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Letter: Action represents acceptance of First Americans

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To the Editor:

Thank you for the wonderful article and announcement on the front page-- the rightful place to honor a grand, history-making decision. As a member of an American Indian family living in Red Wing, Minnesota, I would like to thank the City Council for this relevant and insightful change. My children are enrolled Sokaogon Chippewa Community (Ojibwe), and my husband an enrolled member of the Ho-Chunk Nation; mine — Lakota, Otoe and Choctaw ancestry. We both work in hospital administration and health care. We chose to move to Red Wing because of the expansive native culture, close tribal relations, and our children's exposure to culture, art, and innovation in addition to Midwest family values. A close-knit, diverse community was our hope.

We recently held federal jobs in Washington, D.C., after leaving our home in Wisconsin. There were constant reminders of cruel jokes and racist comments around the national football team. The name is one that would never be tolerated by any other race.

Common in Red Wing, the warrior community of Viking ancestry might take umbrage to the myth that Christopher Columbus discovered America; however, this is our country’s black-eye in Native American history. Our grandmothers were sexually assaulted, men reduced to animal status, unable to obtain jobs off a reservation or trust land. I cannot imagine my own children abused in boarding school, then murdered and placed in nameless graves not so long ago. Europeans brought scalping to our country as a war strategy and taught the Indian. Government representatives paid $15 for an adult Indian scalp, and for children, $5. The battle cry was "remove the nits to kill the lice."

In this day and age of enlightment, it is heart-warming to see this decision in our community and city. It represents an acceptance and celebration of our First Americans. I'm proud to not only teach my children the myths of historical textbooks, but now celebrate this as a rich day steeped in historical value along with our brothers and sisters of Prairie Island and the residents of Red Wing.

I'm so proud to live here!

Kathryne LeMieux

Red Wing

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