250+ people.

And not a single one to intervene during the obvious mental decay that Canadian Williams was undergoing prior to the event.…

Beautiful photos. I wish I could have been there, but I'm was out of town.
Posted before I could finish editing. :(

Anyway, I was also going to say that I am glad those who attended were able to find a sense of community.
Very nice piece, Cienna, and Kelly, gorgeous photos!

It looks like it was a lovely gathering, well-attended, and with a nice cross-section of the community. The log poles look beautiful - a fine way to remember Williams and his untimely death at the hands of a rogue cop.

Never forget, Seattle.
@1: Should we intervene in your case, John? Complete loss of a sense of humanity is a pretty major indicator of dementia.

I couldn't bring myself to go yesterday, as much as it could have helped. Largely because the problems are still there. Look at people like John Bailo who stoop to victim blaming and a twisted attempt at dehumanizing JT Williams.

I'm glad his family is finding more peace each and every day.
Props to Rick for doing right by his brother. Those poles are beautiful. So is the way the Rick's been able to get so much support for the project.
@1 - I asked the question, where were all these supporters, where were all these people, who suddenly give a shit, where were they when this man was literally drinking himself to death? Fine that they show up for the politically convenient tragedy that was over in an instant, but the slow motion tragedy of this man who would've been dead within a few years from liver failure, or getting beaten up, or wandering into traffic - no one gave a shit. No one really gives a shit except for their own purposes, and that's the truth.

I don't feel sorry for the dead. Their problems are over. I feel sorry for those who are still alive and are ignored by literally everyone around them. Want to honor Williams? Do so by actually helping someone who can still benefit from your help.

You don't get out much anywhere do you?

Because looking at your prior comments (…) , for the PAX gamers thread you wrote

I'm offended that nobody invited me to this party.

So there you have it. Alone. Isolated. Not invited.

Let's make sure Baconcat's problems don't go unnoticed.

Also...keep him away from knives.
too bad that number of people didn't give a shit about him when he was living
Um, "not a model of traditional success"?! That's classic. Where the fuck was your corny drum circle when he exposing himself to women and using the sidewalk for a toilet? People who spend 70 grand on an English degree and work at Tully's aren't "a traditional model of success". Your drunken bum Indian Christ was a waste of oxygen.
Walking around downtown with "a beer in one hand and knife in the other" = celebrated expression of one's culture.

Shooting someone who appears to be drunk and who is holding a deadly weapon = history's greatest monster.
Your drunken bum Indian Christ was a waste of oxygen.
Wow. You are a real piece of shit.
I'm not spiritual, so I have nothing to gain from being nice. Susanswerphone @10, I pray for your miserable death.

This is a moving tribute to a troubled man who died horribly and unnecessarily. In death there is life, and I'm thrilled to see Rick Williams revive this part of his shattered culture. Something good comes of this.
This "where were the supporters of John while he was alive" heartless talking point is as shortsighted as it is deplorable, because if you haven't been there firsthand, there is no room to talk, being annoyed at your cousin or college roomate does not equal the sheer inability to "help" people with an actual disease such as the one John T Williams had. It is not too different from saying you as a family didn't fight that cancer/blood illness/other condition hard enough, after that person died, IMO.
@8: It's hard to turn this back on you without being deliberately hateful towards you, so I won't do it. I'll just say that people don't have to worry about me -- and they don't. I'll also gladly point out that my social calendar is always pretty full and if you're legitimately concerned I can provide you a copy.

So I hope you find your peace, John.
@14: It's hard for people to have even sympathy when they don't see you as human.

Anyone who mentions their native heritage or membership in a tribe is treated like an oddity and a guy in traditional regalia is practically a unicorn. People assume we're in constant decline and that we're on the brink of riding off into the sunset, even as our tribal enrollments are starting to increase again. We're largely invisible, which is why it's great to see people turn out for this event.
@13 Fnarf, if you're looking for a "social justice martyr" why not the Tuba Man or the guy that was stabbed on the metro bus? What are your prerequisites for this category you flabby, gutless, pc pussy?
@17: I think you're trying to force people into your own line of thinking, which probably explains why you don't actually get what Fnarf is saying.
@ 16: I think it's called the Noble Savage/Drunk Injun dichotomy.
this pity party is sooooo Seattle
@19: I need a shirt that says "I AM NOT A UNICORN, I'M COMANCHE" in big letters. And "We do exist" in small letters underneath.

I think that's what I'll make today.
No, I understood Fnarf's deep and complicated wish of death for me. I do love to see that fat, pervy windbag chime in on Slog. Thanks Fnarf! Club Z apparently has WiFi?
I've grown weary of your pc powwow for dead chief thunderbird so I take my leave. It'd be nice if folks around here respected the police as much that useless piece of shit "woodcarver".
Thank You Susanswerphone you summed up my position succinctly.
I'm guessing people are angry that someone they can easily hate is getting more support than they themselves receive every day. Perhaps those angry people need time for self-reflection.

@24: Maybe this makes me a hypocrite, but I'd really rather all those angry, hateful people drive their SUVs off cliffs en masse.
No, you're just a bunch of fucking hypocrites. I work all day, every day, with the forgotten, the alone, and the ignored. Drunks, drug addicts, prostitutes that have had their teeth kicked in so many times they don't even bother trying to get them fixed anymore, men so far gone they will sit in corners and piss on themselves all day long. I've watched men and women lose every family member and friend they've ever had. Through it all we encourage people not to give up, to pull through, to get them to believe, despite all evidence to the contrary, that someone cares about them. I've been beaten up and stabbed in the course of my job. I've literally given my life to people like Williams, watched them drop like flies, with no one noticing or caring except for me and a few others who, for one reason or another, have taken it upon ourselves to care for the rejects, the ACTUAL rejects, of society.

So, forgive me for being pissed off to see this outpouring of media-friendly/artistic grief over one person because he can be used as a symbol. Not a single one of you gave one single flying shit about this man when he was alive. Your crocodile tears and your need for this to be a 'message' or 'lesson' is sickening, just fucking sickening.

So fuck you, @14. And fuck you, too, Baconcat.
@26: I'm pretty sure alcoholism, poverty and an abusive system of social workers within the native american community is pretty relevant to my own life experiences. I also feel like it's probably in my best interests if people start noticing, even if it's through small gestures of concern like this.

I'd write my own paean about things I've done myself, but I feel like there's enough self-congratulating going on here.
A bum got shot by a cop. Cry me a river.
@26: and with all that "work" you supposedly do for the "rejects, of society" you can be such a clueless and sanctimonious ass of a tool at the same time?
Clearly the problem is you, 'cause reality and a basic sense of humanity is not sinking in brother.
@1 - He didn't die of neglect.
You know — Soledad Ziricio, Supreme Ruler Of The Universe, nunyah, Thank You Susanswerphone, wanttobedowntownwithoutsteppingaroundvomit, and sonder — I think your comments stem from a deep rooted realization that WHEN YOU DIE, no one is going to care... NOPE. SO SORRY... no one is going to even notice YOUR passing—most certainly, no one will build a totem, in honor of your life.

Jealous much? I think you are. Leave your shitty anonymous comments, go ahead. Wooo! Do you feel smart? John T was a human being, a real human that people loved. John has a family who loves him, and they are mourning his death. He had a right to live. Everyone has a right to live. People fall, and we try to pick them up. It is not for YOU to judge, what makes a human.
@31 Kelly O, you rock!

As I looked through the photos again just now, I was struck by the dignity of all the folks you shot, the folks that some of these sad, hateful people not only want to dismiss as human beings, but also expend the energy to post their thoughts. The strength that we can see in these pictures will never waver in the face of this small and pathetic group of trolls.
Thanks @ 31/32 for the reminder of what this is really about. You rock.
Love the photos. To anyone that cares, the AIM warrior's jacket says, "Mitakuye Oyasin"--it means, 'all my relations'. I'd like to answer the CONSTANT ignorant questions some people seem to have, but REFUSE to acknowledge the answers. For one, John was NOT drunk that day. The news said he had a BAC of .18, but the coroner found no alcohol in his system. He was sober. He was on his way back to his brothers--he was going to try to get sober and turn his life around. THAT is where his family was. Nearby. But you cannot force someone to accept help until they want help. John is not a martyr, he is not a hero. How does he differ from Tuba Man? He was murdered by a civil servant who was hired to PROTECT AND SERVE. Not your 'common criminal' or everyday sort of thug, but a thug in blue with a badge. He is not a hero, we are not making a hero of him. He is someone whose life was cut short by a trigger-happy cop, in broad daylight, for no reason except that he was there. Watch that video again. Birk has his gun out when he leaves his patrol car. You do not draw your weapon unless you are going to use it. He was planning to use it. Otherwise, why did he need to draw his weapon for some old (ish) dude just legally crossing a street with a street legal knife (which, as we know, was found to be CLOSED)? BIRK took it upon himself to make the stop, to 'make contact' (from behind John, who, let me remind you, was deaf in one ear, and had his earbuds in), he chose to go against ALL his training, never identifying himself as a cop (John never looked up as he crossed the street, so he never saw Birk), and BIRK chose to close the distance. Birk also chose to fire five shots during rush hour, on a downtown street. Four shots hit his 'target'---all in his side and back, including a through-and-through wound (where did those two bullets go? With people on the street, that was a very dangerous thing to do for the public at large), and BIRK chose to lie, lie, lie about what actually happened, and didn't think citizen witnesses would dare challenge his version of the story.
Whether you 'approve' of his life, or what he did with it, he was still a human, with a right to live. He was loved by MANY, most of all his family, who were never far away. And if you cannot understand that, then may your creator have mercy on your soul, or lack of one.
PS--Dena is an absolute SWEETHEART, and Nikk looked AWESOME in his regalia. And only one totem was raffled that day, but Eastern Band Cherokee elder Mary Alice made some 'consolation' gifts for raffle buyers, she also worked her heinie off, along with many volunteers, to make leather medicine bags, cedar bark roses and ribbons (cedar bark from the totem poles), and bags of cedar chips from the poles, for gifts. The drummers and singers did an AMAZING job (you can see elder Keith in the group, he only recently was released from a hospital, but he was right down there with us!). Thank you to everyone who attended, and volunteered to put this event together. Thank you to Bruce Harrell for attending and speaking.

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