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Student at center of controversy
JULY 24, 2000

Do Indians really exist any more? And if they do, are they really Indians? Didn't we kill them all off, anyway?

These are questions facing many throughout the country today. Tonight, real life becomes as strange as fiction as the television show Strangers with Candy tackles tough question of Indian identity.

Who is Jerri Blank?
If you aren't familiar with the Comedy Central program Strangers with Candy, Jerri Blank is the oldest living high school freshman in the country. After spending years in the gutter, she's returned to Flatpoint High School in an attempt to get an education.

Naturally, Jerri is an outsider. Shunned by her fellow students for being too old, too ugly, and just not hip, Jerri tries to gain the acceptance of her peers by holding drug parties, joining the debate team, and joining a cult.

But home is where most of her troubles lie. Her step-mother despises her and her younger brother hates sharing a home with his creepy older sister.

Is Jerri Indian?
Jerri's mother breaks the news to her. She's full-blooded Native American. No wonder she's an outcast!

Not only does Jerri reject her Indian heritage, the town rejects it as well. The idea of even one Indian existing in Flatpoint today tears them apart.

"Iíve always thought they were kinda just somethiní writers made up to be villains in cool cowboy movies or for mascots of major league baseball teams," says one student. "Seeiní a real one is kind of a trip though, but itís also a little scary. I mean, they were pretty nasty customers in a few movies I saw, but Chief Wahoo on the baseball caps seems pretty cool, so I donít know."

The town has been led to believe the tribe fell into oblivion after being massacred during a seven-day war. They signed The Treaty of Swiss at gunpoint, giving up all of their land.

But is Jerri really Indian?
With none of her people around her, how can Jerri know what being Native American is all about? How can she get in touch with her heritage?

Will she try to find her people and seek federal recognition? Will they stake a land claim on Flatpoint? More importantly, will they open a casino?

We asked Jerri these tough questions. Unfortunately, her short attention span caused her to forget what we asked her in the first place.

"Thank you for sending me your e-mail. I started to read it, but then quickly started thinking of my own problems half way through the first sentence," responded Jerri.

So if you want to find out if Jerri Blank is really Indian, you have to tune in tonight and find out because we don't know the answer to any of these questions any more than you do!

To tune into the real-life saga of townsfolk and other individuals who don't think Indians exist in particular portions of the country, tune into Indianz.Com every day.

Strangers with Candy airs every Monday night on the Comedy Central cable network at 10PM EST.

"Trail of Tears" (Episode #0205) airs tonight. Check NativeTV for updates on future showings.

The Official Comedy Central Site: www.comedycentral.com/swc/

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