Regarding Julie Muhlstein’s column, “Marysville schools may rethink Tomahawk mascot”: It is very important to understand the background of the word and usage of the word “Tomahawk’. Tomahawk is the derivative name used by the dominant culture at the time to describe a native word used by the Northeastern native communities as a tool, and for use as a weapon in battle by those wishing to engage them in warfare.
In our past history books and by definition it was always described as a war weapon fashioned by native cultural communities who were called derogatory and vile names. I grew up with many terms like “tom-tom,” and “squaw,” which are always demeaning in their portrayals of native populations. I’m a blend of Alaskan, NW coastal, and European heritages trying to bridge former stereotypes of native and European cultures with understanding, communication and open dialogue. I’m dismayed that in this enlightened age this term and actions are still part of the sports teams’ behavior. I ask where is the respect when in the field of sports a word and actions are utilized to describe one power over another; where is the honor and cultural sensitivity and good sportsmanship in that? History is a very good tool if it only applied and seen as viewed from the prospective of a collaborated truth that engages all peoples perspectives.
Aleda (Williams) Enright