A coalition of indigenous North American tribes today announced a lawsuit against Golden Gate Yacht Club and Oracle Racing, saying they were denied entry to the 34th America’s Cup on the basis of their background. “We have as legitimate a right as anyone to defend America’s honor for the 34th America’s Cup in San Francisco,” said celebrity politician and artist Ben Nighthorse Campbell, spokesman for the Native America’s Cup Challenge (NACC). “We’ve assembled a team of tribal seaman, elder advisors and maritime warriors whose ancestors have been building and racing boats in North America for literally thousands of years.” Campbell said. “Back when Europeans were running around naked in blue dye, and Maori were still eating colonists, our tribes were sailing around fishing for salmon.”
The lawsuit asks the NY Supreme Court to require GGYC to set up a ‘winner take all’ defense trial in San Francisco this summer. “As submitted to this Court in Africa Diaspora Maritime v. Golden Gate Yacht Club, the GGYC has a duty to the American people that extends far beyond providing a playground for a handful of billionaires and some obsessed Kiwis,” the lawsuit says in its opening salvo. “Furthermore, GGYC has a duty as Trustee to all of America’s mariners to hold the trials in boats that reflect the true history of sailing in the Northwest – the dugout canoe with crab claw rig.”
NACC includes members of the Salish, Makah, and Iroquois tribes from the mainland US, the Tlingit and Inuit from Alaska, and several Canadian First Nations, though they have chosen to remain silent partners in fear of never being allowed to cross the US border again if they anger Larry Ellison. “We know how things work down there, and we don’t want Ellison to send us to Guantanamo,” one tribal elder said on condition of anonymity.
Africa Diaspora Maritime founder Charles Kithcart welcomes the additional Defender Challenger, though the idea of traditional racing craft may throw a wrench into his plans to race against Oracle on catamarans. “Seeing another group working to defend America’s Cup is truly rewarding, and I hope our campaign helped urge them to get into it,” said Kithcart, whose lawsuit goes to oral argument in Albany on the 17th of April. “We’ll just have to see what kind of boats the judges like best for the Defense, and maybe we’ll need to learn how to sail those cool canoes!”
Kithcart preferred not to discuss questions about discrimination in his lawsuit, though a NACC boatbuilder wasn’t so coy. “Yacht racing in general, and the America’s Cup in specific, is, without a doubt, the whitest sport left in all the world,” said the man known as Walks With Hammers. “You’d think they would’ve learned their lesson and opened it up to native peoples after that Maori dude turned the Cup intro scrap metal, but take a look at the ACWS events – the only color anywhere at those events is on the wings!”
The new case is Native America’s Cup Coalition v. Golden Gate Yacht Club. NYSC45223-12C.