4 years ago
Mike Baker is a former CIA covert operations officer and current CEO of Portman Square Group, a global intelligence firm. He's also the host of "Black Files Declassified" on Discovery+ and the Science Channel, author of "Company Rules, Or Everything I Know About Business I Learned from the CIA," and host of "The President's Daily Brief" podcast. http://www.portmansquaregroup.com/https://www.thefirsttv.com/pdb/
By the way, one of my boys was home sick the other day from school, the middle boy's sluggo. And so we were sitting on the sofa and I said, you know, you're not feeling, you want to watch a movie? Now, God bless him. He's 10 years old. He considers himself a baller. All he wants to do is play basketball. That's all he wants to do with his life. He knows he's going to get recruited by Duke. He knows he's going to end up in the NBA. But we're sitting there and it was really kind of sweet because he's got all this hard side to him and I'm just playing ball. And then he says, well, yeah, let's watch a Disney movie. So we kind of dialed up Disney Plus because we're sheep and we bought the Disney Plus thing and Peter Pan. The original Peter Pan, right? The original Disney Peter Pan. So we turned it on and I'd forgotten what that movie was like in terms of its treatment of Native Americans. Oh, it's horrible. Oh my God. So we're watching it and we get to that part where they're singing that song and the boys, the lost boys are tied up with Wendy and Michael and all of them. And the chief comes in and he wants to find Tiger Lily, the princess, because Hook is – the viewers are like, what the hell is going on here? So anyway, I'm sitting there and even Slugo looks at me and he goes, wow, this is kind of racist. Really? What a ten-year-old sense. Yeah, a ten-year-old sense. I thought, okay. Everything was racist back then. Everything was racist. Well, that's what we had. We had a conversation. I said, yeah. Yeah, pretty much what I told them. But anyway. Well, particularly about Native Americans. I mean, they just – they were able to get away with it. Nobody protested it. I've been – I'm reading this book now or I'm listening to it on tape called Black Elk Speaks. It's about this Oglala Sioux medicine man who was – while he was still alive in the 1930s, they wrote this book. He told the story of Custer and he was there. He was a young boy when Custer was killed and he told the story of like life on the plains and Crazy Horse and it's fucking fascinating. What was it written? It was written in the 1930s. Okay. It's called what? Black Elk Speaks. Black Elk Speaks. Yeah. I've listened to on tape – this is like the fourth or fifth one that I've listened to on Native Americans over the last couple of months, but this is the best one. This is the best one because – not that the other ones weren't great. They were great. But what's interesting about this is the actual words of a man who lived that life. It's not just a historical book about the time and describes the events of the time. This is a guy describing what he saw and he was talking particularly about war, about the way it was when they killed Custer and he was there when they killed Custer. And just the battles between the American soldiers and the Native Americans. It's like – it's crazy. It's crazy to think that it happened just a short time ago. And it's also crazy to think that if no one came to America, if the world just stayed in Europe and Asia and the way it had been before Columbus and before the pilgrims and all that shit, these people would probably still be living like that because that's not that long ago. Well, I mean, you think about it. What was it? It was a warring tribal culture. Yeah. Well, I mean, we also – I'm probably going to make a botch at this point, but yeah, warring tribal culture is in the Middle East, right? I mean, it's a difficult environment, right, in which to say, okay, we're going to have some sort of federal system. We're going to come together. We're going to work for the greater good, you know. But I mean, I think it's – I will say this. The most depressing scenes I've ever seen have been on Native American Indian reservations in this country. And I've – I've never been. Oh my God. I've never been other than casinos. It's just you go and – and I'd spent most of my adult life overseas, right, in some pretty grim places. And I remember the first time I was on a reservation here in the U.S. and I thought, how can this possibly be here? And I know that's a naive thought and people think, well, how could you not know that it was here? But it's, you know, A, it's not a good history, but B, it's not a good follow-up either. I mean, right? We haven't – we just – to this day, we don't do a very good job at all. And the reservation systems, not all of them, of course, it's like every, you know, not every urban center is, you know, crime rate. I mean, that's ridiculous. But I'm just saying, in general, you know, some of the most difficult places I've ever seen have been right here in our borders, right, on Indian reservations. And good God. Yeah, I want to get someone who's in – someone to come in here who's a Native American, who's a historian, who really understands the history of their tribe, someone who can come in here and talk to me about it. Because I just had a sort of a peripheral understanding of it up until about five or six months ago. I really – you know, I had seen movies and I had read books and I had kind of understood, but I didn't really, really get into it until I started reading these books. And it's just incredible to think that there was millions and millions of tribes or millions and millions of members of different tribes living in this country, like basically like Stone Age people, just 150 years ago. And oftentimes, you know, in constant conflict with each other. Yes. Oh, that's a big thing that I didn't really understand. The horrific things they did to each other, kidnapped each other, tortured each other. And we came along and they're like, what the fuck? Yeah, lighten up, I mean, geez. We brought them a whole new level. Well, as soon as we figured out repeating guns, as soon as they figured out revolvers with more than one bullet, because they were fighting the Comanches originally, they were fighting them with muskets. And the Comanches could shoot like six arrows in 10 seconds. So they would just lighten these fucking soldiers up because they couldn't reload. So they'd wait for the initial volley and then they'd charge in. And they also could, they were such great horsemen, they could actually shoot underneath the horse's neck. So they'd hold onto the reins somehow where they were under the horse's neck and they were protected and they were shooting at the soldiers. And they were shooting from horses. Nobody knew how to do that before. Everybody got off the horse to shoot. And they were shooting while they were riding. Well, the horse was covering concealment. I mean, I feel bad for the horse, but he's covering concealment. That's how the Comanches apparently dominated, is that they had so many horses. They were rich in horses. They were the ones that figured out how to master the horse the best. They also used small horses. They didn't use like these big horses that the Americans used. And they were small people. Comanches were fairly small people. Yeah. No, it is a fascinating history. I've spent more time reading sort of the military aspects of the Indian wars, right, from the US military side of things. And occasionally, a book will stray into sort of, okay, well, let's look from a perspective of whichever tribe they were in battle with, but not usually very good. So I'll pick up this book because it's an amazing history and you're right, it's not that long ago. There's another great book. Well, there's quite a few of them, Blood and Thunder. It's about Kit Carson. Yes, I read that. That is good. Fuck, man. That dude. He was a beast. Get him on the show. My God. No, he was tremendous, right? Yeah. And from nothing, right? Came from nothing. Right. And was a small guy, wasn't, you know, had a soft voice. Yeah, there was a show, Men Who Made America, I think. Or it was a follow on from that, but they had a handful of episodes about Kit Carson, but they kind of went through, they picked out some of the sort of the individuals you would imagine, right? I mean, Daniel Boone and some of the other characters as the frontier, I think, of men who built the frontier, I think, is what it was called as a follow on to that series that they did about the men who built America. Okay, which seems misogynistic, but... Women probably helped. They, you know, behind every great titan of industry, there was a woman and several of his mistresses. But I think that this thing about building the frontiers was interesting. They tried to provide a perspective from the Native American Indians point of view. I don't think they necessarily did a very good job because I think they just had so much room to cover, but it was still worth watching. So it was a good series. Yeah, I think most of us are pretty ignorant to what goes on on the reservations today, and me included. You know, you hear these horrible stories of alcoholism and poverty and, you know, it's just they live in these nations inside of a nation. It's very strange. And the only thing that really, you know, there's natural resources that can help them, but really gambling. Gambling becomes a big revenue source for a lot of them, and then it really gets corrupt. And then people are trying to game the system, no pun intended, but people are gaming the system and saying, oh, I'm going to create this non-existent tribe. You get that in Washington, D.C. is can't swing a dead cat without hitting some lobbyist who's trying to push for designation of some obscure element as a tribe, right? So that they can simply apply for a caming license. Yeah. Yeah. I don't know. I'm not sure how you turn that around. There's the Native American Indian Museum in D.C. that opened several years back. It's very good. It's a little tough to follow. I will say this much in terms of just the way they've laid the museum out, right? But it's just absolutely full to the ceiling of incredible stories and artifacts and history bits, but it's definitely worth people going to D.C. if they're saying, okay, I'm going to go to the Smithsonian, they should put that one on the list because it's really fascinating.