Too cavalier

I have heard of your cavalier comments concerning the titles given to the eating places at the Holmes Student Center.

I do not blame you or anyone else who behaves in this way because of ignorance. It has been common practice to ignore the concerns and needs of the Native American.

Where I come from, if a business has an Indian name, that Indian is running it and will try to protect that name lest it lose respect.

I would like to talk about the Pow Wow. Where I come from, there are many Pow Wows. I myself have built many Pow Wow arenas and arbors, and I have helped to plan banquets. To build something so important, I will put cedarin my pockets and in my shoes. My payment will be in tobacco. This is because the beginning of something so spiritual must be sacred. Pow Wows and banquets are spiritual because the ancestors are always invited in the opening prayers and drum sings. The ancestors always come when the meeting is made sacred in this way.

I believe that if the students at NIU, the faculty and president understand this, they will try to make things right. I think it is a wonderful thing that my fellow natives have found a voice to say what they feel. It was not that long ago that such appeals for justice would have been severely punished, or certainly ignored. I believe that this is a good sign and that Native American ways, contributions to society and dreams for the future will be accessible in real form—in the native people—rather than in titles that misrepresent us and our feelings. I must admit that I too feel uncomfortable by the way that Pow Wows are misrepresented at the Holmes Student Center. I would have less problem if the art department would make a big black bird to replace all the native motif. Birds are confused by almost everything we do. And there are not too many people who know Blackhawk, the man, but I know he is now a respected ancestor.

Jim LeBlanc

Human & Family Resources

Graduate Student