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Halt negative stereotyping of Native Indians


Thank you, John Brewington, for your kind words regarding the changing of the Indian names of mascots to a more suitable term (see 'From the sidelines,' Spotlight, March 21).

I am very impressed with how the students at Scappoose High School are handling the situation. However, I am horrified at the racism demonstrated in the letter from Betty Reynolds, and I would question if she actually knows any American Indians personally (See 'Letters,' Spotlight, March 21).

American Indians truly have emotional feelings, too, and it is very depressing to think that others believe that our feelings do not count. Obviously Ms. Reynolds has never had to live and survive in two worlds or a multi-cultural society other than (as) a member of the majority mainstream.

American Indians have their traditional ways but must also survive in another culture besides their own. The mainstream society often believes what they learned from the history books or from watching old 'Wagon Train' reruns about how vicious the Indians were - while, in fact, the American Indians did not originally have vicious ways, nor were there substance abuse issues.

The mascots that are portrayed by the schools provide stereotypical perceptions of American Indians as vicious, killing, hateful, competitive attackers and scalpers with no feelings for others, thus using these ideas in the competition against other teams.

Animals are the usual mascots. Therefore, it seems that a connection could be made that American Indians are portrayed as vicious animals.

While I understand that no school wants to change their mascot of years gone by, I hope that the state of Oregon and Columbia County would discontinue the racist stereotyping of certain populations and stop treating ethnic groups as animals.

Susan Ziglinski, Board president of the Native American Rehabilitation Association of the Northwest,

Columbia City