The Mukwonago Logo Case has given rise to strong feelings and opinions on the issue of Indian nicknames and logos in the entire State of Wisconsin. What has thus far been missing from this blog has been how this case makes the dominant white Euro-American population feel. Just where do they come from on this issue?
It has been pointed out to Struggles For Justice with a great amount of profit to the writer of this piece that for white Euro-Americans, in a community where a symbol and nickname they have revered and embraced for so long is threatened, it represents a serious loss to those people and their sense of who they are. Over the last 90 years the Mukwonago community has leaned upon the logo of a Native man in the headdress of a plains Indian and the name Indians to define what the community is and who they are as human beings. Over that time period, the compliment to that feeling and situation among Native-Americans themselves has been marginalized and lost altogether.
For Mukwonago residents and students of the high school there the potential loss of the logo and nickname is a strike to the heart of school loyalty and pride in the school and the community at large. It makes any challenge to it a threat to the community that must be met. The natural inclination to defend that community is activated. This needs to be clearly understood in the present controversy. And it is understood by Struggles For Justice.
But a community that has not confronted the racial prejudice inherent in this controversy now is being forced to do so and they do not like it. This is the positive social tension that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of in his famous Letter From A Birmingham Jail that is so necessary to positive growth on the issue.
It might be useful in working through this difficult process to ask a number of questions that would benefit all of us regardless of our position on this question. It is done so humbly and without superiority or arrogance.
Is the Indian nickname and logo the only means of holding the Mukwonago Area Schools community together?
Are there other things that might in future help define the Mukwonago community beyond this nickname and logo?
What is so essential about maintaining this nickname and logo?
Is there any solid evidence that harm is done to any child that attends the Mukwonago Area Schools by this symbol and name?
If so, what is our responsibility as citizens of either the community or the larger community of the State of Wisconsin to act to prevent harm to children and to the larger community as well?
How do Native-Americans feel beyond the immediate confines of Mukwonago about this issue? What are their wishes? How can we be sensitive to them and respectful to them?
Are we now being respectful to Native-Americans in employing this logo and nickname?
What do we actually know about this issue and all of the research that has been done on this question by reputable scientists over the past eight years?
What does that research imply? What does it lead us to recognize or fail to recognize?
If we were forced to give up the logo and nickname, how would we feel and how would we cope with the loss?
Would the loss of the logo and nickname present any opportunities for growth personally in us and in our community? It is known that the Chinese symbol for calamity is the very same symbol they use for opportunity. Can this change be an opportunity for growth and positive change in Mukwonago?
How would better relations between white Euro-Americans and Native people in Wisconsin be a boon to economic development? Wisconsin tribal councils have long opposed Indian nicknames and logos and yet they employ significant numbers of Euro-Americans in business developments that continue to grow. Might they grow faster with the end to this form of racism?
How could we personally experience real growth in our ability to identify, confront, and end what remains of racism in our society?
What benefits would there be to a society that is more a reflection of all the people of the state and not just the dominant white group?
How can we reach out to each other and respect each other more? What would that feel like?
There are so many questions we could ask. These are questions we must ask. How do you answer these questions?