Were Wisconsin legislators, or any judge for that matter, to repeal ACT 250, banning Indian logos, mascots and nicknames and permitting complaints to be filed about them to show the symbols are race-based and harmful in the school environment, they would be doing great injury to a whole people and their ongoing struggle for justice.
Worst of all they would be showing disrespect for their responsibilities to be good stewards of this earth, a nurturing place that is inclusive of all of the people’s who populate it as they are under the dominion of the Great Spirit.
The Great Spirit, God, Yahweh, Allah, or any of a thousand names is the creator spirit and the one who ultimately judges. She has made the waters run, the grass grow, the clouds to sport and play, and given us this earth. Injustice is a betrayal of the stewardship of this creation that has been granted to us for we too no matter our skin color and origins are of that very same creation.
How long O God, is the foe to scoff?
Is the enemy to revile your name forever?
Why do you hold back your hand?
why do you keep your hand in your bosom?
It seems Wisconsin’s leaders at all levels have been unable and are still unable to do the simple mathematics of human justice. They should be fully confronted with the very people they are so indifferent to and to be able to tell them why justice is denied them.
According to the Wisconsin Indian Education Association: “Regardless of original intent, relative attractiveness, or degree of cherished attachment, an “Indian” logo and the school traditions that grow up around it presents harmful stereotypes of living people and living cultures to students in the school environment. “Indian” logos do not honor Indian people; these logos are nothing more than outmoded, culturally demeaning symbols of oppression.”
They continue: “Icons of discrimination, including “Indian” logos, are slowly and surely following Sambo’s restaurants and black face minstrel shows into the realm of cultural oblivion. At question is not whether “Indian” mascots and logos will be removed from school settings across the nation, but when and how. Rising awareness that these archaic symbols are teaching children how to do racism is resulting in the removal of “Indian” logos in elementary and secondary schools, colleges and universities throughout the nation.”
For further advice as to how the stain of these hateful symbols can be successfully confronted and removed see:
Helping Schools That Retain Indian Nicknames and Logos
on the Race, Education, Community and Citizen Action portions of this website and posted earlier. It will provide thoughtful means to address this question.
The legacy of relations between the dominant white group and the party to whom the injury has been done is spoken of by Chief Blackhawk who led his people into their lands again and then was pursued right through Wisconsin and through what today is the isthmus between lakes Mendota and Monona and right through the campus of our State’s greatest seat of learning: a place where the mathematics of justice runs.
Chief Blackhawk speaks: “The white men are bad schoolmasters; they carry false books, and deal in false actions; they smile in the face of the poor Indian to cheat him; they shake them by the hand to gain their confidence to make them drunk, to deceive them, and ruin our wives. We told them to leave us alone, and keep away from us; they followed on, and beset our paths, and they coiled themselves among us, like the snake. They poisoned us by their touch. We were not safe. We lived in danger. We were becoming like them, hypocrites and liars, adulterous lazy drones, all talkers and no workers.”
This legacy must be replaced. The injury done over many centuries must be healed. Healing starts with respect. That respect begins with little things that symbolize the change. Indian logos and mascots and nicknames wherever they are found are just such a starting place. It is now April and the spring buds are upon us. September 8, 2011 approaches steadily, day-by-day. It need not wait that long. The authorities that rule this State of Wisconsin and any school district that retain such symbols can act at any time. They can strike for human justice righteously and join in the glorious consummation.
The math is simple. People are being harmed, they are being disrespected and their true beauty, nature, endowments, and intelligence are being disregarded. Their culture is not of the same standing as that of other cultures, and yet they were here first to populate this very land. Creator spirit let us have justice.