⦁ Thank you, NAGA, I’ve enjoyed going through your Facebook page. It is inspiring to have your support to maintain our Tewksbury Redmen name & logo. The Redmen name, for me, has many meanings. We are Tewksbury, we are the Redmen. What does it mean to be a Tewksbury Redmen? To be a Tewksbury Redmen, as a resident, local sports fan, teacher student, athlete or coach you never quit. You stare adversity in the face & never back down, you drive forward toward success. Redmen have pride, passion, honor, commitment & tradition. As Redmen we support each other. We will never forget our Wamesit Indian history or our history as the town of Tewksbury. I am a first generation Redmen class of 89. My two children are being raised as Tewksbury Redmen. I have always tried to educate my kids & make sure they understood how special Tewksbury is. It is tragic that we need to fight for our namesake; however, this challenge has reinforced & strengthened the Redmen community’s faith in the Redmen name. With the help of Heidi Tomasi Desisto our community has done a great thing for the Tewksbury Food Pantry. We will continue to stand proud wearing our REDMEN HERE TO STAY shirts as often as possible! I am proud of my fellow REDMEN. Thank you, Native American Guardian’s Association, for your help in educating our community and stood with our community members in preserving our Redmen name and logo.
Chris Pinardi & Bob Payne
Gill Montague Regional School district, Montague Ma 01351
Forest Hills Anderson High School Redskins
⦁ For the fifth time in the last 30 years, our High School Team name, “The Anderson Redskins” came under attack by a few Native American Activists, including Guy Jones, who has been involved in all previous attacks. With the exception of one individual who is a Native American who lives in our area, and who is actively involved with the NCAI and employed by them, no other Native American living in this area spoke out against our Redskins name.
We couldn’t have won our “battle” this time without the advice and support of the individuals at NAGA, specifically Tony Henson and Eunice Davidson. They gave us what we lacked – insight into the true thoughts and feelings of “rank and file” Native Americans, not activists, who live throughout the United States. Their involvement with us on our very active Facebook page, and even Tony and Eunice taking the time to travel to our community – bolstered our belief that our fight was a good and honorable one.
Thanks to NAGA and to very engaged members of our community, we remain “The Anderson Redskins”.
Forest River Hills, Cincinnati Ohio
⦁ Why is N.A.G.A. important? As a member of N.A.G.A. (Native American Guardian’s Association) I can tell you that the many schools and communities that we have worked with and represented have benefited greatly from our presence. I personally have represented and worked with dozens of schools nationwide that were under attack from outside radical groups who were dead-set on seeing these peaceful communities become havens of division and anger. When you have these outside groups come into a small town and wreak havoc upon innocent people, there has to be someone that can stand for those who may not be able to stand for themselves. Many people in these towns are in positions that they stand to lose their jobs or worse if they publicly speak against the eradication and elimination of positive Native American imagery in schools and the such. I remember working with the town of McLoud, Oklahoma where I helped the town keep their name, the Redskins. Many people I met with were so overwhelmed by the possible loss of their name and identity to outside groups of people who didn’t live in McLoud or were even from there. I was able to gain their confidence by coming to them with resources, support and the ability to take the hits where they could not. We fight for those who stand to lose the most. By doing so I was able to prevent many individuals from losing their jobs or being singled out for attacks. I watched as people cried and thanked me and our organization for being there for them and for being able to fight back. It’s easy to look at a situation and make a decision without ever really considering that there is another side to the story, as many in the press tend to do. It's difficult to fight back sometimes, but we believe in what we stand for and will continue to stand behind these communities. We cannot allow the mob rule mentality to become the standard of today. Since sealing a win for this particular town, I have received countless thank you’s and pourings of gratitude for being there in a very tense situation.
We need organizations Like N.A.G.A. We need pushback against over the top, outlandish and downright despicable actions. This is where we find our strength and we show it proudly. I stand with N.A.G.A. and will continue to stand for communities who are unfairly attacked simply for voicing support for positive Native imagery.
Education not eradication.
N.A.G.A. Education Specialist and former co-host of The Beating Drum podcast show
Neshaminy High School Redskins
⦁ As the mother and supporter of a Neshaminy High School REDSKINS student, I can say with emphasis that our peaceful community was devastated when the “Not Your Mascot” hate group sponsored a student who then made racial grievance claims against our long-held honorable Native American teaching and celebratory traditions.
We requested the assistance of the Native American Guardian’s Association and they went to work immediately in conducting outreach to our local community and servicing media outlets as to our region’s historic and important Lenape Redskin Warrior traditions. This fact rich output bolstered our community and gave us hope and a rejuvenated pride in having the honor of being a native themed school; so NAGA also gave us the support to fight back on behalf of our honorable native traditions and teachings.
Moreover, NAGA complied our multi-grade-level Native American education curriculum and paired it with our region’s Redskin history report which was used in tandem with
an official investigation into the charge of the school being “racist”.
Armed with NAGAs report support, the school district did not capitulate but instead invested in an investigation. The school discovered that the claims made against the aggrieved student were actually contrived and marketed on social media by the “victim” himself, so the that case was dropped.
However, the state’s office of Civil Rights (is that the office?) has continued to pursue the school district to change several of their native themed schools. To this end, NAGA has fended off the state for years now and is sending representatives to assist our schools in January 2019 during a state hearing on the topic.
Neshaminy Redskins, PA
⦁ When I look back at this three years ago we are left without the Conrad Redskins, but we will ALWAYS be Conrad Redskins and never be the Red Wolves., Thank the Lord! We have made so many good friends across the United States! We must remember all that, Eunice Davidson, Andre Billeaudeaux and Brenda Piskun Christopher did for us and how hard they tried! NAGA will always be our friend and we need to support them.
NAGA gave us a new outlook at how the world is not filled with hate instead there are good people especially in Indian country that have an understanding that non-Indian communities only want to honor their people by using their names and images as strength, honor, and respect. Whomever is reading this testimony please support and help Native American Guardian’s Association to educate not eradicate as their motto simply states.
Theresa Giuliani Satterfield Administrator
Community of Conrad Alumni Redskins Forever!
Paw Paw Redskins High School
⦁ As the Paw Paw Redskins High School name and image and the community came under assault by outsiders, we became desperate as we stood alone till NAGA came to our aid with letters of support for our community. Immediately NAGA and its members came under attack by this outside group and school board members who were on the verge of jettisoning over 80 years of tradition and thumbing their nose at the citizens of Paw Paw. It wasn’t till Eunice Davidson and Andre Billeaudeaux spoke to the School Board personally countering the accusation Eunice was not Native American and Andre gave a historical presentation with facts that even the surrounding American Indians did not know that the tide turned, and the School Board voted to keep the Paw Paw Redskins in place. Without their personal appearance we in Paw Paw know it would have been changed. Our community still comes under attack today, with NAGA’s support we are grateful to have them still write letters to the ACLU, & Walmart who was told to pull our Redskin’s wearables off their store shelves, only to have NAGA send them letters in return supporting our community and Walmart putting them back on the shelves.
Kim Vargas Jones
NAPA Valley Indians
⦁ In 2015 outsiders came into our Napa High School wanting to eliminate our Napa High Indian Symbol referring to it as racist and insulting to Native American Indians. It was tabled by the NVUSD Board of Trustees at that time as they wanted to pass a bond knowing it would not set well with the community. The bond barely passed. Again in 2017 it was brought up to be eliminated altogether. The community came together and fought to save it and got over 4600 signatures from fellow alumni young and old. The Indian Symbol has been the pride of Napa High for at least 100 years. It wasn’t till Eunice Davidson and Andre Billeaudeaux from Naga came to help us, that the NVUSD Board of Trustees began to pay attention. Eunice wrote letters to the Napa Register and board members and superintendent of the school. Andre provided ongoing information to the schools, paper, and community. The knowledge and information presented was helpful and the support was welcomed. Despite all the information, letters and signatures received, the support and vote to save it was not the welcomed agenda the board had in mind. With all those votes to retain the Napa High Indian Symbol the Board took it upon themselves, to tell the community it was NO LONGER a democracy vote. They told the tax paying community it was their NVUSD Board of trustee’s decision to make. Six out of Seven of the Board of Trustees did not ever attend the school. They decided it was their vote that mattered, therefore ignoring the community and students who wanted to retain the Indian Symbol. The symbol was then retired on June 30, 2018. We are forever grateful to Naga and continue to remain involved.
Thank you, Jawana Hummingbird-Kitchens Cherokee/Shawnee Class of 1965
Napa High School Napa California.