Diocese apologizes to Menominee girl who spoke language

The Catholic Diocese of Green Bay has apologized to a member of the Menominee Nation who was reprimanded for speaking her language in class.

Miranda Washinawatok, a seventh-grader, translated some phrases in the language for her classmates. Her teacher claimed she was being disruptive and she was benched from a basketball game that evening.

“The resulting events that transpired were never intentionally grounded in any way that would cause the family and the Menominee Nation to view the Diocese of Green Bay as insensitive to a person of Menominee heritage or any heritage. We wish we could change how that was handled," the diocese told Washinawatok's family, The Green Bay Press-Gazette reported.

Miranda’s mother, Tanaes Washinawatok, appreciated the apology from the diocese. But she said letters from the principal at Sacred Heart Catholic School and the Miranda’s teacher were unacceptable

"Language and behavior that creates a possibility of elitism, or simply excludes other students, can create or increase racial and cultural tensions," the teacher wrote in a letter, WBAY-TV reported.

"I felt like her letter was an excuse for her actions," Washinawatok told WBAY in response.

Get the Story:
Letters to Family Reignite Dispute Over Student Using Menominee Language (WBAY-TV 2/28)
Diocese apologizes to Shawano student who spoke Menominee in class (The Green Bay Press-Gazette 2/28)
Native girl punished for speaking her language (The Toronto Sun 2/28)
Green Bay diocese apologizes to 7th-grader (AP 2/28)
Sacred Heart, diocese send apologies (The Shawano Leader 2/24)

Related Stories:
Jerry Hill: Menominee girl was brave to speak her language (2/13)
Opinion: School wrong to bench student for Native language (2/10)
School apologizes to student for using Menominee in class (2/2)
Student reprimanded for using Menominee words at school (1/30)

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