NEWS & VIEWS OF PHILLIPS SINCE 1976
Sunday July 23rd 2017

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The Red Word

By Peter Molenaar

The good news is: My left hip joint is, at long last, scheduled to be replaced. However, the day the Washington “Redskins” came to town, I was in some serious pain after laboring eight hours behind the grinding wheel. To make matters worse, it was a cold day and evidently the barometric pressure was low. But, neighbors, the indigenous core of our community had issued a call to protest.

Happily, my resolve to participate prevailed over the forces of inertia. When I arrived a tad late, the crowd had already formed outside the Ancient Traders Market. The scent of burning sage united our spirits as the combined radiance of flesh dispersed the cold. There was no pain felt by being there.

Clyde’s voice was amplified. “Warrior Woman” Betty McCollum declared that hate speech has no place in this country. Six-Pro-Bowls (Joey Browner) invoked his indigenous aspect while commending the sentience of Native youth. Our new Mayor Betsy Hodges was warmly received, as seen especially in the smiles of young women.

Each marching step was to constitute a prayer. As the mass moved slowly at the start, I determined to keep up. In my case, certainly each step would count twice.

Do the people who descended over thousands of years upon this land want to be “honored” as mascots and logos? No they do not… and that should be the end of it.

My aching joints made it as far as Chicago Avenue. Then, while walking back east on Franklin Avenue, a second marching contingent approached from the American Indian Center. For one exhilarating moment, it seemed the march I’d just left had circled the globe!

To be sure, this neighborhood is a special place. We are then essentially obligated to stand with First Nations people. Next time around, will at least the able-bodied among us answer the call?

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