The Sisseston school district continues to wallow in racism with its “Redmen” logo. Local American Indian youth continue a fight that made news last February to persuade the Sisseton school board to end its cultural appropriation and adopt a new logo.
The Sisseton school board is responding with silence:
On August 3, two young Dakota women, Persephone and Fidelity Eastman, of the Lake Traverse Indian Reservation, stood before the board of the Sisseton School District in Sisseton, South Dakota, respectfully asking them to retire their disparaging moniker, and all activities associated with it….
“I went into the school board meeting thinking we have to hit three birds with one stone: the name, the logo, and their homecoming coronation, and as always, while thinking and going about things in a positive way,” Persephone Eastman said.
The two young women, both soft spoken and tactful, first introduced themselves in their Dakota language, shared facts and opinions about the mascot, and then spoke of the psychological impact of stereotypical imagery. When finished, they asked the board if they had any questions, to which they responded with head shakes of “No” [Sarah Sunshine Manning, “Youth Continue Their Battle Against Sisseton ‘Redmen’,” Indian County Media, 2015.09.02].
Manning posts this photo of a Sisseton homecoming activity:
This photo demonstrates cultural appropriation at least as clearly as the photo the Watertown paper published last fall of its homecoming “royalty” in fringy American Indian garb. But we know from our discussion last year that local sports fans like wrapping themselves in “tradition” as much as in the cultural accoutrements of an oppressed minority. The Eastman girls and other opponents of Sisseton’s logo will need a lot of patience to persuade their white neighbors away from this annual display of disrespect.
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By the way, Sisseton is county seat to Roberts County, which is 53% Democrat and 28% Republican. Perhaps its all-Democratic legislative delegation, including Sisseton’s Rep. Dennis McCleery, would like to weigh in on this matter of Indian–White relations