Committee to Recommend Removal of Indian Mascot at Napa High School

Angel Heart

SSPRIT Secretary & Public Relations Officer

On October 21, 2015, Sacred Sites Protection and Rights of Indigenous Tribes (SSPRIT), addressed Napa Valley Unified School District (NVUSD) requesting the removal of the Indian Mascot at Napa High School. In response NVUSD Superintendent, Patrick Sweeney announced the district would create a task force made up of people with different perspectives.  The task force or mascot committee, is comprised of Napa High School Alumni, NVUSD staff, administrators, student leaders, local Native American advocates and SSPRIT.  For several months the committee has deliberated the appropriateness of the Indian Mascot and will be recommending the mascots removal. The committee recommendation will be shared with the NVUSD’s Board of Education during the districts monthly board meeting.

SSPRIT has successfully advocated for removals of Native American Mascots in public schools and has provided continuing education for students and professional development for educators in districts undergoing Native American mascot transitions. Advised by SSPRIT in February of 2014, Vallejo City Unified School District voted unanimously to remove the Apache mascot at Vallejo High School; consequently removing the Chieftans mascot at Solano Middle School. In February of 2015, John Swett Unified School District (JSUSD) in Crockett, CA, removed the Indian mascot at John Swett High School under advisement from SSPRIT.

In November of 2014, SSPRIT joined the National Campaign to remove Native American mascots in professional sports & media; participating in a protest at Levi Stadium when the San Francisco 49ers played against The Washington Team. In response to the National Campaign, several prominent National media outlets said they would refuse to refer to the team by the epithet it uses for a mascot. The State of California has been applauded for the passage of landmark legislation regarding Native American mascots in public schools. The California Racial Mascots Act – AB30, prohibits public schools from using the term R-dskins as a school mascot or nickname. AB-30 passed in September of 2015. The use of racially derogatory or discriminatory mascots in California public schools is anti-ethical to the California school mission of providing an equal education to all.

Napa Valley Unified School District has an opportunity to take responsible action regarding the district’s policy language against anti-bullying and discrimination. Athletic team names, mascots, and nicknames including school teams, are discriminatory in singling out the Native American community for the derision to which these mascots are often subjected; contributing to the marginalization of First Nations Peoples. Support the removal of the Indian Mascot at Napa High School! Join SSPRIT on April 6, 2017 for the announcement of The Mascot Committee recommendation and for the subsequent vote by NVUSD Board of Education on Thursday, April 20, 2017 @ 7 pm.

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The Longest Walk 5.2 Arrives in Vallejo

Angel Heart
SSPRIT Secretary & Public Relations Officer 

The Longest Walk 5.2 arrives for ceremony at Sacred Site Sogorea Te located in Vallejo, CA; one of many Native American sacred sites that will be visited during the walk. “This spiritual walk and run is dedicated to calling an end to drug abuse and domestic violence which greatly effects masses of all peoples on this continent. Longest Walks are held to bring attention to issues that directly affect Native Americans; this year, we will embark on the second leg of the Longest Walk 5 or The Longest Walk 5.2, which encompasses the middle part of the United States,” stated Bobby Wallace, National Chief of The Longest Walk 5. The Longest Walk 5.2 begins in San Francisco, Ca and will be traveling to Standing Rock, North Dakota; continuing to Washington DC.

Sacred Sites Protection and Rights of Indigenous Tribes (SSPRIT), Founding Executive Director, Norman “Wounded Knee” DeOcampo (Mewuk), will be taking part in the Longest Walk 5.2. For many years Wounded Knee has advocated for the protection of sacred site Sogorea Te, located in the Glen Cove area of Vallejo. A spiritual occupation of the Native American Sacred Burial Site lasted 109 days, beginning in April of 2011 and ending in August of 2011. At the time of the spiritual occupation, Wounded Knee stated, “It’s time for Indigenous peoples across this country to take a stand and say ‘no more’ to desecrating the sacred sites of our ancestors,” “No more digging up our ancestors and putting them in garbage cans and in garbage bags. “No more digging up our ancestors and putting them in museums and leaving them in cardboard boxes and gym lockers, taking their artifacts and their sacred objects.” “UC Berkeley has 13,000 remains stored in boxes; some of these remains came from Sogorea Te.” The spiritual occupation of Sogorea Te ended with a cultural easement; a landmark decision that had never been done within city limits or with a park district within a city.

Along with desecration of their sacred sites, Native American populations continue to disproportionately suffer from social and health disparities, having great impacts on livelihood and future generations. Historically, Native Americans have persistently experienced trauma due to US policies of genocide, assimilation and colonialism resulting in historical trauma. Due to the harsh effects of historical trauma, Native American populations across the country continue to fight the repercussions of these acts. National research has shown that childhood trauma is an underlying cause of many disparities including; substance abuse, domestic violence, diabetes, heart disease and death. Trauma prevention, trauma care and the repercussions of trauma must be addressed at community and systematic levels. Statistics consistently show that social, economic and health disparities continue to exist in every tribal community across the Nation and must not be ignored. Tribal communities remain strong and resilient in many other ways such as upholding the tribal values, traditions, language and ceremonies which are still prevalent today. The role of these strengths must be fully understood and valued. Cultural and systematic solutions should be woven together to meet many national disparities among tribal nations.

The First Longest Walk was organized in 1978 to bring attention to 11 bills pending in U.S. Congress. The Native Americans Equal Opportunity Act would have eliminated all treaties between the U.S. government and tribal nations and was an attempt to reverse the course of federal Indian policy. It called for the abrogation of all treaties. However, the bill did not pass, largely due to the attention brought by the walk from California to Washington D.C. The Longest Walk 2, “All Life is Sacred” was organized in 2008 to protect sacred sites on tribal land throughout Indian country. The Longest Walk 3, “Reversing Diabetes” was organized in 2011 to address the diabetes epidemic throughout Indian country. Native Americans suffer the highest rates of diabetes, followed by African Americans. The Longest Walk 4 was a reverse walk held in 2014. It began in Washington, D.C., and ended on Alcatraz Island. The purpose of the Longest Walk 4 was to educate Americans about the history of the many tribal removals of First Nations Peoples from their homelands due to government policy. The Longest Walk 5 covered 3,600 miles, and traveled through California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia, before ending in Washington, D.C. on July 15, 2016. Phase 2 of The Longest Walk or The Longest Walk 5.2, begins in San Francisco on Sunday, February 12, 2017 and ends in Washington D.C. on July 15, 2017.

SSPRIT invites the public to join us as we gather to welcome The Longest Walkers of The Longest Walk 5.2 at Sogorea Te for ceremony; offering prayers to the ancestors buried at the sacred site. Dennis Banks, Co-Founder of The American Indian Movement, Bobby Wallace, National – Chief of The Longest Walk 5, Karkin Chochenyo Ohlone Woman Corrina Gould and Norman “Wounded Knee” DeOcampo will be in attendance. Wounded Knee is the only person who will have participated in all five Longest Walks. This event takes place on Monday, February 13, 2017 at Noon.

 

Change the Name, Change the Mascot

Kim DeOcampo, Tuolumne Mewuk, Houma-Choctaw Nations

SSPRIT Executive Director

 

In response to the Napa Valley Register opinion piece, “Indian name is not racist” (Jan. 6).

The author makes the claim the word “Indian” is not racist. The issue here is not the word Indian, it is the continuance of American Indians being used as mascots and the stereotypical images and behaviors that insult us.

The word Indians, Redskins, Warriors, Braves or Chiefs that use our images as mascots disrespect our culture and make a mockery of our headdresses, our regalia and our dances. These things are sacred to us. Indian Mascots treat our history with contempt when a high school football team holds up a banner during a football game saying “Indians go home in a Trail of Tears.” This public school just ridiculed one of the most vicious atrocities in U.S. history.

The privilege of controlling our history, our image, makes the public schools no better than the forced boarding schools of native children that attempted to destroy our culture.

Is this what we want to teach in our public schools – that it is acceptable to have domination over another people’s cultural heritage? This long-standing use of native people as mascots force our native youth to see themselves as tokens with no value. Such practices have become so institutionalized that it becomes difficult to recognize this racism for what it is, and by tolerating these demeaning stereotypes in our schools, we desensitize generations of children.

 I do not know of any native people or native organizations that use the word “Indian” define the word as racist, even though historically we are well aware the word is a misnomer, mistakenly put upon us by Columbus when he was “discovered” lost on our continent.

Indian mascots do nothing to teach the complexity of our history, nor do they connect with the ongoing injustices we face today. In protecting and preserving our religious freedom, sacred sites, ancient burial grounds, land and water rights. With the current situation happening in North Dakota, where the Standing Rock Sioux tribe is being threatened by hyper-militarized police violence and brutality simply for protecting their right to clean water, how can anyone in this day and age think that Indian mascots “honor” us?

 

It is time to end this “tradition;” our youth deserve much better. Let us all demand better and say no to institutional injustice and inhumane symbolism. Change the name, change the mascot.

 

 

Remove the Indian Mascot at Napa High School…

Angel Heart

SSPRIT Secretary & Public Relations Officer

For several decades, Native Americans have stated they do not feel honored by Indian mascots; this includes a national campaign to remove Indian mascots, images, and stereotypes in media, sports and schools. There are approximately 185 schools in California that have Native American Mascots; the most prevalent being warriors and the second being Indians.

Rather than honoring First Nations Peoples, these images perpetuate stereotypes, promote cultural appropriation and keep Native Americans as a people of the past; this negates the contemporary relevance of First Nations Peoples. The use of racially derogatory or discriminatory mascots, or nicknames in California public schools is anti-ethical to the California school mission of providing an equal education to all.  Athletic team names, mascots, and nicknames that have been used and remain in use by other teams, including school teams, are discriminatory in singling out the Native American community for the derision to which mascots or nicknames are often subjected.

The (National) Native American Mascot debate dates back to 1968. The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) launched a campaign to address stereotypes of Native Peoples in popular culture and media, as well as in sports. Furthermore, The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights states, “Many individuals and organizations interested and experienced in human relations, including the United States Commission on Civil Rights, have concluded that the use of Native American images and names in school sports is a barrier to equality and understanding, and that all residents of the United States would benefit from the discontinuance of their use.”

Over the last fifty years, hundreds of tribal nations, national and regional tribal organizations, civil rights organizations, school boards, sports teams, sports & media personalities, and individuals have called for the end to harmful “Indian” mascots.

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples states: 1. Indigenous peoples have the right to the dignity and diversity of their cultures, traditions, histories and aspirations which shall be appropriately reflected in education and public information. 2. States shall take effective measures, in consultation and cooperation with the indigenous peoples concerned, to combat prejudice and eliminate discrimination and to promote tolerance, understanding and good relations among indigenous peoples and all other segments of society.

Also, Article 26 – Paragraph 2 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, “Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality, and to the strengthening of respect for human rights, and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance, and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.”

Mascots are derisive/meant to be ridiculed; Napa Valley Unified School Districts policy language regarding anti-bullying and discrimination supports the removal of the Napa High School Indian Mascot; Maintaining respect of different cultural values, attitudes, fairness and dignity, demonstrating respect for human rights and non-discrimination.

The Longest Walk 5.2 “Calling an End to Drug Abuse and Domestic Violence”

Angel Heart

SSPRIT Secretary & Public Relations Officer 

January 12, 2017

The National Field Office of The American Indian Movement proudly announces, The Longest Walk 5.2, “Calling an End to Drug Abuse and Domestic Violence.” Dennis Banks, National Field Director and Co-Founder of The American Indian Movement issued a three phase – 3 year walk across America in 2016.  Dennis Banks stated, “Because of the extremely high rate of abuse, suicides, drug related deaths and destruction, which is at a pandemic stage, our mission is to cross this continent on foot; seeking cultural and spiritual solutions to end drug abuse and domestic violence.”

Dennis Banks, Nowa Cumig, is an enrolled member of the Red Lake Band of Anishinaabe Peoples. Dennis has played a historical role as the co-founder of the American Indian Movement (AIM), community leader and activist for over 50 years. In 1978, he assisted in organizing the first Longest Walk, “Trail of Broken Treaties”. Tribal Nations gathered and marched from San Francisco to Washington DC with the purpose of bringing awareness to the unjust and un-lawful actions taking place against Native American Peoples across the Nation. Dennis Banks and many Native American Community Leaders have spent their lifetime organizing, changing and bringing awareness to specific issues effecting the vitality and longevity of Tribal Nations.

The Longest Walk 2, 3 and 4 were held from 2008 to 2014. The Longest Walk 5, 2016, covered 3,600 miles, and traveled through California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia, before ending in Washington, DC. Phase 2 of the Longest Walk 5, also known as The Longest Walk 5.2 will begin in San Francisco, CA and will be arriving in Washington DC on July 15th, 2017.

Earlier this week, I spoke with Bobby Wallace, National Chief of The Longest Walk 5, and he stated “This spiritual walk and run is dedicated to calling an end to drug abuse and domestic violence which greatly effects masses of all peoples on this continent. Longest Walks are held to bring attention to issues that directly affect Native Americans; this year, we will embark on the second leg of the Longest Walk 5 or The Longest Walk 5.2, which encompasses the middle part of the United States. The Longest Walk 5.2 will begin at 9 am on Sunday, February 12, 2017 next to The Warming Hut Café’ located at 983 Marin Drive, San Francisco, CA 94129. The Longest Walk will be traveling to Standing Rock, North Dakota; continuing to Washington D.C.

Native American populations continue to disproportionately suffer from social and health disparities, having great impacts on livelihood and future generations. Historically, Native Americans have persistently experienced trauma due to US policies of genocide, assimilation and colonialism resulting in historical trauma.

Due to the harsh effects of historical trauma, Native American populations across the country continue to fight the repercussions of these acts. National research has shown that childhood trauma is an underlying cause of many disparities including; substance abuse, domestic violence, diabetes, heart disease and death. Trauma prevention, trauma care and the repercussions of trauma must be addressed at community and systematic levels. Statistics consistently show that social, economic and health disparities continue to exist in every tribal community across the Nation and must not be ignored. Tribal communities remain strong and resilient in many other ways such as upholding the tribal values, traditions, language and ceremonies which are still prevalent today. The role of these strengths must be fully understood and valued. Cultural and systematic solutions should be woven together to meet many national disparities among tribal nations.

“We have approximately 30 dedicated walkers, 5-10 full time runners, and many people who will be joining in as we reach communities along the way. The Longest Walk 5.2 will have 8-10 Leaders, a full time cook, 3 trucks, 2 cars as support vehicles and a storage trailer for necessary supplies. This walk will take 165 days to complete covering approximately 3,946 miles. Your support is greatly appreciated!” – Bobby Wallace.

To learn more about The Longest Walk 5.2, please visit: http://www.longestwalk.us

 

Indian People Organizing for Change Demands the Removal of High School Mascot


corrina_gould-214x300
Photo credit: http://www.datacenter.org/?attachment_id=8542Native American organization; Indian People Organizing for Change (IPOC), Co-Founder and Lead Organizer , Corrina Gould demands the removal of the warrior mascot at John Swett High school in Crockett, CA.  IPOC is an organization that educates the public on issues affecting First Nations Peoples. IPOC promotes awareness and educates the public about the desecration of Native American sacred sites, and Shellmound desecration in the greater Bay Area.

 

Sacred Sites Protection and Rights of Indigenous Tribes (SSPRIT) advocated for the removal of the Indian mascot, addressing John Swett Unified School District (JSUSD) in February of 2014. IPOC supported SSPRIT’s advocacy, providing a statement for the JSUSD Board of Education (BOE).

In her correspondence to JSUSD BOE, IPOC, Co-Founder Corrina Gould stated, “Our people have heard many of the excuses of why naming a team after a race of people is supposed to be in some way honoring them.  Our people decided that this is not a way of celebrating who we are, but rather it continues the devastation of dehumanizing us; a continued cultural genocide. School districts should strive to teach its students the real history of the space they now occupy on Ohlone territory”.

On February 11, 2015, one year after SSPRIT’s advocacy began, JSUSD BOE voted unanimously to remove the Indian mascot. JSUSD BOE, and SSPRIT agreed, the Indian mascot removal could provide a teachable moment. The district approved a SSPRIT mascot discourse for students. SSPRIT facilitated the discourse at John Swett High School; all students, grades 9-12. The discourse addressed cultural relevancy & appropriate mascot replacements. At this time, the warrior was a popular mascot replacement choice within the JSUSD community; including, several, but not all JSUSD BOE members, students, parents, and alumni. SSPRIT advised the board that Warrior mascots often portray images of violence, weapons of violence, and that warrior mascots are most often depicted as Native American. There are 85 schools in California that use Warrior as their mascot; each is depicted as Native American. Prior to the mascot discourse, JSUSD BOE created a Resolution forbidding the use of violent imagery, and forms of violence in connection to their schools.

Despite JSUSD’s Resolution, and despite the Native American Cultural Educational Consulting provided by SSPRIT, On February 15, 2016, JSUSD BOE voted to replace the Indian Mascot with Warrior. In response to JSUSD’s decision, IPOC, Lead Organizer, Corrina Gould states, “I am disappointed that in this time of great change, the work that has been put into working together as different communities, to educate one another, to see different perspectives; to honor one another with respect; has been cast aside. I am demanding that the school board reassess their decision to change the mascot name to warriors. I am asking that this Board do what is ethically, and morally right, to be the leaders that our children can look up to, to make the right decision, and to retract the last vote”. SSPRIT will be addressing the JSUSD Warrior Mascot at the districts next school board meeting on Wednesday, March 9, 2016.

To see Corrina’s letter in its entirety, please visit:

https://www.facebook.com/save.sacredsites.1/posts/1679065752374182

For More Information, please visit the following links:

http://ipocshellmoundwalk.homestead.com/