By Dennis Michael Plank, NEOSC Indigenous Peoples Chairperson
What are Indigenous People doing this year? In the past, Native Americans have worked on the preservation of tribal existence, protection of the tribal environment, promotion of Native American human rights, accountability of governments to Native Americans, and stopping stereotyping of Indigenous Peoples. This year Indigenous Peoples in Northeast Ohio are going to focus on stopping stereotyping of Native Americans. Why are we doing this? We are doing this because an important anniversary is coming up. The Cleveland professional baseball franchise adopted the “Indians” name 100 years ago and now it is time to stop the stereotyping.
The Cleveland professional baseball franchise, other professional teams, college teams, and high school teams have to stop the use of Native American names and logos. Using these names and logos equates American Indian People with ferocious animals and it affects the everyday lives of American Indians because stereotypical ideas about Indians have replaced genuine concerns for the identities, communities, and cultures of American Indian People.
With this in mind, Indigenous Peoples and others will be coming from all over America to Northeast Ohio. There will be a demonstration, a conference, prayers, forum, music, potluck, and many speakers. For example, Charlene Teters from the Spokane Nation will speak. She is an adjunct Professor, Institute of American Indians Arts and Senior Editor of Indian Artist Magazine. There was a PBS documentary about her called In Whose Honor. She will be speaking on art, human rights, and cultural issues in Indian Country.
The name of the conference and demonstration is called the “23rd Annual Conference and Demonstration to Protest Racism Against Indigenous Peoples in Sports and Media, Please Support the Indigenous Peoples.” It is being presented by the Committee of 500 Years of Dignity and Resistance on Friday, April 10, 2015 and Saturday, April 11, 2015. The demonstration starts at the park at the corner of West 25th Street and Detroit Avenue on Friday, April 10, 2015 at 11:30 AM. The conference starts at the Pilgrim United Church of Christ, 2592 West 14th Street, Cleveland, Ohio 44113, Saturday, April 11, 2015 at 8:00 AM.