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Appalled by ‘Indian’ parade entry

Posted on July 5, 2017 by Sonoma Valley Sun

I am an enrolled citizen of the Confederated Tribes Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw. Ever since my daughter was very young, we visit the 4th of July parade. In the past it has always been a fun experience. This year I was horrified and disappointed to see an appalling entry into the parade, sponsored by Sonoma Hills Retirement Center, honoring Father Jose Altimira. Several of the individuals in the group were dressed as “Indians” – in a manner no actual Indian would ever, ever dress: ugly headdresses made up of garishly died chicken feathers, faux buckskin outfits, and to top it all off a young woman in a wig and a faux buckskin dress. This insults not only the local Indians who suffered and died at the Mission (Coast Miwok, Pomo and Patin) and their descendants, but also insults all indigenous people.

We don’t appreciate seeing out cultures mocked in such a way, nor the history of genocide portrayed in such a lighthearted manner. The entry also violated the Sonoma Community Center’s rules for parade entries – specifically prohibited are “…banner, costumes or languages with slurs (racial, sexual, religious, etc).  The parody “Indian” costumes clearly violated that rule. I hope in future the parade organizers make it clearer to participants such costumes are inappropriate.

Patricia Phillips, Sonoma

2 thoughts on “Appalled by ‘Indian’ parade entry

  1. I did not see this at the parade but, heard about it. The other day I said to my husband, “We have the Bear Flag Rebellion Statue and Now General Vallejo, where is our “Indian?” Maybe not Chief Solano, who was a friend to and helped the General subdue the other tribes. Maybe a statue commemorating the “Indian” way of life and the preservation of mother earth. What do you think, city council?

  2. Dear Patricia, Thank you for speaking out. It took Mothers and family leadership to effectively change the racist stereotypes that continue in public arenas. I encounter tremendous ignorance where folks believe you and I are blind and mute. I’ll be returning to the Valley soon. I hope to continue this critical conversation with you and others about destructive, hateful, racist stereotypes against Natives – the next generation is WATCHING in sheer disgust and I want to be there for them! I can share stories about progressive change on this front in Sonoma and the Schools such as Altamira and mascot change. There is always room for change! Your voice on this matter fills our hearts! In Spirit, Jt
    [email protected]

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