Chafee: Native ties to Billie Jean King, Kennedy
"Native Americans can take pride that Tennis icon Billie Jean King, a Cherokee, and Ted Kennedy, descendant of an honorary Iroquois Chief, did wonders to create equal opportunities for girls/women in sports and education in America and abroad. By enforcing the 1972 Title 1X Education Amendments Act, they actually helped restore those equitable traditional ways of the First Americans, which were interrupted in the last 150 years.

We all have Indigenous ancestors. And according to a tapestry of ancient oral traditions, “Native American moms, and other Indigenous females, have been “sports role models for their children since Pre-Atlantean times.” It was part of their balanced body, mind and spirit tribal family philosophy.

Sports also got American Indian women in shape to defend themselves, like whooping General Custer, who first attacked them and their children as easy marks, before limping on to the fateful Little Big Horn field, revealed forensic scientists. Sports and education also gave tribal women powers to heal and preserve what is good: Polly Cooper (Oneida) is honored in a sculpture at DC’s Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian with General Washingtion for saving his troops from freezing and starving to death at Valley Forge. Mariah Cooper, one of our XC Native American Olympic Hopefuls, is a direct descendant.

In education, Iroquois Clan mothers have for centuries been teaching, training, choosing, and if necessary removing their chiefs, which resulted in earth’s shining model of egalitarian democracy. They are revered by their resulting well-balanced men for this. Ben Franklin copied parts of their democratic formula, but since mainstream women were left out of it, the Seneca Clan mothers graciously adopted Susan B. Anthony and others, who became the Suffragettes.

The legal team of the WomenSports Foundation, founded by Billie Jean, with Olympic Gold medal swimmer Donna De Varona as President, pricelessly helped restore those tools of dignified humane equality by providing the legal muscle behind Title 1X enforcement. Since the mid 70’s, it has benefited girls in all federally funded schools, including reservations. Plus Donna got the critical message out as a pioneer ABC Sports commentator."

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Suzy Chaffee : Hail Billie Jean King and Ted Kennedy – Native American Contributors to Title 1X (eNewsChannels 9/15)