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LEONARD PELTIER DEFENSE COMMITTEE



TEXAS AIM AND THE RACIST MASCOT ISSUE


Prior to the meeting in Alvarado, we wrote a letter dated March 16, 1999 to
the Texas Education Agency. In part, it says,..."The American indian
Movement of Texas would like to ensure that all children get a fair and just
education and that racism is not taught or tolerated. This can not be if the
state of Texas continues to use American Indians as mascots for their
schools.

The American Indian Movement of Texas is attempting to educate, especially
in schools that this practice is morally wrong and urges the school
districts to willingly change their mascots and stop racism in america."

We cited for them, 181 schools that have in the past, or are now presently
using some sort of name or mascot of the American Indian.

Our reply came April 5, 1999, in part it says..... "Please be informed that
your complaints against the School Districts had been forwarded to the
Division of School Governance and Equal Education Opportunity for any action
that may need to be taken regarding the concerns you have registered with
the Agency.

On May 5th, we got another reply , after the Alvarado School board meeting.
In part it says.."The Equal Educational Opportunity (EEO) Unit of the Texas
Education Agency has received your letter in which you state that  181
schools in Texas claim to be "honoring" Native Americans by their use of
mascots like "Braves, Chiefs, Indians, Warriors and even Redskins."  You
claim that the people being honored feel only degradation, pain, racism and
disgust and that the use of Indian symbols as mascots is dehumanizing,
demoralizing, and blantly racist.

It is the policy of the Agency to assist individuals concerning allegations
of racial and national origin discrimination only after the complainant has
attempted to resolve the problem locally through the appropriate channels.
Those channels include the specific building principal, when appropriate,
the superintendent of schools or his/her representative, and the board of
trustees.  Complaints must exhaust these channels before the Agency can
consider intervention.  Additionally, the Agncy can consider intervention
only if the allegations indicate that state or federal laws or State Board
of Education rules have been violated.  Specifically, the EEO Unit is
responsible for investigating allegations of discrimination as they apply to
race and national origin by authority of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of
1964.

Accorind to the Agency's general council, the Agency has no authority over
school  mascots.  The issue is a local matter and it should be handled by
the following specific local school district grievance procedutes.  You may
also submit your letter to the Unityed States Department of Education,
Office for Civil Rights (OCR), Harwood Center, Suite 2600, 1999 Bryan
Street, Dallas, TX 75201.  The telephone number is 214/880-2463.

In keeping with our policy, the EEO Unit will not investigate a complaint
where we do not have jurisdiction.  In view of the circumstances, we are
closing our file on your letter and no further action is anticipated."

Since that reply, the American Indian Movement of Texas has requested the
Alvarado ISD put us on the agenda for the upcoming 1999-2000 school year.

We wish to thank Storm Reyes & Mike Wicks for coming so far to speak to the
Alvarado ISD, also for Hawk Snow & Walela SnowBird for attending and
mentioning that they are with AIMTX, also to Patty Lockwood and her daughter
for attending and any others who attended this meeting in support of the
issue.

We have also contacted the Little League State Headquarters, 1612 S.
University Parks Dr., Waco, TX  76710, our letter dated January, 1999 with
our concerns regarding the use of Native American names used in their
league.  Please feel free to write them.

In Struggle,
Juan Mancias


STATEMENT FROM THE DIRECTOR


"EVERYDAY IS A NEW START, IF CHOOSE IT SO" MY MOM ONCE SAID, BUT SHE ALSO
TOLD ME "YOU AIN'T THE COUGAR OF YESTERDAY."  I think about these things
especially when things get real rough nowadays.  So as I struggle with all
the so-called normal activities of life and the life members involved, I
reach temporary conclusions.

AIM of Texas was brought forth to unite and bring forth accountability for
all groups in Texas involved in First Nation struggles.  Throughout Texas'
major urban and rural areas there has been a disunity based on who can put
on the best PowWow, who is more traditional, who is more "Indian" and who
has the most money.  These problems, and yes they are problems, have caused
a major rift in our conscious existence as well as the sub-conscious.  In
every Major City in Texas; Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Waco, Lubbock, San
Angelo, Odessa-Midland, Amarillo, Dallas/Ft.Worth and every major rural
area has felt this chasm of division.

Groups in these areas have divided and sub-divided due to the problems
mentioned before.  We have all tried to approach organizing groups with an
Euro-centric mentality.  Money and Power have been all of our downfalls or
better yet our division.  If we would only try to approach our organizing
with a more grassroots approach maybe we could survive longer and be able
to make the difference.  Not that a well-organized group is not important,
but that our own personal approach should be back to the Basics.

Power is not information.  Power is the Sun rising, the Sun setting, the
rain falling, thunder booming, wind blowing or the universe.  We have been
programmed to define power as those that have the money and can make the
difference.  Is it not true that in our culture the one with less is the
one most respected, that individual gives the most.  We measure our honor
with respect earned.  We decide people's skills as leaders by their
humility and outreach to the people.  Where, oh where did we start
measuring power by how much I have acquired of destroyed?

Everybody nowadays wants to be "chief" or a "shaman".  Nobody, but nobody,
has ever made the effort to learn to follow first.  We are all different,
this is true, but we must find the goals that we must continually focus on.
 We are all going to worry about the funds and how they have been spent,
but is this going to cause us to lose focus.  What we are focusing on is
our direction.  A direction measured on humility and guided by respect.
Many people will come and go but the focus of the Organization must always
be first and utmost.  Power hungry, money grabbing, no cultural individuals
are a dime a dozen.  Yet we, who have the goodness of our people in our
hearts, mind and spirit, need to over come the Euro-centric mentality.

I have two Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Sociology, still I
have had to fight the Euro-centric education that brainwashed us all.  And
if it hadn't been for those old stories and sayings, I probably would have
ended up in some other life.  My grandma always said, "don't leave the old
worn path for one that is not that well known."  For this Reason, I
believe, we have all chosen to be part of AIM of Texas.  AIM of Texas is
Stability, Accountability, Credibility, Unity, Strength, and has a 30-year
history.

We as AIM of Texas will not tolerate the fighting among ourselves.  We are
asking everybody, everywhere in the State of Texas to begin a healing of
old vendettas, feuds, divisions, and misunderstandings.  If you need help,
we will help with mediation.  Not that we as AIM of Texas are perfect,
believe me, we have had our moments also.  Yet, we are still here at a
National level and State chapter level, focusing on the problems that
terrorize our First Nation People.  Don't permit the terror to ourselves to
be ourselves.

Focus on the Main Objectives:

1. BURIAL DESCREATION
2. QUESTION THE QUALITY AND MANNER OF EDUCATION
3. PRESERVE THE 1st NATION TRADITION, SPIRITUAL LIFE, AND VALUES HONORABLY
4. UNCOVER THE LIES THAT BREED ALCHOLISM, SUBSTANCE ABUSE AND OTHER ABUSES
5. SUPPORT THE THREE RECOGNIZED 1st NATIONS OF TEXAS, AS WELL AS THE 4
   SEEKING RECOGNITION
6. RACISM IN SPORTS AND MEDIA
7. ALTERNATIVE EDUCATIVE CONCEPTS AS RESOCIALIZATION, LANGUAGE PRESERVATIONS
   AND POSITIVE ROLE MODELS
8. STOP THE CONSTANT HARASSMENT OF 1st NATIONS AT THEIR SOCIAL OR CEREMONIAL
   GATHERINGS BY FEDERAL, STATE AND LOCAL OFFICIALS
9. THE PROPER AND JUST TREATMENT OF THOSE 1st NATIONS PEOPLE INCARCERATED,
   ESPECIALLY WITH THEIR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

STAY FOCUSED

Juan Mancias

Do Not....
Do Not go to Non-Indian run Pow Wows
Do Not buy Indian items from Non-Indian vendors
Do Not buy jewelry from the Orient that markets itself as Indian
Do Not Pay to pray
Do Not buy AIM memberships - there is no such thing, it is a matter of commitment, not money
Do Not agree with racism of any kind - Racism is Racism
Do Not mix religions; it is a conflict, you can't do both
Do Not pay for Sweats, Sundances, and Vision Quests. These items are not for sale


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