shock jock Don Imus, who was fired from his syndicated show for calling members of the Rutgers University women's basketball team, "nappy-headed ho's."
The KQ morning show, known for its pull-no-punches style when delivering weird news, ethnic jokes and political diatribes, is among the most popular morning programs in the Twin Cities.
Calls placed to Marc Kalman, president and general manager of KQRS, were not immediately returned Sunday.
The uproar stems from a broadcast last month in which Barnard and Traen talked about the Red Lake and Shakopee tribes while discussing a report by the state Health Department that Beltrami County has the state's highest rate of suicide among young people.
The jocks then mentioned Bemidji and the Red Lake Indian Reservation, which are both located in Beltrami County.
"Maybe it's genetic; isn't there a lot of incest up there?" Traen said about the tribe.
"Not that I know of," Barnard replied.
"I think there is," Traen continued. "Don't quote me on that, but I'm pretty sure."
"Well, I'm glad you just threw it out there, then," Barnard said to laughter in the background.
Barnard also criticized the Shakopee Sioux, who own the Mystic Lake Casino, for "doing a hell of a job helping them out."
Traen commented, "They don't give them anything?"
"Hell, no!" Barnard replied.
Another member of the morning team refers to the casino as "Mistake Lake," and calls Bellecourt, "Clyde Bellycourt."
Bellecourt said Red Lake has received nearly $4 million in grants from the Shakopee tribe since 2004 toward building a new Boys and Girls Club, assisting with the recent rebirth of the tribe's walleye fishing industry and creating a center in Bemidji to address sexual assault.
He said the Indian leaders will push the station executives to take swift action on Barnard.
"He's been getting away with this crap for years," Bellecourt said, adding that the Morning Show crew should be disciplined and be required to take sensitivity training courses.
Minority groups have long criticized Barnard and his crew for their on-air banter.
In the late 1990s, members of the Somali community picketed over Barnard and Co.'s mocking of Somali dialects after a Somali cabdriver was slain. Before that, the Asian-American community was irate when Barnard and his co-hosts made fun of a teenage Hmong girl who was charged with killing her newborn son.
They said of her potential $10,000 fine: "That's a lot of eggrolls."
Terry Collins 612-673-1790
Terry Collins firstname.lastname@example.org