More than 500 Indian Nations live in the United States. All have their own rich history, language and culture. To turn us into stereotypes is to stop seeing us as individuals, to trap us in someone else’s mistaken idea of who we are. These images are so powerful that many non-Indian people do not see us as modern people with valued history, living culture and language, or a future.
When school teams use us as mascots it goes against education’s highest goals. These schools’ graduate people who go on to become, teachers, judges, governors, and presidents who affect native communities — no matter where we live. When the United States military uses these terms and symbols it goes against its greater honor. [The] military discharges people who go on to become, teachers, judges, governors, and presidents who affect native communities — no matter where we live.
Many American Indians have done their part to win hearts and minds of their neighbors. It is time for our national government to do its part. …
Professor Charlene Teters was testifying before the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs’ hearing on “Stolen Identities: The Impact of Racist Stereotypes on Indigenous People.” The hearing had been on the Senate calendar before what calls itself leadership in Washington turned Osama into Geronimo, Geronimo Osama.
“Onondaga Nation Leaders Blast 'Geronimo' Codename for Bin Laden (Charles McChesney), May 4, 2011, www.CommonDreams.org; http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2011/05/04-4
In 1874, U.S. authorities forcibly moved an estimated 4,000 Apaches to a reservation at San Carlos, a barren wasteland in east-central Arizona. Deprived of traditional tribal rights, short on rations, and homesick, they turned to Geronimo and others who led them in the depredations that plunged the region into turmoil and bloodshed [Britannica note].
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