Mukwonago Logo Saved! Racism Toward Native Americans Preserved in Wisconsin!

Wisconsin Representatives Mary Lazich and Neil Kedzie are working on a bill that will repeal Act 250 and save Mukwonago High School’s Indian nickname and Logo. They have already apologized to Mukwonago residents for the harm done to them by forcing their schools to defend the nickname and symbol in the first place. And they have criticized the cost. They also indicate that the state is “in new hands now” indicating that such harm will no longer come to the majority white population of Wisconsin should it wish to stereotype Native-Americans as warriors from hundreds of years past who the whites insist on calling Indians. Safe also, is the ability for white people to continue to appropriate to themselves the very last thing Native-Americans still retain: the identity of who they are. That now will return to being defined by the people who brutally took their lands by force, killed their people, destroyed their cultures, and made them outcasts. That this renewed effort is launched on the eve of Thanksgiving Day is an irony not lost on Struggles For Justice.

So the residents of Mukwonago who have so long complained to Struggles For Justice can rejoice that they have won! You have won! And will win from here on. Bask and revel in your victory. Enjoy it to the full. You were proved right and Struggles For Justice proven wrong. Indigenous people have been proven wrong. Your consciences are now clear once again and you are free to racially stereotype as before.

Or are you?

Not only does the Great Creator Spirit, and all the fallen ancestors of indigenous people in America know of these things but the Christian God and his son Jesus Christ and Holy Spirit know of these things. A great wrong: a great injustice, is not made right by continued injustice.

Notably, the Republicans in the State Legislature who are so intent on reversing the Department of Public Instruction in the Mukwonago Logo Case did not mention or address whatsoever how Native-American tribal councils and their people all over the state and nation may feel at being treated this way. The almost total disregard for Native-Americans in this entire logo controversy not only in Wisconsin but all over the nation is among the most notable features of the whole business. It is a stinging and standing rebuke to the respect for human rights inherent in the founding documents of the Republic that will continue to stand and speak to those with ears to hear until the heavens open up and this injustice and all those that stem from it are reversed.

And the research that shows the self-esteem and psychological safety of Native-American children are harmed by a predominant white culture that has such gross disrespect for them will remain. The resolutions of the two major psychological associations of professionals expressing their deep concerns about these things will remain. No amount of posturing, reversing previous laws, and pronouncements about the harm done to white people to defend their racist practices and the cost incurred in seeking justice for citizens can wipe away the stain. Nothing. It remains.

The most notable experience for Struggles For Justice in defending Native-American rights is the total lack of interest in what this really means to human beings affected by the injustices inflicted upon them. The indifference and intolerance met in simply seeking simple justice for our fellow human beings and citizens has been appalling to say the least.

A question for the now triumphant white majority in Mukwonago: if one single white child were seriously harmed by a symbol or nickname flung at them in Mukwonago would the community sit idly by and allow it to continue? Place this question in your hearts. Open your ears. Open your eyes and see.

Why has this essay been so openly racial? Simply this: because the question presented is one of race and racism. It cannot be ignored. Truth must be spoken.

There is an undeniable nobility in the struggle for human justice, for it is an appeal to something rare; to the moral decency of humankind. Frederick Douglass once said that “without struggle there is no progress” late in the 1880’s when Jim Crow segregation was making its appearance and the gains made by blacks in the United States as a result of the Civil War and Reconstruction were being turned back.

Struggles For Justice go on no matter the efforts made to turn them back. People whose voices may be disregarded or even stilled by violence cannot ever be silenced. The Native-American community in the United States will continue the struggle until hell freezes over and beyond if necessary. And Struggles For Justice will be with them no matter what lays ahead.

This horrible set of actions by Wisconsin lawmakers which is to come next January will not stand. Justice will be done. Right will prevail. prejudice and ignorance will be overcome and people will care compassionately for one another. The day will come when people no longer ignore and do harm to their fellow human beings through that prejudice and ignorance. That will be the true day of jubilee! All who thirst for righteousness in this world will be filled.

Dr. Thomas Martin Sobottke
Standing Perpetually and Proudly For Struggles For Justice

7 thoughts on “Mukwonago Logo Saved! Racism Toward Native Americans Preserved in Wisconsin!

  1. Now it will be open season on minorities and Native peoples all over the state. Intresting though to see the true colors of these people

  2. I would just like to say that this article is right. Using the logo was racial, but I don’t feel that it was racial in a negative sense. No one intended any offense in the use of this logo and i would compare it to the common racial sentiment that most basketball players are black. I’ve never witnessed any slurring, putting down of indians or their name or heritage in the use of the logo or the name INDIANS. Though I will support the new team and their name, I will always consider myself a mukwonago Indian, and I wear the name proudly.

    • Thank you for your very thoughtful comment. You’re right. There has been little or no overt racial discrimination by Mukwonago residents toward Native-Americans. We simply now know that the logo and nickname are race based and discriminatory even though the intention is not there that they be at all. We do know from the research that this stuff has a warping effect on our young people attending the Mukwonago Area Schools both dominant whites and native kids as well. The logo and nickname needs to be retired to remove that negative effect and protect kids and reduce stereotyping. One thing we all fully understand is the loyalty and tradition felt by the community. But it is a tremendous opportunity to turn over that proverbial new leaf and make a new tradition. With a new and less problematic logo and nickname the high school can enjoy a real mascot! Wow! Wouldn’t that be fun. In the end, making this change will be a way to also show tremendous respect for others and to acknowledge how they feel as a group about these things and the responsibility the community and its leaders have. Again, thanks for a rational and measured and honest comment. Glad to post it! Dr. Thomas Martin Sobottke

  3. The educated among us, particualrly those who study actual human behavior and perceptions point to real and measurable psychological damage to Native-American students with such logos and nicknames. If the behavior of those who love these things do not change and they remain racists and white supremacists they have that right under the First Amendment to the Constitution. But private businesses and individuals along with units of government by law cannot discriminate. The Mukwonao Area Schools are a unit of government and must pay attention to the efects of these things on kids. Even the majority group are affected by having their stereotypical images of Native-Americans confirmed. See the post on what we can do for schools that have these logos and nicknames posted on this very blog. It will help you Richard. I am sorry those of us with education have disappointed you so. We simply are people who do not wish to remain willfully ignorant. Many peer-reviewed research studies have shown the harmful effects of these race-based things. And, as you say, if people are not going to change at all, we still can change what is presented to them by public schools and since the logo issue is such a minor thing and can easily be remedied you might consider doing the obvious thing and just get rid of them entirely and move on. Mukwonago’s sports teams would be simply the team from Mukwonago and so on. Those who wish to keep the Indian nickname and logo have never adequately explained why it is essential to education in that community. I simply do not believe at all that the name Indian and the logo or a related mascot is essential no matter how traditional and heartfelt the people (white mostly) who want it kept feel about it. Why not end it all and get rid of the symbol and nickname and that is that. Find a new one that is not based on race. No other race has nicknames or symbols attached to them in this way. None. Some ethnic groups or people with a connection to a certain community thing have some connection like the Midgets up North at a high school, and the Freeport Pretzels in Illinois. There is the fighting Irish of Notre Dame. But no race is saddled with being stereotyped by the rest of us and forced to have it that way. Pick a name that stereotypes a very narrow and derogatory view of white people and let’s have that for the Mukwonago community schools nickname and symbol and see how popular it is. See how it instills pride and makes the people there feel good. If it does then let’s do that. If it would not…therein lies the problem.

  4. Has it never dawned on you people that the logo lifts up, magnifies, and honors native Americans? Maybe the school should honor the mole, or rat, or even the sloth!! Give your ignorance a break! By the way, I’m of the Menominee tribe.

    • And all of the tribes in wisconsin and the solid research bases all say the opposite as does every major American Indian organization does too

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