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Monday, September 25, 2023

Native American wishes must be respected

By Chantale Jimenez

 CSMS Magazine Staff writerThe United States of America is definitely a multicultural society. Noticeably the society has taken on a blend of all the cultures present here, giving the society a unique identity all of its own, without taking away the hope of liberation and individualism that is being sought. As each group enters the US, they take with them their experiences and combine them with what they can understand here. Understandably, a lot of knowledge is required, and as people try to gain knowledge, they become aware of the significance and importance of the new environment.            The history of the United States in regards to Native Indians has revealed that the first European immigrants showed no respect for native Indian culture. They maintained that their culture was the right way to live, and immediately imposed it on the natives in a very hostile manner. In other words zero tolerance was given to native Indian culture.  This included trying to change their language, mode of dress, type of educational practice, mode of living, and basically every fundamental aspect of their culture. History reveals that native Indians were mistreated and abused in an effort to erase their very existence.             However, as with every culture, there were always people who carried on the culture, and thankfully it survived. This survival has been so impressive that everyone has come to know that Native Indians are proud of their individuality and their heritage; and their strength of character is one that is motivating. These are characteristics that every group seeks regardless of location. All groups that have knowledge of Native American history craves to adapt the natives sense of togetherness, unity and desire, which they effectively use in a sacred way to make distinguished accomplishments.  Sports teams know how important it is to have a united front and to keep their eye steadfast on the goal, which is winning. This is their main reason for using aspects of the Native American culture as part of their reality. Native Americans, however still regard this as an act of convenience in that they realize that their sacred rituals, names and symbols are being used as a means to an end, thus the stand off.As the Native American regards their names and symbols as being sacred and religious, there should be enough respect given to them. They have a right to dictate their culture, and regardless of how liberated everyone feels it is not a good sign if the respect an individual demands in regards to his culture is not upheld, and then multiculturalism has failed its responsibility. For multiculturalism to work everyone has to tolerate and respect each other’s differences and, at the same time, embrace their individuality.            I really do not have any drawback to the names that sports teams give themselves. However, I am not a Native American, but if Native Americans protest, they do have their reasons and these reasons should be respected. I also don’t mind being identified by the color of my skin, neither am I adverse to having a sports team attach my skin color to their name because in my cultural upbringing. I was made to be aware that my skin culture suggests strength of character and pride, and this is an honor. This comes from my cultural experience.            The native Indians on the other hand have been ostracized and made to feel inferior by their American counterparts, who belatedly are trying to make amends, have always had reasons to demand that their voices be heard and that respect for their customs be upheld. They have rights too and they should have a say in what they hold dear. They hold all aspects of their culture in a form of religious realm. Therefore, their norms, values and beliefs are sacred. They have remained adamant about their culture, and to this day they believe that they are being taken or used as a convenience. Understandably, they are unwilling to be a part of this. They want to be taken seriously as they believe that they are social victims of the wider American society.            When these issues are brought into focus, they might seem trivial, however, to those whom they affect, it is no small feat. I therefore agree with Lustig & Koester (2006) in stating:In social episodes that include intercultural interactions, those involved may-and in all likelihood will-have very different expectations and interpretations about people’s behaviors and intentions…. Though a culture teaches a particular interpretation of the meanings and behaviors in social episodes, other cultures may provide their members with very different interpretations of these same experiences (p. 120)Also see Creating culture diversityMake our society a better place

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