School board director Howard Johnson was recently quoted, “This country was made great through the genocide of Indians and the enslavement of Blacks. We don’t want to go back to that. We want to move forward.”
Some might say there’s no way this country would ever go back to those atrocities, yet we are still doing them in a “civilized” manner by perpetuating stereotypes of those groups. I applaud the RHS leadership for changing the denigrating image of a cartoon warrior to eventually a feather but is that really all this culture has to offer?
I am part Cherokee, and when I read the histories of other native groups in Oregon it brings back that pain of wondering what my European ancestors may have done to my Native ancestors. I cried the first time I read the “History” section on the website of the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians. But that sorrow was mitigated by knowing how much these wonderful people are striving to enhance their communities through services and financial donations.
Instead of having our native friends held captive to an image of their past by using an “innocent” feather, couldn’t we as a community focus on the achievements of all the cultures represented in Roseburg? Something like, “Heritage High School” with an eagle as the mascot, could focus on the value of the local Indians and all the cultures and how each one has risen, and is rising above adversity to make our community, state, and country a better place.