LETTER: Red Jacket Schools Name Honors Native Americans | Letters to the Editor

Red Jacket Schools Name Honors Native Americans

There are more than 70 other school districts in New York that use or refer to Native American names or references.

Red Jacket, the person, is a historical figure of the 1700s and early 1800s for whom all official portraits and likenesses are identifiable by the large Medal of Freedom medallion displayed on his chest given to him by President Washington.

Some activists view any reference to an activity or item that is also used by multiple cultures as an assault or “theft” from their own culture exclusively. This overall position is problematic when examined with Native American history. It should be noted that Red Jacket was called Red Jacket because of the clothes he wore; Vests were introduced by Europeans in the 1600s, as were horses, corn, and the wheel. The voluntary adoption of Sagoyawatha’s action (name of the Red Jackets when he was younger) to embrace swathes of European culture and dress, including the wearing of the peace medal, are unmistakable examples. that the final and absolute segregation of cultures was not pleasant for him and for the Native Americans whom he represented as their leader.

The arrows represent and symbolize “moving forward, a step forward” as in an increase in knowledge to be acquired, a progression in character development, a commitment to pursue and achieve, etc. The feather, used in many cultures around the world, is meant to indicate honor for having achieved something of admiration (education, sportsmanship, self-discipline for example) and is similar to Red Jacket’s own Medal of Freedom, which he wore proudly, and emphasizing family-like behavior is more important than family lines.

Egyptian pharaohs, Roman rulers, European fashion, African tribes, Aztecs, and many cultures around the world have used the display of feathers as an indication of earned privilege and pride. The indigenous peoples of this region did not adopt the use of the feathered headdress until the 1800s, when they adopted it from other cultures. Various Native American tribes across North and South America have differing definitions as to the use and meaning of the feather, ranging from giving recognition to male veterans to providing a method of filtering bad dreams to enter the body.

From the Niagara River to Manhattan, there are tens of thousands of names in New York that are based on Native American names. Selective elimination of some and not others should be considered selective enforcement and constitutes absolute discrimination. How are streets, government buildings, lakes, rivers, cities, colleges, parks, hospitals, bridges, casinos, tobacco products and other items not offensive, but buildings where character, compassion, fairness, sportsmanship, Native American history, and freedom are taught are?

Obviously, someone has to pull out the peace pipe and put down the crack pipe.

Nohemi M. Moore