In Response to the Maple Mountain Drill Team…

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Dear Editor,

Recently the drill team at Maple Mountain High School in Spanish Fork put on a display of racism and white privilege that would make the Washington “Redskins” proud.  I am an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe in South Dakota and we do not appreciate the exploitation of our culture by ignorant non-Indians.  The Maple Mountain drill team not only dressed themselves offensively, but dared to mark up their faces in caricature of our traditional dancing.  I assume they attempted to translate their drill team routine into something that might remotely resemble the spiritual expression that the hoop dance is for Native Americans, and they only succeeded in proving that racism is alive and well in Utah.

Shame, shame, shame on the school and these children who were allowed to participate in the desecration of another person’s religion.  I want to convey to these children and the adults associated with this event that such events cause continued distress and real pain for Native Americans.  You mark up your faces, clothe yourselves in skimpy dress and pretend to dance.  All the while, you have the blood of our ancestors on your hands.  The plastic “hoops” fly through the air, dripping red with the blood of a people vanquished by the overpowering horses and guns of white people.  Resources decimated, they were murdered and starved to death.  Yet, they clung to their beliefs, proud and strong and passed them on to us, their descendants.

Our spirituality lives on.  You cannot kill it, not even with your mockery and your attempts to prove that white privilege allows you to do whatever you choose, no matter who it hurts.

V, Burnette

Mission, SD

**Today’s guest post comes to us as a Letter to the Editor from Viola Burnette, a member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, Sicangu Oyate (Burnt Thigh Nation), which is situated in the State of South Dakota.  Viola is a retired Judge and attorney who graduated from the University of New Mexico Law School.  She was the first Attorney General for the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, and worked to improve the life of her people.  She has had a lifelong passion for writing and advocating for her tribe. She is the mother of four beautiful daughters and is grandmother and great grandmother.**

3 responses to “In Response to the Maple Mountain Drill Team…

  1. V, Burnette…most all Indians these days are 60 to 85% white, but are always blaming the white people when in fact its there own white ancestors that did them wrong. These girls worked hard practicing this dance and in no way meant to be disrespectful. and most these girls ancestors weren’t even in the USA when all the bad things happened to the Indians, so stop blaming all white people for your problems!
    Your just like the people that don’t want us to say Merry Christmas because it offends you!
    You need to stop dwelling in the past (cause you can’t change it) and look to the future!


  2. Gail Nicolaysen-Shurtleff

    My heart is saddened by this. What saddens me most that these children won’t see or read this post. I have no other words. My heart weeps.


  3. In response to Jim waters, those girls being from Spanish fork are most likely Mormon. Ask them how they view the Book of Mormon musical? How do they feel about South Park’s characterization of their religion? What about any of the YouTube videos that make fun of their temple ceremony or when garments are desecrated? It’s the same thing. Their dance was an insensitive, reductionist mockery of a people’s religious and ancestral history. A drill team routine dresses in sexed up versions of a nun’s habit or a Muslim burka would never be allowed. So what you’re saying is that it’s ok to trivialize a Native American religion/dress/custom because their religion doesn’t count. That is white privilege–you don’t understand why it’s even offensive.

    Liked by 1 person

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