"Isn't there a lot of incest up there?"
Indian leaders win several concessions from KQRS after Barnard show
By Curt Brown and Terry Collins, Star Tribune
Last update: October 29, 2007 1:11 PM
American Indian leaders secured several concessions today after meeting
with executives at KQRS Radio (92.5 FM) in the wake of troubling on-air
comments during Tom Barnard's popular morning program.
After the meeting at the station's corporate offices in southeast
Minneapolis, KQRS president and general manager Marc Kalman said the
station would take the following steps:
-- Broadcast a public apology.
-- Give equal air time to positive issues involving the American Indian
-- Work to hire American Indian interns.
-- Continue airing public service announcements for the suicide hot line.
-- Invite members of the Shakopee Mdewakanton and Red Lake tribes to be on
the morning show.
Tribal leaders said that overall they're pleased but would have preferred
stronger measures including some of the on-air personalities being fired.
The uproar stems from a broadcast last month in which Barnard and co-host
Terri 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 reservation, both in
"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.
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.
More than a dozen Indian leaders filed into the KQRS corporate offices
about 10 this morning to lodge their formal complaint.
"These were irresponsible comments that are way out of bounds and
intolerable," said Red Lake Tribal Chairman Floyd (Buck) Jourdain, before
the meeting at the offices in southeast Minneapolis. Jourdain compared the
comments to those several months ago by Don Imus about the Rutgers women's
basketball team that were racial and sexual in nature. Imus lost his
syndicated radio job over that incident.
"Those comments [by Imus] were about losing a basketball game, and these
are about life and death," said Jourdain, "and we're not going to endure
this ignorance any longer in a state that emphasizes Minnesota Nice."
Jourdain added that there has not been a suicide on his reservation in more
than two years.
Joining Jourdain and others from the Red Lake reservation for the meeting
were members of the American Indian Movement and the Shakopee Mdewakanton
AIM co-founder Clyde Bellecourt on Sunday said the remarks about the Red
Lake Chippewa and Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux tribes were "ignorant."
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.
Barnard has been "getting away with this crap for years," Bellecourt said.
Minority groups have long criticized Barnard and his crew for their on-air
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
They said of her potential $10,000 fine: "That's a lot of eggrolls."