Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The State of "Red People" and Team Mascots

Oklahoma Territory, prior to full statehood
  The first sanctioned inhabitants of the Oklahoma Territory were the Civilized tribes who were forcibly migrated from the east. They shared the partitioned land and collectively made the best of a demeaning status.
  Among the most adaptive tribes was the Chocktaw Nation. Their tribal history had previously been very friendly with the French inhabitants who preceded the east coast expansionists. Chief Greenwood LaFlore was, himself, half French.
  The Chocktaw language is used when we speak the official name of our state. Oklahoma is literally defined as "Red People". It was meant to unite not only the 5 civilized tribes of the eastern side of the state, but also their common citizenship with the western tribes who had a much different lifestyle & heritage.

 Is a mascot representing the American tribes a slur? No, it is as proud a statement as "Yankee" is to the folks of New England. So where does the victim class come into the public debate? And how can a self-sufficient and prosperous tribe be silenced by the contemporary activist class who claims to represent the prosperous and educated legacy of Oklahoma Indians? Native to the land and so essential to the heritage of Oklahoma?

  No, the victim-class and those making a handsome living off a claim to represent oppressed people, do not have a foothold in Oklahoma... the land of the Red People.
David Van Risseghem

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