Leadership of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe is speaking out against what they say was a racist message left on a tribal member’s voice mail. The message was allegedly left by Kirk Shewchuck, Chief Financial Officer of ACD, a Lansing-based telecommunications company. The company had been hoping to put up cell towers on tribal land. Tribal Public Relations Director Frank Cloutier issued a statement denouncing the message and describing the content.
Excerpted from Press Release from the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe:
The Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe takes a stand against racist comments left on a phone message by Telecommunications Executive, Kirk Shewchuck, CFO of ACD.net, a telecommunications firm in Lansing, Michigan. Mr. Shewchuck left a message for Donald Seal, Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Planning Engineer, on Tuesday, May 6, 2014.
Here is some of that conversation: We’ll see what happens. Those f**king Indians. Let’s call them red man. You know what? F**k you! Let’s sic the Sault (?) Sioux Tribe on you! Let’s get a good old fashioned Indian war going! woo woo woo woo woo (laughter)… go up to the reservation and so you don’t want a wireless tower here? You know what happens to your cell phone signals…(laughter). … I’ll turn it back on in a few minutes after you agree to… maybe they would like that.
Tribal chief, Steve Pego states, “I wonder if ACD.net CEO, Kevin Schoen tolerates this type of racial and vulgar activity by his executives?” Pego further states, ” In today’s society, tolerance and mutual respect are still goals to be obtained and not what we assume we should have. That in itself is a sad reality. I would ask that all Native Americans and other minority groups stand with us in denouncing Mr. Kirk Shewchuck and ACD.net.”
When we spoke with Kevin Schoenberg, the CEO of ACD, he said while he hadn’t yet heard the voice mail recording, he would find it hard to believe that his employee used racist comments. He says Shewchuck himself is Native American.