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In The Hoop

Welcome to In The Hoop, Indianz.Com's occasional column about assorted Indian issues.

NAJA Bites Back
The Native American Journalists Association is criticizing a recent editorial written by Wesley Pruden of The Washington Times.

You know, the one that criticized the Maryland Indian Commission of Indian Affairs for waging a campaign to get rid of mascots at schools in the state. In his piece, Pruden used a number of images and words that NAJA says are racist.

"NAJA is very disappointed by the lack of journalistic ethics demonstrated by the Washington Times editor," said President Mary Annette Pember. "Using racist images and words is inflammatory and irresponsible journalism. Such racist sentiments fuels racial distrust between Native Americans and mainstream America."

So NAJA is calling on The Times to print an apology for the editorial and an accompanying cartoon. (The Times web site does not have an archive of either, by the way, but a related Aug. 29 editorial about the "racial agitators" is still there.)

The paper has recently printed one letter in opposition to its stance. Indianz.Com has received complaints about the editorial as well.

But will The Times apologize? Look for Pat Buchanan to win the presidency first.

Offensive Name Removal
Speaking of of names, the U.S. Board on Geographic Names Wednesday voted to remove "Chink" from all federal maps. That means "Chink's Peak" in Idaho will be renamed "Chinese Peak."

Of course, there were some complaints about changing the 6,791-foot mountain. The Idaho Geographic Names Advisory Council opposed the move, because the peak was named in honor of all those "Chinks" who used to mine for gold there.

Sounds respectful, doesn't it? Then again, Idaho was the state which refused to pass a law last year to get rid of "squaw" from its place names. That prompted Indian women to protest the inaction.

Tribe Celebrates New Council
Leave it to a California tribe to turn an otherwise regular event into an educational and political opportunity. Today, the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, known for their generosity, swear in a new set of council members, including Chairman Maurice Lyons.

Among the dignitaries expected to attend are tribal-friendly (and sometimes tongue-twisted) Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante, State Assemblyman Tony Cardenas and a host of local and tribal leaders. School children are also being bussed in so they can witness their first tribal government event.

In Your Hoop
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