There is a disgraceful story of discrimination towards Native American schoolchildren at a local high school in the United States, highlighted by the Indian Country Today:
“On January 19, a Menominee Indian seventh grader named Miranda Washinawatok was benched and suspended from a Catholic School in Shawano, Wisconsin, for speaking her Native Menominee language with two other girls from the Menominee reservation. Shawano is a small town located several miles south of the reservation; like many off-reservation communities, there is a longstanding history of racist attitudes against Indians, although we like to think that the relations have improved over the years. Unfortunately, this incident shows that racism is alive and well in Wisconsin. That this also happened in a parochial school makes it a wake-up call for everyone who believes that America has moved beyond such displays of ignorance. Historical precedents to this type of action are plentiful—think of all the Native children who were cruelly punished for speaking their languages in the shameful days of Indian boarding schools in the 20th century. Yet, the bad heartedness behind this history persists when a 12-year-old child is subjected to such treatment in 2012.”
There is an ongoing petition which can be signed here.
- A Trail Of Tears – Native American History Resonates For An Irish Audience (ansionnachfionn.com)
- Menominee seventh grader suspended for saying “I Love You” in her Native language (redantliberationarmy.wordpress.com)
- Seventh Grader Suspended For Speaking Menominee In Classroom (inquisitr.com)
- “I love you” (resistracism.wordpress.com)
- Basketball player benched for Native American language (deborahbidwell.wordpress.com)
This needs to be mentioned, since it isn’t anywhere in that article. Catholic schools are private schools – they receive no funding from the government. In exchange, they are allowed much more latitude in policy making, since everything’s on their own dime, so to speak. America does have issues with its treatment of Native Americans, but this isn’t really a good example of one.
I can’t say for sure that a public school wouldn’t get away with something like this, if it was a fairly small school in a backward-thinking state. But in a large school, federal oversight is far too great for something like this to happen in this day and age. Again, excepting private schools, which can ban the use of any language they please.
The logical course of action here would be to simply disenroll the child from the school – stop giving the prejudiced scumbags their money.
Some good points, James, though I’d think even private schools should conform to some of the same basic regulations as public schools. Thanks for the information.
I’m not sure but as far as I’m aware there is limited educational choices for the local Native American communities and the local Roman Catholic school is generally considered one of the best options.