08-13-2022  3:14 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Lottery Misses Mark on Minorities’ Fair Share

The Oregon Lottery’s most recent advertising slogan is “Together, we do good things”. But when we look at where the profits are coming from and where any potential benefit from lottery profits flow to, is this really true? 

Court Sides With Governor Kate Brown Over Early Prison Releases

Two attorneys took particular issue with Brown’s decision to allow 73 people convicted of murder, assault, rape and manslaughter while they were younger than 18 to apply for early release.

Ballot Measure to Overhaul City Government Promises Minority Representation While Facing Controversy

The Portland Charter Commission aims to bring city in line with how other major U.S. cities do local governance. 

White Woman Calls Police on Black Man Standing at His Home

“If you guys have a lease, I’d just like to see the lease,”

NEWS BRIEFS

Seattle Hospital to Refuse Some Patients Due to Capacity

The hospital is caring for some 560 inpatients, more than 130% of its licensed capacity of 413 patients. ...

West Seattle Bridge to Reopen After Yearslong Closure

The 40-year-old bridge is among the city’s most important, previously allowing 100,000 drivers and 20,000 transit users to move...

Jefferson Alumni Invites Community to Block Party

This inaugural event is open to the public and will have tons of entertainment in tow, including a live DJ and music, a rib contest,...

Oregon Approved to Issue an Additional $46 Million in Pandemic EBT Food Assistance to 80,000 Young Children

The additional food benefits will be issued to families’ existing EBT cards in Fall 2022, with the exact dates yet to be...

Free Vaccination Events Provide Required Back-to-School Immunizations

On or before the first day of instruction, all K-12 students in Washington state must be up to date on vaccinations required for...

Idaho Supreme Court won't block strict abortion bans

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho's strict abortion bans will be allowed to take effect while legal challenges over the laws play out in court, the Idaho Supreme Court ruled Friday. The ruling means potential relatives of an embryo or fetus can now sue abortion providers over procedures...

Inslee issues directive outlining monkeypox virus response

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has issued a directive to the Washington State Department of Health outlining additional steps to address the rise in monkeypox cases. In his Friday directive to state health officials, Inslee called the disease an “evolving...

OPINION

No One Ever Told You About Black August?

Black America lives in a series of deserts. Many of us live in food deserts, financial deserts, employment deserts, and most of us live in information deserts. ...

Betsy Johnson Fails to Condemn Confederate Flags at Her Rally

The majority of Oregonians, including our rural communities, value inclusion and unity, not racism and bigotry. ...

Monkeypox, Covid, and Your Vote

We must start a voter registration drive right here where we live. This effort must become as important to us as putting food on the table and a roof over our heads. ...

Speaking of Reparations

To many Americans, “reparations” is a dirty word when applied to Black folks. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Kansas district rejects strategic plan urging diversity

DERBY, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas school district's board rejected a proposed strategic plan after some members questioned its emphasis on diversity and students' mental health. The Derby Board of Education voted 4-3 this week to reject a plan presented after months of work by parents,...

Two years on, foundations stand by issuing bonds in pandemic

NEW YORK (AP) — When the Ford Foundation took the unprecedented step in June 2020 of issuing jumi billion in debt to help stabilize other nonprofits, it delighted investors and inspired several other large foundations to follow suit. Two years later, the foundations all stand by...

Cuomo: Taxpayers should pay sexual harassment legal bills

NEW YORK (AP) — Former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants taxpayers to foot his legal bills as he defends himself against a workplace sexual harassment claim — and he's suing the state's attorney general over it. Cuomo filed the suit against Attorney General Letitia James on...

ENTERTAINMENT

Review: Post Malone concert doc is all flash, no substance

NEW YORK (AP) — There's a moment in Post Malone’s new concert film when its star confesses to how surreal his life has become: “Sometimes I feel like I’m not a real person.” Fans will get no clarity on that astounding statement after watching Amazon's “Post Malone:...

Jerry Hall, Rupert Murdoch reach agreement on divorce

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Model and actor Jerry Hall and media mogul Rupert Murdoch have agreed to the terms of their pending divorce, her attorney said Thursday. Hall filed a request in Los Angeles Superior Court on Wednesday to dismiss her original petition for divorce from Murdoch,...

Planet Drum unites global percussionists in common rhythm

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Grammy-winning group of the world’s top percussionists has reunited after 15 years on a new record that aims to bring the world together in rhythm and dance. Planet Drum’s new record “In The Groove,” out now, features drummers from very different...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Anne Heche remains on life support for donor evaluation

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Anne Heche remains on life support and under evaluation for organ donation after a car crash...

Congress OKs Dems' climate, health bill, a Biden triumph

WASHINGTON (AP) — A divided Congress gave final approval Friday to Democrats' flagship climate and health care...

Fetterman 'grateful' as he returns to Pa. Senate race

ERIE, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania Senate candidate John Fetterman acknowledged he was lucky to be alive as he...

Russian GDP drops 4% in Q2 -- 1st full quarter of fighting

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia’s gross domestic product contracted 4% in the second quarter of this year, the first full...

Gang violence leaves 11 dead in Mexican border city

MEXICO CITY (AP) — A gang riot inside a border prison that left two inmates dead quickly spread to the streets...

Gunman in Montenegro kills 10, then shot dead by passerby

CETINJE, Montenegro (AP) — A man went on a shooting rampage in the streets of this western Montenegro city...

Moni Basu CNN

(CNN) -- Suzan Shown Harjo remembers when she walked into a store with her grandfather in El Reno, Oklahoma. She wanted to get something cool to drink on a summer day. It was the early 1950s and the storekeepers told the 6-year-old she had to leave.

"No black redskins in here," they said.

At that moment, Harjo felt small, unsafe, afraid. Because she was a dark-skinned Native American -- Cheyenne and Hodulgee Muscogee -- she was being identified by just her coloring. She wasn't even a whole human being. Not even her grandpa, whom she saw as all-powerful, could do anything to protect her.

Later in her life, that incident made her angry. Angry enough for Harjo to launch a lifelong mission to protect her people.

Part of her work took aim at sporting teams that use Native Americans as mascots. With the start of the baseball season this week, some of those teams have been front and center. The Cleveland Indians, for instance, feature a smiling Indian dubbed Chief Wahoo, criticized by Native Americans as a racist caricature.

The most offensive example of a mascot, says Harjo, is the one used by Washington's football team. She has been fighting for years to get the Redskins to change their name.

The R-word -- she can't even bring herself to say it -- is the same as the N-word, says Harjo, president of Morning Star Institute, a national Native American rights organization.

She finds it unbelievable that more than half a century after she was told to get out of that El Reno store, after decades of civil rights struggles and progress on race relations, Americans have no problem with rooting for a team called the Redskins.

Fans say the name is an honorific. But the Merriam-Webster dictionary says this: "The word redskin is very offensive and should be avoided." And to many Native Americans, nothing could be more derogatory than the use of that word.

"The Washington team -- it's the king of the mountain," Harjo says. "When this one goes, others will."

The controversy over Native American names in sports is longstanding and surfaces in headlines now and then, as it did in December when the Atlanta Braves baseball team was reportedly considering bringing back a dated "screaming Indian" logo for batting practice caps.

Or when Amanda Blackhorse, a 31-year-old Navajo social worker, went to Washington last month to attend a hearing of the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. She has petitioned to cancel the Redskins trademark on grounds that the name is racist. Harjo filed a similar petition in 1992 and won, but she later lost in the appeals process.

Harjo was defeated in the courts, but public opinion has been shifting steadily on the matter.

In March, several lawmakers introduced a bill in Congress that would amend the Trademark Act of 1946 to ban the term "redskin" in a mark because it is disparaging of native people. Among the sponsors of the bill is civil rights activist Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia.

Harjo says she hopes the legislation will accomplish what litigation has failed to do so far.

If passed, the bill would force the Washington football team to discard its trademarked name and ban the use of any offensive term in any future trademarks.

Proponents believe that Native American mascots pay homage to the people and help promote a better understanding of those who dominated America before Europeans landed.

But opponents say the mascots perpetuate stereotypes that are void of context and history. They argue that even if the mascots themselves are not racially insensitive, they portray native people as one-dimensional.

"A good many Americans don't know any Indians," says Kevin Gover, who heads the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian.

"The Indian you see most often in Washington, D.C., is at a football game -- at the expense of real Indians, real history, real culture. The petty stereotype has become expected."

In February, the Smithsonian museum hosted a symposium on racist stereotypes and cultural appropriation in American sports. The idea was to make people think about how these stereotypes can be damaging to Indians.

"Kids grow up and think it's OK," Gover says. "It's not OK."

There used to be more than 3,000 teams with Native American names and mascots. That's down to about 900 now -- but that's still 900 too many for Gover.

He grew up, also in Oklahoma, and recalled how the University of Oklahoma became the first collegiate team to drop its unofficial mascot, Little Red, a student who dressed as an Indian chief and danced on the sidelines during football games.

Protests on campus forced the demise of Little Red. In 2005, Oklahoma adopted two costumed horses, Boomer and Sooner, as mascots who represented the real horses that pulled the Sooner Schooner. But many students didn't take to them.

One of them was Royce Young, who wrote about the university's "mascot crisis" in an online forum in 2007:

"But why can't OU bring back Little Red? Oklahoma prides itself on being 'Native America.' American Indian heritage is something that is more prevalent in this state than any other in the nation. Would it be so wrong to have Native American imagery representing 'Native America?' "

Young, 27, and a writer for CBS Sports, said he now believes he would have written a more educated post after having discussed the mascot issue with Native Americans.

"I wouldn't say I regret writing it," he said. "But I'd be much more sensitive of understanding why Little Red was insensitive to some instead of saying, 'What's the big deal?' "

Royce said he saw nothing wrong with Oklahoma honoring its native people, but not with a tasteless mascot.

Several college teams followed Oklahoma's footsteps and dropped Native American mascots -- Stanford and Syracuse among them.

The movement to do away with Indian mascots gained momentum after the American Psychological Association in 2005 called for the immediate retirement of the mascots based on studies that showed the harmful effects of inaccurate racial portrayals.

The following year, the NCAA, the governing body of collegiate sports, adopted a policy banning teams with "hostile or abusive racial/ethnic/national origin mascots, nicknames or imagery" from competition. The ban affected high-powered football schools such as Florida State University with Chief Osceola and the University of Illinois, whose official symbol was Chief Illiniwek.

Some states have put the morality of the Indian mascots up for a vote.

Last year, voters dumped the University of North Dakota's Fighting Sioux mascot. And Oregon prohibited public schools from the use of Native American names, symbols or images. The names on the banned list include: Redskins, Savages, Indians, Indianettes, Chiefs and Braves.

At Florida State University, a white man dresses up as Chief Osceola, smears war paint on his face and rides an appaloosa called Renegade to the middle of Doak Campbell Stadium. He plants a burning spear on the field before every home game. The marching band plays Indian-themed music, and the crowd goes wild doing the "tomahawk chop," a moved picked up by the Atlanta Braves.

FSU student Lincoln Golike, who played Osceola in 2002, told the Florida State Times back then that it was tremendous honor to have so many admiring fans.

The Seminole tribe in Florida made an agreement with FSU to allow the use of its name that allows the university to continue competing in the NCAA. The university says its relationship with the Seminole tribe is one of mutual respect.

However, the Seminole nation in Oklahoma, comprised of the descendants of a majority of the Seminoles forced from their lands by the Indian Removal Act, has voiced its opposition to FSU's mascot.

The real Chief Osceola fought U.S. soldiers in the Seminole Wars. He was captured in 1837 under a flag of truce and died in prison. Before his burial, the soldiers chopped off the head of the Indian warrior to keep as a trophy. That Osceola serves as a mascot at FSU doesn't sit well with the Seminoles in Oklahoma and many other Native Americans.

"Native Americans feel offended, they feel hurt. They feel their identity is being trivialized," says Carol Spindel, who wrote "Dancing at Halftime," a book that explored native mascots.

"This is such an ingrained part of American culture that it's very hard to get people to question it," says Spindel, a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where the official symbol used to be Chief Illiniwek. He was the subject of debate for decades and made his last appearance in 2007 under the threat of NCAA sanctions.

But five years later, there are still some who want Illiniwek back. A nonbinding student referendum held just weeks ago strongly favored making him the official mascot again.

Spindel concluded in her book that mascots such as Chief Illiniwek were a reflection not of native people but of those who invented them.

"If we do a census of the population in our collective imagination, imaginary Indians are one of the largest demographic groups," Spindel writes in her book.

"They dance, they drum, they go on the warpath; they are always young men who wear trailing feather bonnets. Symbolic servants, they serve as mascots and metaphors. We rely on these images to anchor us to the land and verify our account of our own past. But as these Indians exist only in our own imaginations, they provide a solipsistic connection and leave us, ultimately, untethered and rootless."

At 67, Harjo believes she has made strides in her struggle to do away with racial stereotypes but says Native Americans have a long way to go.

"Because we as Indians, we don't have the numbers," she says, referring to the dwindling population. The latest census listed 2.9 million people as American Indian and Alaska Native.

"So we don't pose a threat," she says. "If we organized a march, the numbers would be so small. We've done it school by school. State by state."

Harjo knows if the powerful Washington football team is forced to discard its name, then everyone else will follow. But for now, she takes pride in small victories.

Just a few weeks ago, a high school in Cooperstown, New York, decided to retire its R-word mascot.

C.J. Hebert, superintendent for the Cooperstown Central School District, said students approached him regarding their discomfort with the mascot that had been around for decades.

"I do think that times change and perspectives change, and certainly it's historically a time for us to reconsider what the name is," Hebert said.

That's a statement that makes Harjo feel her campaign has been worthwhile.

 

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