Andre Cramblit: Another year brings challenges for our people

Andre Cramblit. Photo from From The River Collective

The Karuk Tribe just celebrated its new year and Andre Cramblit is ready to take on some more challenges:
The New Year comes to Natives with many challenges. It is sad that we are still fighting the same fights. Mascots, headdresses and long hair—oh my. Are we making progress? I hope so.

I ended last school year working on a case to allow American Indian students to wear feathers as they graduated. The school actually asked one of the students to be a class speaker and they wanted it in his language that he is studying. But they would not allow him to wear the feathers he earned. Fortunately due to potential media pressure, legal issues and the phone calls and emails of you all (if you took the time to do it as requested by the family through me), the students wore their feathers.

This school year opened with the news that a kindergartener in Texas was denied access to his classroom because his hair was long. Things never change. I wear my hair long because a baseball coach once told me, when my hair came all the way down too the top of my ears, "I ain’t coaching no wild savages, cut yer hair.” Well he just cemented a loss of profit to my barber.

We must still fight the social problems and diseases that plague our communities confronted by poverty and a loss of connection to our Tribal cultures. We need to reconnect with the traditions, rituals and language that make us who we are. We need to pass all of this on to our children.

Get the Story:
Andre Cramblit: Yav Pa Irahiv: Happy New Year (Indian Country Today 9/29)

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