Urgent: week of October 15

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Stand : One Thread

Messages which absolutely need to be seen today due to time constraints or breaking news. Remember to check the"new answers" link for the most active topics. This topic will run for a week, and then we will start a new dated "urgent" file.

-- Anonymous, October 15, 2000


I didn't sign up to speak, but hopefully this letter below will get into this week's issue of the Woodstock Times. i was trying to see if Parry would let me do it on a "name withheld" basis, but he wasn't willing to, so I'm taking the chance to speak out.


To the Editor:

With the latest flat tire, we are now up to 7 incidents of mysterious flat tires on cars driven by members of S.T.A.N.D. (Support Tolerance and Nurture Diversity), the group of Onteora parents who have publicly spoken out in favor of replacing Onteora's "Indian" mascot with a mascot that is not a racial stereotype. Most of these incidents have involved insertion of nails and other sharp objects into the tires in a pattern that has been common to most of the nailings. One member has had outdoor property vandalized at their home, in addition to tire vandalization.

The public silence from the five Board of Education members who want to retain the Indian mascot, not to mention their group of supporters, "CARE for OCS", has been conspicuous. None of them have publicly condemned these malicious acts of vandalism that are intended to frighten and intimidate. Given that the "nailings" have been covered by the Daily Freeman as well as the Woodstock Times, we doubt that they are unaware of them. Why haven't they distanced themselves from these acts, when it is clear that the only common factor involved in all instances has been the controversial mascot issue?

Is this merely criminal mischief, as the police complaints state, or something far more serious? We are not talking about youthful hijinks like "egging" of cars. Many of these incidents of vandalization have been discovered after the cars had been parked on school district property. Consider this: someone seems to have been paying attention to those who have been speaking out, and noting which cars are theirs. We have been singled out for this treatment, and some of us consider this to be stalking.

Did you hear any of the interviews with survivors of the Firestone tire blowouts? Can you imagine how it feels for us to wonder what could have happened to us if our tires had blown out before we discovered the nails? It's been hard sleeping well, knowing that someone has been willing to hurt my family because of my speaking out about this controversial national issue that affects us locally. We're parents, we carry kids in these cars. We don't just drive our own kids to places like local athletic events and the mall, we carry kids whose parents support the Indian mascot. Why is someone willing to hurt kids over a high school mascot?

Will it take a tragedy to get the public to say enough is enough? Do you really want a school mascot whose supporters were rejected by over 40 % of the district voters in the May school board elections in what was widely felt to be a de facto referendum? Do we need a mascot that offends not just many in our community, but is deemed hurtful nationally by the many Native American groups and individuals who are watching the Onteora situation? If you don't feel you know enough about the issue, try typing "Indian mascot" into any search engine, and see how overwhelmingly Native Americans articulate their dislike of Indian mascots. This is an educational issue and should be decided on educational merits alone, not emotional ones. Spiking the tires of those who you don't agree with does not sound like the bravery or nobility that the Onteora Indian was supposed to embody. Let the kids have a mascot that isn't controversial, that they can just have fun with and not have to worry about.

We urge community and church leaders to speak out publicly against the person or persons who have been willing to injure S.T.A.N.D. members and their families in the name of their cause. We urge the public to repudiate the ideas put forth by some in our district that seek to create divisions in the community, those ideas that suggest that some residents are rightful members of our communities and that other residents who are different from them are merely "outsiders." That we are not all the same strengthens our community, if we are willing to honor and respect that diversity instead of reject it.

Don't let bullying, intimidation and inflexibility set the agenda for what happens in our schools. Speak out against those who would use scare tactics to silence us and attempt to hurt our families. Let the person or persons spiking the tires know that the community does not condone such acts. This madness must stop.

-- Anonymous, October 16, 2000

As I approach the last 6 weeks of housebuilding, things are getting more intense in terms of decision-making, but still very exciting and fun. I regret that I can't participate more in STAND, but I'll be back in due time. A couple of things to pass on: 1) Remember I once brought up to the OCS Board the dangers of commercialization in the schools? Well, the New Paltz group OPEN (Organizing for Public Education Now) is sponsoring a public forum on Thurs. Nov.9 called "Responding to Commercialism in our schools" at SUNY's Lecture Center 100, 7:30 pm. It should be very informative and give us ideas on how to approach OCS Board with our concerns about protecting the integrity of the learning environment.

2. Carolourlit@specialist.com Thought you in particular would be interested in this email I received from JackSmith. The rest of us, too.

Subj: We're Off to See the Wizard... Date: 10/12/2000 8:02:27 PM Central Daylight Time From: jacdon@earthlink.net This is from the Oct. 9 issue of the Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World. We'll sure miss Toto, the little dog, but goodbye L. Frank Baum. Jack Smith, Mid-Hudson NPC/IAC ------------------------------------------------------------- 'OZ' AUTHOR SOUGHT INDIAN HOLOCAUST: By Tim Carpenter L. Frank Baum's fairy tale about a Kansas girl swept by a tornado to a magical world of munchkins and witches made both author and state synonymous with Oz. So deeply is "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" ingrained in American popular culture that a development company is poised to build an $861 million Wonderful World of Oz theme park and resort near DeSoto to capitalize on the tale's popularity. If built, the Oz development would stand as a tribute to a genius storyteller whose essential work spawned the most-watched film ever, "The Wizard of Oz." But one slice of the story is largely ignored. It is the piece of Baum's legacy that belies his place as the man who captured the imagination of children with a book about the adventures of Dorothy, Toto, Tin Man, Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion. And it's contrary to a notion expressed in "The Wizard of Oz" that creatures of great diversity can put differences aside and work together in respect and harmony.

Step back in time to Aberdeen, S.D., in late 1890. Conflict among white settlers and American Indians was intense. It was a decade before "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" became a bestseller. Salesman, typesetter, press operator and editor L. Frank Baum was the publisher of The Aberdeen Saturday Pioneer. It was in the pages of his weekly newspaper that Baum left his mark as a racist who repeatedly called for the mass murder of American Indians. Baum's first appeal for genocide was printed immediately after the slaying of Sitting Bull and 10 days before U.S. Army troops, supported by Indian mercenaries, killed about 300 Lakota men, women and children at Wounded Knee Creek, S.D. Here is what Baum wrote: "The proud spirit of the original owners of these vast prairies, inherited through centuries of fierce and bloody wars for their possession, lingered last in the bosom of Sitting Bull. With this fall the nobility of the redskin is extinguished, and what few are left are a pack of whining curs. "The whites, by law of conquest, by justice of civilization, are masters of the American continent, and the best safety of the frontier settlements will be secured by the total annihilation of the few remaining Indians. "Why not annihilation? Their glory has fled, their spirit broken, their manhood effaced; better that they die than live the miserable wretches that they are. We cannot honestly regret their extermination." On Jan. 3, 1891, after Wounded Knee, Baum published an editorial suggesting that the remnants of a dying culture should be eradicated to make safe the ascendancy of another. "The Pioneer has before declared that our only safety depends upon the total extermination of the Indians," he wrote. "Having wronged them for centuries we had better, in order to protect our civilization, follow it up by one more wrong and wipe these untamed and untamable creatures from the face of the earth."

Jimmie Oyler, a resident of DeSoto and self-described principal chief of United Tribe of Shawnee Indians, said an Oz theme park on former Shawnee lands near DeSoto would be offensive. "He more or less said kill them all," he said. "If it has anything to do with Baum ... it's never going to be on Shawnee land." Joe Reitz, a business professor and director of the International Center for Ethics at Kansas University, said the Baum editorials were sufficient reason to rethink the Oz project. "To build a monument to a man who advocated genocide among Native Americans in this part of the country seems to be financially suicidal," he said. "If you give people a reason not to spend money, they probably won't do it.".... +++


-- Anonymous, October 18, 2000

Another victory to note.


By Lisa Black Tribune Staff Writer October 17, 2000 At a packed meeting Monday night, the board of Niles Township High School District 219 voted 6-1 to drop the controversial "Indians" team name at Niles West High School in Skokie and will now begin searching for a new name and mascot.

The board took the vote at 10:45 p.m. after hearing from dozens of speakers who passionately advocated for one side or another.

School board members said they will gradually replace the old name during a regular maintenance schedule to avoid spending money immediately.

"This is not a popular decision, but every once in a while you do what you think is right," said Leon Finkel, a board member who voted with the majority.

At least 200 people attended the meeting in the auditorium of Niles West. Most of them, including students, parents and alumni, spoke in favor of keeping the "Indians" name.

But representatives of Native American groups said the name disrespects their heritage.

"We are not a trophy to be hung up on a wall. This does not honor us," said Matthew Beaudet, president of the Illinois Native American Bar Association and assistant director of the Chicago Department of Administrative Hearings. He and others said the name evokes images of a feathered, tomahawk-waving warrior, which they said misrepresents the history or culture of Native Americans.

However most people at the meeting spoke in favor of keeping the name and said they didn't understand how the word "Indian" could be offensive.

When students at Niles West voted Friday on the issue, 67 percent voted to keep the name.

"It is the school board's place to ensure that the schools use their mascots in a respectful manner," said Mark Aler of Skokie, who said the name should be retained.

He said the school board did the right thing by eliminating the image of a warrior in a headdress as the school's mascot in 1989.

"If there are people who still have an issue with our selected mascot name, I suggest that the school board respond with the fact that our continued use of the name shows nothing but respect and admiration. We cannot rewrite history for the vocal minority," Aler said.

A report prepared earlier this fall estimated that it would cost $150,000 to redo the gym floor and paint the walls and another $80,000 for new uniforms.

The move marks the final chapter of controversy over the name, which has been found offensive by some Native Americans.

The school board in 1989, after hearing complaints, agreed to limit the use of the Indian mascot. The district also ended the tradition in which a student dressed as an Indian, and it began labeling school uniforms only as Niles West. Practices such as honoring team members as "Savage of the Week" also were banned.

But some vestiges of the Indians name have remained, such as the name on the gymnasium wall and a totem pole near the athletic field.

In July, a man complained to the school board, prompting discussions on dropping the name, according to Gail Stone, vice president of the board.

-- Anonymous, October 18, 2000

Subject: RE: Chiefs teach-in

Sheku Sara,

I don't know if any of these ideas might help with your Teach-In, but they were developed by Wisconsin Indian educators and members of the Youth Indian Mascot and Logo Task Force for our advocacy and if you think they will work for your group go please use the ideas.

Sometimes to make the point, I ask the group for their ethnic origins. Then I follow up with something like "Polish, French, and German, Wonderful! Why don't you see if you can get one of these rich ethnic groups to become the mascot. Indian people have had this "Honor" in your community since 1929 (or whenever), isn't it time for someone else to be honored. Especially since we don't seem to want to be honored this way. Wow you could have some great ethnic mascots with this mix. "Stash" the mascot could dance a polka whenever the Pollacks score. Your cheerleaders could wear babushkas. Or if you go with the Germans, your band could goosestep onto the field, your mascot Heinz could wear lederhosen and raise a huge stein when the team scores. For the French, your mascot could be "Frog Boy"......." You get my drift. I hit on european ethnic groups so that latter I can make a point about the diverse tribes in Wisconsin and how some speak different languages and have different cultural practices, like different european groups. Sometimes Indian Nations speak the same languages and have similar practices yet still have regional differences, sort of like the various Scandinavian Nations. Sometime differences have to do with history, removal and who a groups neighbors are. In Wisconsin we have several bands of Anishinabe peoples as well as Haudenoshonne who came from New York and Ho-Chunk who have been here as long as forever. The Stockbridge-Munsee band is Algonquin speaking and came to Wisconsin after a history of several removals and relocations. The mascot issue can lead into exploring many areas of Wisconsin Indian studies. Its really a good point of entry because it is a contemporary issue involving stereotyping. The movement in Wisconsin to teach about Wisconsin Indian tribes is all about replacing stereotypes with accurate and authentic information because of the racism that devasted our state in the 80's and 90's over the issue of the Chippewa people asserting the rights reserved by treaties. Sometimes I teach about how Indian people see themselves by comparing the various Tribal seals that our tribes have adopted, each has a story and some represent creation stories, clan systems, and traditional values. I then hold up the Generic Feathered Headress warrior in profile and ask "What does this symbol mean?"

Another device the taskforce has developed is after identifying all the schools and districts in the state that have an Indian logo, and what that schools official depiction is, we divide them into categories. 1. Generic Clip Art full feathered headress in profile, facing left on the page 2. Variations of #1 with subtle variations on the clip art(Color reversals, hand drawn, facing in the opposite direction) 3. Other depictions such as one or two feathers, three-quarter profiles, cartoons,etc. 4. Indian references, such as "Flying Arrows", the names "Indians", "Braves", "Chiefs", "Cheiftains", "Blackhawks" (that are not birds), and "Warriors" that have an "Indian" reference. We then put together a booklet that asks the question "Q. What do all these schools have in common" followed by a list of category 1. schools. One the next page we show the generic clip art and state, "A. They all use the same Clip art for their team logo." and the question "Q. Is that a stereotype, or what?" The next page says "Q. Are these stereotypes too?" and shows the category 2.logos, school and team names. This is followed by "Q. What about these?" with the category 3. logos. "Q. And these?" with similar treatment of all the 4's. The next page is "YES" The next is a thank you to all the school districts in Wisconsin that have shown respect by changing an "Indian" l/m/n. This is a little work in getting each of the official logos from the schools and scanning them and pasting them, but it is an effective tool once you develop it and it is very hard to argue that these are not stereotyped when they are clip-art images and when they are visually grouped in this way. Many schools don't realize that "their" logo is identical to the logo used by 17 other schools in the state.

Oskanasu, Barb

-- Anonymous, October 18, 2000

On a more local note I heard yet another ridiculous story which only confirms how evil our opponents can be.

Oddly, it seems as if Tom Rosato has had his cars serviced for over 18 years by none other than ace mechanic and fervent Onteora Indian supporter Tom Clare. Tom needed some service done on his wife's car and had called Mr. Clare several times each time leaving messages but receiving no return call. Finally, Tom had reached Mr. Clare on the phone in person but was told that he could no longer service Tom's cars. It seems that Mr. Clare refuses to work on Tom Rosato's cars because of his political beliefs. When Tom pressed him on this issue, Mr. Clare stated that 15 people have told him that if he continued to work on Tom Rosato's cars they would stop giving him their business. According to Tom, a reference was made by Mr. Clare referring negatively to Tom resigning from the facilities commission and his public statements regarding the board. (There must have been considerable pressure on Mr. Clare to make such a business decision considering all the future flat tire repairs he has lost). Tom has lodged a complaint to the NYS AG office and local DA office.

Truth is way stranger than fiction, eh?

-- Anonymous, October 18, 2000

What station does Tom Clare work at, so that I can avoid it in future? And it's he who is also the pastor of the Wesleyan Church too, isn't he?

-- Anonymous, October 19, 2000

Tom Clare is truly a backyard as he works from his home and has no garage as I understand it. But he is a licensed mechanic in that he has the paperwork in line to do NYS inspections. As far as I know he is not the pastor of the Wellsylan church. That is the church lady's husband who live on Steenburghan Lane in either the log cabin on the corner of Reservoir Road or it is the house next to it. The Clare family live on upper Boiceville Road.

On another note, does anyone have access to local, county or state criminal records? I would be interested in doing a criminal background check on some of the people working at the school.

-- Anonymous, October 19, 2000

I loved it in the cameras article in the WT when Marty said there weren't any voting blocks on the Board. Maybe someone at Rosato's meeting may want to look into this, and provide documentation?

Ada Montare of the US Justice Department Community Relations Service is quoted in the WT vandalism article (p.8), the second time since a sidebar in a July (?) article. Says neither group has accepted them as an intermediary, along with some dubious logic that seems to trivialize the vandalism.

I don't EVER remember her name or office coming up in discussion on this bulletin board. Did she talk to some of you separately on the side, that you rejected her? Was it discussed at one of our meetings I didn't get to and just not reported here? Or is there some other "side" she talked to that wasn't us, and wasn't CARE?

Please enlighten me.

Jim, I love the idea of selling nails. But watch, someone from CARE will buy one and put it in our tires and then say we did it to ourselves just for attention.

-- Anonymous, October 20, 2000

Took Suki to a haunted house last night, and regretted that we didn't think of this earlier. Wouldn't it have been fun to have done a haunted house on a school board theme as a fundraiser/hellraiser?

Can't you see it? The 1984 schoolbus, with appropriate video monitoring , and spooky audio amplifying. The drughounds from hell, searching lockers. Marty's quote about there being no voting block on the board emblazonedin the dungeon, where 5 skeletons are manacled together as a group.

-- Anonymous, October 21, 2000

Moderation questions? read the FAQ