A Discussion of the term "Indian" in Kewaskum School District

A Discussion of the term "Indian" in Kewaskum School District

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Genna Alexander started this petition to Kewaskum School District and

We want to work with Wisconsin Native American tribes in this discussion of using the terms "Kewaskum Indians" and how we can better understand this complex issue. We need to take a step back to understand if using "Kewaskum Indians" for our school is something perpetuates harm to Native American people. Kewaskum needs to lead by example for other districts in Wisconsin, especially in today's climate, to ensure that all students will feel safe and included in our district. Kewaskum should take the initiative to see if and where they have caused harm, and what we can do to rectify that. As of now, we are working hard to educate ourselves so we can prepare for this conversation. Here's a link to a source we have been using and find helpful: http://www.ncai.org/proudtobe 

Native Americans are not mascots or costumes. Mascots and names represent a culture of a school, and should not be an appropriation or mockery of a marginalized community. Kewaskum has claimed to keep the name as Indians to honor the heritage of the town of Kewaskum, but it is not a honor when students and the community don't even know what tribe was settled here. Is using the term "Indian" the best way to honor Native History? This is something we as students feel would best be discussed between the district and local tribes of Native Americans, so the most appropriate history and understanding can be reached for all. KSD should reach out to Native tribes to ensure that the usage of the term Indian is not offensive in any way, and KSD should implement local Native American history in the curriculum to truly honor Native Americans. This should be something that is facilitated through the Native American tribes and the Kewaskum School District. As of now, students do not feel enthused to celebrate their "Indian Pride", because they understand that it is not correct to celebrate with the Indian as their term when they do not understand the historical significance of it.  Students want to have a mascot that brings them together rather than dividing a community, and offending a community that faces oppression to this day. It is time for Kewaskum to drop the name Indian, or work with Wisconsin Native American Tribes to find a better way to truly honor Kewaskum's history in a more appropriate way. 

This is not a petition to erase the history of Kewaskum. This is a call to action for Kewaskum School District to work in conjunction with Native Americans to educate the community and Kewaskum High School students, and be more mindful in our usage of the word "Indian" and truly work to educate ourselves. This is not an erasure of history, but rather a change in the way we respect our history and understanding the current issues that face Native Americans today. 

 

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