Honor Indians by Teaching, Sharing Culture by Richie Plass

Editor’s Note: Donald Enright, a Mukwonago resident, recently submitted a Letter to the Editor to the Waukesha Freeman that demanded a full response. This is that very excellent response to the view that remains all too common in Mukwonago.


American Indian Nine


Honor Indians by teaching, sharing culture

To the editor: Mr. Enright said that residents in Mukwonago are paying homage to Native Americans. I’ve never felt any. I’m Native American and for years no one from that town, school, school district or county has ever invited me to their school to share my point of view.

Why is that?

He also said that the community leaders named it “Place of the Bear.” Who were these community leaders? Were the Potawatomi leaders and/or spiritual leaders involved in this process?

Or were they non-Native American citizens from their community?

He goes on to say that their logo is that of a “proud Native American male.” Who is this “proud Native American male?”

Plus, why isn’t their name Native Americans instead of Indians? And what Indians are they referring to? I keep reading that the school, school district and community continually use the word “Potawatomi.” Are these the Indians they are referring to? Are they referring to the Apache? Maybe it’s the “Hekawi” from the old TV show “F Troop.” I can tell you with certainty that they are not referring to me because I know our tribe has never given any official support of the name. And just to remind Mr. Enright and everyone else, there is NO Native American nation in Wisconsin that supports these names and logos. But, in the words of Scott Walker, freedom of speech allows Mr. Enright (and myself) the right to say what we want. But, as is the norm, every Republican in Wisconsin discounts what we say.

He ended his letter with words of concern of members of the state’s various native communities.

Again, why hasn’t anyone contacted me to present our exhibit at their school? Our traveling exhibit on Native American imagery, “Bittersweet Winds,” has been in several towns and schools in Wisconsin and in 13 different states across the United States. If Mr.

Enright and people like him are so “concerned,” I would like to know who they are bringing into their schools to teach and share our culture. I would like to know how they address the procedure of Act 31. I would like to know how their curriculum includes Native American speakers, teachings, heritage and history.

But what I’d really like to see is Mr. Enright personally address each of the 11 native nations and tell all of us why we’re wrong in how we feel and believe. I do this every time I take the exhibit to a new town and/or community that doesn’t agree with me. Education is the key, but if people like Mr.

Enright and Republican officials don’t want to listen and learn, I’ll keep my “freedom of speech” alive and well. Scott Walker says it’s OK.

Richie Plass

Director of Education Changing Winds Advocacy Center Green Bay

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