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November news and views
-- Anonymous, November 15, 2001
Daily Freeman Nov. 15
"Rhinebeck schools will alter -- but not eliminate -- Indians" by Darrell F. Kuhn
RHINEBECK - Rhinebeck school officials will change, but not eliminate, the Indian depiction that has come to symbolize the district. Rhinebeck is one of three local school districts that calls its sports teams the Indians - the others are Onteora and Coxsackie- Athens - and district leaders are mindful of a state directive issued this past spring that urged schools to reconsider Native American references. But rather than make a wholesale change, Rhinebeck will alter its symbol to make it historically accurate.
Native Americans did populate the area that now is Rhinebeck, but they were not the Plains Indians that appear in the Rhinebeck school district logo. They were Eastern Woodland Indians.
A resolution approved unanimously on Tuesday by the Rhinebeck school board states the district will delete Indian portrayals that are historically inaccurate.
Superintendent Joseph Phelan said symbols at Chancellor Livingston Elementary School, Bulkeley Middle School and Rhinebeck High School that depict Plains Indians, rather than Eastern Woodland Indians, will be changed and that any inaccurate portrayals of Native American religion and culture will be eliminated.
Phelan said the school board acted with state Education Commissioner Richard Mills' directive in mind, In April, Mills told all school districts in New York state that the use of Native American symbols could prevent students and staff members from being part of a safe and comfortable school community.
"I want to make it clear to people that the board's resolution did not drop the Indians name (from) the school district," Phelan said. "We are simply phasing out references that are not accurate with local history and have religious implications."
School board President Laurie Rich said Plains Indians currently are depicted on a hallway wall, a gym floor and on some sports uniforms in the district, as well as on parking permits for high schoolers. She said the district will work hard to make necessary changes.
"We have about one year to phase this in and get it done," she said. "We've got about one year to make everything accurate."
School board member David Souers said artwork on some Web pages maintained by the school district also need to be changed.
"There is some cleaning up to do," he said.
There has been no movement in the Coxsackie-Athens district toward changing Indian team names and symbols. And Onteora, which at one point last year was ready to make a wholesale change away from Indian references, now seems determined to keep things the way they are.
-- Anonymous, November 15, 2001
WASHINGTON -- Our country's return to normalcy after the Sept. 11 attacks includes a resumption of what I call "Stupid College Students Racial Tricks."
Particularly troublesome this year have been efforts by some white fraternity lads to temporarily turn themselves black in ways that African-Americans have not found flattering and college administrators have not found amusing.
At Alabama's Auburn University, 15 students have been indefinitely suspended for blackening their faces and wearing Ku Klux Klan outfits to a local fraternity Halloween party. The local Delta Sigma Phi and Beta Theta Pi fraternities also had their charters suspended in early November after photos wound up on the Internet from a Delta Halloween party that apparently outdid John Belushi's Bluto in "Animal House" for bad taste.
Some photos show fraternity members simulating a lynching with KKK uniforms and the faces of some fraternity members were blackened with what looks like shoe polish. Other photos show white members in blackface wearing T-shirts that bear the Greek letters of Omega Psi Phi, which is one of the nation's oldest, largest and most distinguished black fraternities.
This episode illustrates double-decker stupidity. It was dumb of the frat brothers to commit such shenanigans. It was dumber to let photographs of it get on the Internet. The result has been a national uproar by students, college administrators and civil-rights groups like the NAACP.
Even so, Auburn's benighted frat boys have competition for stupidest racial tricks. In another Halloween party that wound up on the Web, a member of the Alpha Tau Omega chapter at "Ole Miss," the University of Mississippi, is seen pointing a gun at the head of another who was dressed in blackface, kneeling and picking cotton. The chapter was suspended from campus on Nov. 12 for a year.
That same day, the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater put its Tau Kappa Epsilon chapter on probation for a year, among other sanctions, for an Oct. 11 homecoming variety-show skit. A white TKE member had put on brown makeup to portray former basketball star Charles Barkley, igniting two days of peaceful protests by about 50 students.
Another TKE chapter was suspended on Nov. 9 at the University of Louisville pending an investigation of an off-campus Halloween party at which some white TKE members dressed in blackface and a black member dressed as a Klansman.
And I bet you thought people went to college because they were intelligent.
Their families and hometown communities should have taught them better. My parents, God bless their souls, sent me into the world with the advice that there were two kinds of people: "Quality folks" and "trashy folks." Check out the photos of the Auburn idiots at the Southern Poverty Law Center's Web site (www.tolerance.org) and decide for yourself which category you think they belong in.
Auburn's Omega Psi Phi president thinks Auburn's offending frat members should be expelled and charged with hate crimes. That's a bit extreme. If offensive taste were a crime, the Washington Redskins would be arrested for naming themselves after a racial slur.
I oppose speech codes and other attempts to impose what some people call "politically correct" limits on academic expression. As an African-American, I appreciate the progress that this nation's free-speech traditions have helped to bring about. I am dismayed when colleges overdo their efforts to shield minority or female students from anything they might find offensive. We need more free-ranging discussions about race and gender on campus, not fewer.
Unfortunately, some students inevitably stumble into behavior that gives free speech a bad name. Before such ugly eruptions occur, colleges and their student leaders need to do what colleges are built to do, which is to educate.
When families and communities fail to prepare students adequately for life in a racially, religiously and ethnically diverse society, fraternities and sororities need to step in. As incubators for tomorrow's leaders, they do a grand job of teaching table manners and other rituals of social and corporate success. In today's increasingly diverse America, they should try to teach some racial etiquette, too.
-- Anonymous, November 21, 2001
2001 Florida AIM State Day of Mourning Remember the Ancestors, Honor the future
The dominant society is taught that Massasoit and the Wampanoag peoples welcomed the Pilgrims and taught them survival skills. Americans are also taught that the Pilgrims invited their Indian friends to attend the first thanks giving to celebrate their survival. That is, in fact, a lie. They may not realize what the reality of the celebration is, because the truth is buried.
The first Thanks giving did not occur in 1621 when the Pilgrim survivors sat down to dinner, provided by the generosity of the Wampanoag and Pequot peoples. No, the dishonorable Gov. Winthrop of Massachusetts proclaimed the first Thanks Giving Day of Feasting in 1637. He did this to give thanks for the massacre of over 700 Indigenous peoples. The dishonorable Gov. Winthrop urged other colonists to do the same.
In fact the myth of Thanksgiving Day wasn't born until the late 1860's when the United States President Abraham Lincoln, who ordered the mass hanging of 38 Mdewakanton Dakota peoples for protecting their lands and families, declared the fourth Thursday of November as a way to give thanks and celebrate the preservation of the Union.
The tradition has continued. While many in the dominant society will take turns at their turkey's, members of the American Indian Movement of Florida will conduct a sunrise to sunset fast at the steps of the Florida State Capitol in Tallahassee, FL; and at the foot of the statue honoring the hemisphere's first terrorist-Columbus on Bayshore Blvd. in Tampa, FL. The reason we will do so is to call attention to the ongoing war against the Indigenous peoples of this Hemisphere. From the Micmaq and Passamaquoddy Nation who face attack for excersising their fishing rights to the Oneida and Seminole who continue to face attack for exercising their sovereign right to determine their economic development. From Lakota school girls who are attacked simply for existing to the continued theft of Western Shoshone and Dineh Lands. From the continued desecration of Indigenous cemeteries and sacred sites to the grotesque stereotyping of Indigenous peoples by sports team mascots and abohorrently racist festivals such as the Chasco. The genocide and assault on Native peoples done by the so-called Pilgrims, who in reality were the criminals of Europe, continues unabated 381 years later.
In 1970 the American Indian Movement began holding National Day of Mourning activities throughout the country. Florida AIM began in 1986 in conjunction with the Native American Land Struggles holding a sunrise to sunset fast at the steps of the Georgia State Capitol, Since 1990 we have held the event at the Florida state capitol. This year we will focus our attention on the attempts by the Bush administration to supress the government to government relationship Indigenous Nations hold with the US; the stereotyping of Native peoples by Florida State University, numerous schools, and the racist Chasco fiesta; the unjust imprisonment of Native peoples such as Leonard Peltier and Eddie Hatcher and others.
We ask our friends and supporters to join us in honoring the memory of our ancestors, and in recognition of those who have passed on in the struggle such as Pedro Bissonette, Richard Oakes, Leroy Shenandoah, David Goyette, Jun Little, Porky White and so many others. Join us in recognizing those who continue the struggle such as Clyde Bellecourt, Vernon Bellecourt, Patricia Bellanger, Lisa Bellanger, Eugene Begay, Rogoberta Menchu, and so many others-including the names and faces we may not know. And join us in the struggle for a free and just future.
American Indian Movement of Florida David Goyette Memorial State Office 136 4th Street N Suite 308 Saint Petersburg, FL 33701 (727) 826-6960 FAX (727) 550-2207
-- Anonymous, November 22, 2001
November 28, 2001
Liberty Mascot a thorny issue LIBERTY: Tradition of pride – or ridiculing a ethnic group? By Barbara A. Wood
The Times Herald-Record firstname.lastname@example.org Some Liberty school board members say state Education Commissioner Richard Mills has no right to force the district to change its Indian mascot if no one has come forward to say they've been offended by it.
"I'm really unsettled when the commissioner of education says we have to study this issue ... to come to his conclusion at the end of the study. It's a sham," said board member Charles Barbuti. "When he's ready to say he's withholding our state aid until we change the mascot, that's when we should move on it."
But board member Matthew Frumess called for a public forum to gain input before making a final decision on the Indian, which district officials say was chosen years ago to honor local American Indian tribes, like the long-gone Lenapes.
Superintendent Brian Howard agreed that's the way to go.
"But it's only fair, if we're saying we are using this mascot to honor certain people, that we hear from those people about whether they take it as an honor," said Howard.
So the board directed him to find a few American Indians for the forum, which will probably not be held until spring.
Yesterday, state education spokesman Bill Hirschen said Mills has not mentioned withholding funds to districts that ignore his directive to ax their American Indian mascots or slogans – and historical and religious symbols such as feather headdress, face paint or totem polls.
"But there's no saying that won't change after the commissioner reviews the input from school districts affected by this across the state at the end of the year," Hirschen said.
Mills' statewide April directive was spurred by three years of studies, a 1999 U.S. Department of Civil Justice investigation of a North Carolina school district and an August 2000 determination by state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer that certain uses could violate the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964. The NAACP and National Education Association have also called for the end to their usage.
That has 110 schools across the state scrambling. The Onteora School District even changed its Indian mascot – but changed it back shortly thereafter.
Liberty officials say the mascot debate is creating a distraction on other more important school issues.
"We have a million educational things to do. This makes a million and one," Howard said. "It's just another case of an unbacked state mandate or directive that is leaving school districts out in the wind."
-- Anonymous, November 28, 2001
"No plans to replace Indians" By Darrell F. Kuhn, The Daily Freeman
Kingston, New York November 28, 2001 RHINEBECK - School officials said they will phase out any district depiction or portrayal of American Indians that is not consistent with those who once populated the area that is now Rhinebeck, but won't replace them with historically accurate symbols. Officials said they do not, however, plan to do away with district's "Indians" nickname.
At a meeting earlier this month, the Board of Education unanimously approved a resolution to delete Indian portrayals in the district's schools that are historically inaccurate. Superintendent Joseph Phelan said at the time that symbols at Chancellor Livingston Elementary School, Bulkeley Middle School, and Rhinebeck High School depict Plains Indians rather than the Eastern Woodland Indians who once lived in the area. Any inaccurate portrayals of Native American religion and culture, Phelan said, will also be phased out.
Phelan said the action the school board took was in response to a letter from state Education Commissioner Richard Mills.
At a meeting Tuesday, school board president Laurie Rich said school officials have no intention of replacing symbols depicting Plains Indians with symbols depicting Eastern Woodland Indians.
Plains Indians symbols currently are portrayed on a gym floor, hallway wall, on team uniforms and parking permits, school officials said. Those images will be eliminated, they said.
Rich said the school board voted only to eliminate Native American references that are not in common with Rhinebeck history, not to replace them with symbols accurately portraying Eastern Woodland Indians.
"We voted strictly on phasing them out," she said. "We did not vote or discuss any new images."
"Right now, we are erasing (Plains Indians portrayals) and leaving it at that for the time being," he said.
-- Anonymous, November 28, 2001
Quinnipiac University Board of Trustees Votes To Discontinue Use of 'The Braves' Nickname The move takes place effective immediately
Quinnipiac Athletics Logo
Dec. 3, 2001
The Quinnipiac University Board of Trustees has voted to discontinue using "The Braves" as its athletic identity for all of its Division I men's and women's athletic teams.
The trustees' decision was based on a recommendation by President John L. Lahey, and followed a semester of discussions by the Faculty Senate, Student Government Association, President's Cabinet and the Alumni Board of Governors, each of which formally voted to stop using "The Braves."
Lynn Bushnell, vice president for public affairs, said, "Although fond of the tradition we've had for 50 years, the university community clearly recognized the difficulties of using a name that has the potential to misrepresent and denigrate an entire group of people. And, despite our clear intention to honor and remember the Native Americans once known as the Quinnipiaks, to do so only through athletics was found to be no longer appropriate.
Experts say use of American Indian mascots gives the public a stereotypical and historically incorrect perception of American Indians. Many mascots are based on popular culture interpretations with costumes, dances and music appropriated from movies, not history.
Other authorities say Indian mascots have several negative effects on children, including lowering the self-esteem of Indian children, perpetuating racism among non-Indian children and setting up hostile environments. Other studies show that American Indian mascots can be considered sacrilegious and contrary to an institution's anti-discrimination policies.
"The Braves" presented difficulties in a number of ways. Quinnipiac's women's teams were offended by the use of the Lady Braves moniker, and graphic representations-logos and mascots-were similarly burdened. The institution, out of concern for these sensitivities, had stopped using human representations of Native Americans years ago.
The Quinnipiac community, including students, alumni, faculty and staff, now will be asked to recommend alternate suggestions for an athletic identity program for the university. A final recommendation is expected to be made to the Board of Trustees before the end of the 2001-2002 academic year. Ultimately, Bushnell said, the intent is to create an athletic identity consistent with the quality and level of competition in which the university now participates. She added," We want to build an image that will help strengthen QU athletics, and in so doing, create an emblem our athletes and fans will wear with honor and pride."
Director of Athletics Jack McDonald agrees. "QU has incredible campus spirit, but the limitations provided by 'The Braves' nickname has made us unable to capture and promote that spirit with mascot, logos and nicknames."
Quinnipiac University offers 21 varsity-level athletic programs. Men compete on an intercollegiate level in baseball, lacrosse, soccer, cross country, ice hockey, basketball, golf, indoor track, outdoor track and tennis. Women compete in volleyball, tennis, softball, basketball, lacrosse, field hockey, soccer, cross country, ice hockey and indoor and outdoor track. Quinnipiac is a member of the Northeast Conference of NCAA Division I athletics. The men's ice hockey team is a member of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, while the men's lacrosse team competes as an associate member of the America East Conference.
-- Anonymous, December 04, 2001