Racist Paranoia: Stifling Menominee
In 2005 the U.S. Supreme Court decreed that we Indians have a RIGHT, not a privilege, to read, write and speak our heritage languages anywhere, including in the work place. Schools count as work places. The teacher's rationale for reprimanding this girl is racist and paranoid. She assumes that any words she doesn't know are automatically negative. She should be suspended without pay for a month in reprimand, and forced to make a public apology to this girl and the entire Menominee Nation. I had a microscopic part in helping the Menominee get their Reservation status back, gadjillion years ago. I'm a grandmother and a Pipe Keeper. This kind of uphill battle is ridiculous. To this teacher, I would say,"Takuni slolyaye sni ye. Yuonihanh tuktel he?" - You know nothing. Where is your respect?"To all the Native Americans who came out swinging on a recent article in The Shawano Leader, I say this: I am in awe of all you.
~ Carel Two-Eagle
Peep this bullshit our Native siblings are dealing with:
Parents of a child at Sacred Heart Catholic School are upset about the school's decision to bench the girl for "attitude issues" after she spoke a few words in the Menominee language at school.Oh...shut the fuck up.
The seventh-grader's mother, Tanaes Washinawatok, said her daughter, Miranda, was not allowed to play in the basketball game Jan. 19 after being reprimanded that day for using the Menominee language during a homeroom supervised by teacher Julie Gurta.
..."The teacher came in and told my child, 'You are not to be speaking like that. How do I know you're not saying something bad and how would you like it if I spoke Polish and you didn't understand.'"
...Other principals said they had not encountered similar situations, but noted that if a full conversation was going on, they would handle it as Gurta had.
"The teacher would probably ask the students to speak in a language that they could understand because they would have no idea what they were saying to one another," said Keary Mattson, principal at Gresham Community School. "It could be anything from bullying to racist comments to threats. We certainly need to know what students are talking about."
Many of the Native commenters brought up how white folks shipped Native kids off to boarding schools and prohibited them from speaking their own languages. Breaking the rule resulted in beatings. And this isn't ancient history; it's living memory for some of the commenters. In fact, some commenters talked about how this type of attitude is precisely what killed several of their tribal tongues.
Seriously...this is one article where you definitely want to read the comments. It's an education and a half.
Why are the teachers listening so intently to this girl's conversations with her friends anyway? Do they zero in on the white kids' conversations, or are white kids allowed the privilege of respected privacy? How many white kids actually get in trouble in the event they say something inappropriate in English? What's with the "what if" bullshit and why does Mattson dare insinuate the possibility of racism when she is defending a racist action? What's with the dog whistle?
Seriously, white America, newsflash: you live on stolen land. You are the last people to be telling Native Americans when and where they can speak their own damn languages.
"How would you like it if I spoke Polish?" - seriously? She asked that? She really asked that?
It's not the same. How many times and in how many ways do white people have to be told it's not the fucking same???? Native Americans didn't invade Poland and try to exterminate it's indigenous population. Native Americans didn't ship Polish kids to boarding schools to force them to learn Native American ways. Polish isn't on the endangered language list. A white kid speaking Polish to their friends in an American school is not a big deal. So why is it a big deal when a Native girl in her own country speaks her mother tongue? Shouldn't we be applauding and encouraging this girl?
Fuck...why isn't Menominee a required course at the school? Why aren't Native American studies required at every school?
Is anyone else having flashbacks of Arizona? If you recall, white Arizona recently declared war on ethnic studies:
Judge Lewis Kowal’s ruling marked a defeat for the Tucson Unified School District, which appealed the findings issued in June by Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal…I'm surprised POC are even still allowed to read in Arizona.
The judge said such teaching promotes activism against white people, promotes racial resentment and advocates ethnic solidarity.
This, of course, prompted Latino students - who make up 60% of their district anyway - to start holding their own damn history lessons. Which is, of course, the very best way to say, "Um...fuck you."
Now an Arizona GOP lawmaker wants a state holiday to celebrate white people. Never mind Columbus Day, or Washington's birthday, or Jefferson's birthday, or Lincoln's birthday, or pretty much every day which hasn't been kindly donated to one POC group or another in America.
Let's be real; all these efforts to stifle POC progress in terms of education and cultural longevity are simply pathetic attempts at white status preservation. That's all. This is about keeping people dumb and under the white thumb - that's it.
To all our Native American siblings out there, the bar honors you and has your back. *nods* Represent.