To free the land, you must first free your mind...

This is a conceptual platform for the expression of ideas and issues initiating discussion and action. The communiqué's are my perceptions, opinions and vision about contemporary issues/causes, people I admire & respect, and my goals for the future. My main focus is on the Chahta People by sharing our past to plan for the future today!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Punished for saying "Hello" & "I love you" in a Native Language!

Hopefully, many of you have heard about the story of a 12 year old Menominee  girl, Miranda Washinawatok, who was benched from a basketball game simply because she shared a couple of words from her language that means "Hello" and "I love you". The school has apologized, but this just doesn't seem to be sufficient. Many other Native people and myself have suffered at the hands of teachers just because we spoke our language, and this has been ongoing since the boarding school days in the 1800's.

This story compelled me to send an email to the Principal, Daniel Minter, which I have posted below. If you have a mind to send a message, here is the contact info for the Principal & school:

Daniel Minter:

Sacred Heart Catholic School

124 E. Center St.
Shawano WI 54166

school website:

And please feel free to share through your networks!

Dear Mr. Minter:Through the Internet, I, as well as many other people have became aware of the trauma suffered by Ms. Washinawatok, due to the immature actions of a couple of your staff members. for simply sharing her language.
This is a matter where I feel decisive action is necessary. If the teacher who heard this would have conducted herself like a teacher, with patience and compassion, instead out of anger, the results could have been different. The second teacher who joined in and ganged up on a 12 year old would have taken the same tact, then again, a different result would have ensued. But to go to the coach and enact a form of summary punishment by benching her goes beyond reason! I would expect, even for  private school, there would be some form of due process to ensure fairness before someone is penalized.
The schools actions should include discipline for the teachers involved such as anger management training, cultural sensitivity training and maybe even host an event to honor the memory of Ingrid Washinawatok who lost her life in Columbia South America 13 years ago this month when she was kidnapped by the FARC guerilla's and executed. She was there to assist the Uwa people in establishing a school to protect their culture and their "Language". I hope that you do not miss the irony in this, no matter how tragic.
The summary disciplinary action taken against this young woman is a traumatic form of abuse. I speak form experience as to the punishment and humiliation I was subjected to by my first grade teacher for speaking my language. Just look at the facts, what basis did either of the teachers have to warrant suspicion that there was any element of a threat in merely sharing Menominee words that says "Hello" and "I love you" to justify their actions.
I feel that an apology from the school should go beyond words in a letter. Appreciate that you have taken the time t read my message.
Sincerely,Ben CarnesChahta (Choctaw) NationBroken Bow, Okla Hummv (Indian Territory)