Topic

indigenous

20 petitions

Update posted 5 days ago

Petition to The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board

End Thanksgiving Insult to Native Americans

Every year for Thanksgiving, the Wall Street Journal features a passage from a pilgrim detailing what colonists perceived when they arrived in the “New World.” The passage is full of disdain and racism towards indigenous people, and it’s time to stop publishing it.  Tell the Wall Street Journal that it’s 2021. It’s time to stop publishing 17th century racism. The passage includes lines such as, “What could they see but a hideous and desolate wilderness, full of wilde beasts and wilde men?” The pilgrim writes that they were separate from “all the civil parts of the world.” The Wampanoag indigenous people saved the colonists from starvation and death, a story that our nation now celebrates as Thanksgiving. But even more than this disturbing lack of gratitude is the notion that there were no civilized people in the Americas. This world view generated centuries of genocidal practices that eliminated 90% of the indigenous population, my ancestors. And indigenous people are still experiencing lethal prejudice. Just this year we learned about more than 1,300 unmarked graves at residential schools in Canada. We know that thousands of indigenous children died of abuse, neglect and disease through the residential school system.  Referring to North America’s original inhabitants in 2021 as “wilde men” is racist and should not be acceptable in a newspaper claiming to be an international media source. I have previously written to The Wall Street Journal requesting an end to this annual practice. My request has been ignored. Now I ask you to stand with me calling for The Wall Street Journal to end this racist insult. Such an action would be an appropriate commemoration of the 400th anniversary of Thanksgiving in the United States.

Randy Kritkausky
52,104 supporters
Update posted 5 months ago

Petition to Calhoun County Board of Education

Change Ohatchee High School’s Mascot

The appropriation of the Native culture by people who are not native and do not exist in a tribe has overwhelmingly shown to offend Native American people for a multitude of reasons. "The headdress is reserved for our revered elders who, through their selflessness and leadership, have earned the right to wear one. It’s a spiritual garb, not just cultural; it's not merely an addition to one's attire. Wearing one, even an imitation headdress, belittles what our elders have spent a lifetime to earn." -- Simon Moya-Smith, citizen of the Oglala Lakota Nation and journalist "Both feathers and face paint have purpose and often spiritual significance depending on tribal protocol and individual interpretation. In Native cultures, both feathers and face paint are earned through actions and deeds that bring honor to both tribes and nations. Individuals [outside the community] who wear feathers or face paint were not given the rights or permissions to wear them. This is analogous to casually wearing a purple heart or medal of honor that was not earned." -- Dennis Zotigh, Cultural Specialist, National Museum of the American Indian "[Wearing a headdress] could be similar to if the [shtreimel] became hip. Or the headdress that the pope wears -- if [kids] started wearing that, if that became a trend. I am sure any Catholic people might be disrespected. So for our people, it is the same way." -- Cliff Matias, Director of Redhawk Native American Arts CouncilNot only is the mascot problematic, but for decades the mascot has been more often than not, a Caucasian male or female of the student body and always somebody who is not in a tribe. They wear a full Native American headdress which is a sacred symbol of strength and bravery and have been primarily reserved for the tribes political and spiritual leaders.   The name 'Big red' originates from the pejorative terms 'R**s***' and 'Red Indian.' These terms have a well established history of being used contemptuously with negative connotation. Dictionary definitions are virtually unanimous that it is no longer acceptable to use and an “entirely benign” term. The Oxford American dictionary says, “r**s*** lost its neutral, accurate descriptive sense and became a term of disparagement.” It now calls it “dated” and “offensive.” Merriam Webster identified the term as “often contemptuous” as early as its 1898 Collegiate version. The etymology of the pejorative term is much more troubling. Newspapers dating back to 1863 show the use of the word as a slur to refer to those who are called to be killed for bounty. The fact remains that to many Native Americans, the term "r**s***" has long meant the act of our ancestor's scalps being collected for bounty. Kevin Gover, a member of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma and director of the Institution's National Museum of the American Indian shared these words while discussing the use of the slur: "I'm really not that interested in where the word comes from. I know how it was used. And it's been used in a disparaging way for at least a couple of centuries. Up to and including the time I was growing up in Oklahoma." The usage of these terms and those that have derived from them as well as the appropriations of Native American culture have been proven to be harmful to Native American people who are subject to witnessing their communities appropriate, disrespect, and dehumanize their culture. The appropriation and characterization of their tribes has pushed stereotypical ideas and attitudes about Native people and have harmful effects on the self-esteem and self-identities of Native American youths. The American Psychological Association passed a resolution calling for the “immediate retirement” of Native American names and mascots in 2005. The American Sociological Association followed in 2007, saying that “social science scholarship has demonstrated that the continued use of Native American nicknames, logos and mascots in sport harm Native American people in psychological, educational, and social ways.”   The superintendent of Calhoun County Schools is Donald Turner, dturner@ccboe.us is his email. The principal of the high school is Bobby Tittle, btittle.oh@ccboe.us is his email. The assistant principal is Michael Graham, mgraham.oh@ccboe.us is his email.   Cultural appropriation:http://www.mtv.com/news/1837578/why-you-should-not-wear-headdresses/https://www.mic.com/articles/151503/is-it-ever-ok-for-a-white-person-to-wear-a-feather-headdressDefinitions on "r**s***":https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/redskinhttps://www.dictionary.com/browse/red-indian 1863 newspaper placing bounty on scalps of native Americans:https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/news/a29318/redskin-name-update/ documentation of psychological problems caused by stereotypes -Dr. Mike Friedman:https://www.changethemascot.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/DrFriedmanReport.pdf APA Resolution Recommending the Immediate Retirement ofAmerican Indian Mascots, Symbols, Images, and Personalities bySchools, Colleges, Universities, Athletic Teams, and Organizations:https://www.apa.org/about/policy/mascots.pdf

Bethany Brackett
10,486 supporters
Update posted 6 months ago

Petition to Joseph R. Biden

Protect the Marianas from Unchecked Military Expansion

Our Common Wealth 670 (OCW 670) community advocacy group (Saipan, CNMI) wishes to call attention to the urgent concern over the increased militarization of the land, surrounding seas and air in the Marianas archipelago. These concerns are of particular importance in light of President Biden’s Executive Orders, Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to the Climate Crisis, E.O. 13990, 86 Fed. Reg. 7037 (Jan. 20, 2021),Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, E.O. 14008, 86 Fed. Reg. 7619 (Jan. 27, 2021), and the Administration’s plan for Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities through the Federal Government, E.O. 13985, 86 Fed. Reg. 7009 (Jan. 20, 2021). We want to ensure proper oversight over military planning that respects local laws and engages meaningfully with the Indigenous peoples of the Marianas. In the midst of the pandemic, the U.S. Military continues its expansion throughout our lands and waters, and has increasingly left our communities vulnerable to increased risk, environmental contamination, and resource damage. While the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) does not host a military base, our islands remain integral to U.S. defense strategies, forward deployment, and troop readiness in the Pacific; readiness which already serves significant national interests while bringing considerable costs to our local environmental, cultural, and human resources.  The current and proposed levels of military training and testing simply cannot be supported by our island ecosystems and people without long-term irreparable damage to our environments, cultural traditions, and ways of life. Our community has struggled to maintain an active voice at the table during the Department of Defense’s (DoD) many environmental planning processes that occur throughout the Marianas. In light of President Biden’s recent executive orders seeking to reestablish US commitments to environmental justice, we call for a de-escalation of damaging environmental planning and exercises in the region, especially within the enormously impactful Mariana Islands Training and Testing (MITT) Study Area. 

Our Common Wealth 670
763 supporters