We have a long way to go

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I was visiting my tribal reservation, the Saginaw Chippewa at Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, attending our yearly powwow and seeing all my relatives these past few weeks while the Winters Express had its recent incident over Native Americans as mascots. This is not a popular thing to write about — the use of the warrior logo — but since I have resided in Winters for 28 years, it seems that it is only fair, as I’m a long-term resident and a retired American Indian educator who last worked at D-Q University before its passing.

It would appear that some of the previous opinions are almost hate-filled mail, and that I found them equally repulsive.  I think one analogy would be the reaction of the black community if there were a black mascot of someone with an Afro-wig placed upon its head? I find it hard to understand why the white community would not respond to a Lakota warrior, but would undoubtedly be upset over a black mascot.

I recently drove to the Standing Rock reservation to attend their protest last November and it was a degrading experience to see many of the Native Americans arrested because they were willing to stand up for their water rights, as well as many of the white people who protested along with them. These Americans and people from all over the world were willing to come to Standing Rock and listen to the Lakota opinions with regard to their requests

Most whites, though, are still willing to use Indians as mascots and this topic is troublesome, as we know. However, a survey amongst most Native Americans would show that they are not in agreement with the majority of sports fans and one of the worst is the racist logo of the Cleveland Indians.

The symbols of Indians as mascots have been removed across America or softened so we have seen some progress.  It appears we have a long way to go.

GARRY DOUGLAS

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