IN REPLY TO "TROUBLE ON THE REZ" (7/10)
Oh brother... [The] Gorge [casino] was the best solution for the Tribe...Worst decision ever to sideline it. It did not touch our land, removed gaming from the Reservation, which depletes Tribal Members income. Gaming is an addiction that is destroying the Reservation from within. Which is worse ruining the land itself or the people.
I heard about this article on Facebook—and yes, as many have complained, it does focus on our negatives, which is at the least disappointing but also expected. Most of the articles published about us are negative and point out our problems. It's really too bad that this author didn't take the time to write a more balanced article that also shows our positives—and there are a lot of them! First of all, we have survived 500-plus years of colonialism, "Old World" diseases, forced removal, having to fight many, many legal and political battles to keep and exercise all of our Treaty-reserved rights, rampant racism, and so on and so on. Most of what we are is inside us—we are strong, resilient, caring, proud Native Americans; we are survivors who still look to a positive future; we still live by our traditions and culture. Yeah, we have faults like everybody else, and we have economic poverty, but we are strong in our love of our People, our land, our natural world and make no mistake, we will be here for at least another 500 years, stronger than ever!
I was appalled and offended by last week's headline, and wondered how such disrespectful wording was able to go to print. Perhaps the catchiness of the word "Rez" surpassed the condescending nature of the word; perhaps making the headline was more important than being culturally aware and sensitive. Either way, the choice to include this slang made me uncomfortable and sad for the lack of respect our town has for Warm Springs. Though the Warm Springs Reservation is experiencing financial troubles, I believe that this article should have been more respectful throughout. As it is the first headline article about Warm Springs in a long time, highlighting both positive and negative aspects of the community, as well as ways that Bend residents can help support small business in the area, would have contributed to a more kind and respectful article, and would have afforded Warm Springs residents the dignity that they deserve.
Great article, Erin. The Source should do more of this type of coverage.
—Michael (non-native in Madras)
Thanks should go to the Source for the timely and well-written article on conditions at the Warm Springs Reservation. The tribes are important members of the Central Oregon community, but they get little coverage in our local media. More understanding and mutual support is needed for all of our local communities. There is more to Central Oregon than Bend, Bend, Bend.
IN REPLY TO "UNDERAGE AND UNDERGOUND" (7/3)
Thanks for a very informative piece by Erin Rook on child sex trafficking in central Oregon. As the article mentioned, the most vulnerable youth are the ones trying to survive on the edge of society—the runaways, homeless youth, some of those living in foster care and transgender teens.
Documentation from Bend-La Pine and Redmond School districts post homeless student stats at close to 450 kids per district. I couldn't help but think of Beulah's Place while I was reading. This 501c3 based out of Redmond is providing practical help, healing opportunities and hope to some of our kids who are on the streets.
Groundwork in 2009 and in 2013 they rescued their first teens. Thirteen of our girls and boys have been helped this year alone. Beulah's Place provides food, clothing, medical, educational and counseling assistance, work skills and employment acquisition and mentoring on a case-by-case basis. You may not have heard of them yet, but they will become a major positive influence for at-risk youth in central Oregon.
Connect W, a local women's business networking group, is proud to have Beulah's Place as the beneficiary of our Winter Gala. Each year we look to partner with a non-profit that we know is doing important work in our community and use our holiday party to help them raise much needed funds. Keep your eyes and ears open for this event in early December. In the meantime, Google or Facebook Beulah's Place to find out how you can support their efforts.
—Diane Kulpinski, President of Connect W
IN REPLY TO "ROGUE WAVE" (7/10)
The following two paragraphs are intended to be satirical:
During the years of Bend Park and Recreation District's memorable push to qualify its $29 million bond measure for the November 2012 election, we watched with admiration as local luminaries with surnames such as Bryant, Horton, Wallace, and Smith gave up their free time to take to the streets to gather the needed 6,000 signatures.
Remember the gallant effort to qualify Measure 9-94 for last May's election? The clipboard-bearing army in that campaign included local glitterati from arts, culture, and tourism. They stepped out daily in all kinds of weather (though always impeccably dressed), pounding the sidewalks seeking the 9,000 signatures needed to get their tax levy on the ballot.
Alas, as we know, recourse to government is readily available for the powerful and wealthy, the ones who can pay to elect government officials to do their bidding. A stroke of the pen on the government dais and—presto!—you can have your bond measure or tax levy on the ballot.
As for the rest of us, those who feel equally passionate about, say, giving the community a chance to vote on Mirror Pond, it is our lot in political life to be ignored by government bodies that don't wish to hear from us on such matters. For us, it is not an automatic flick of a pen to get our issue on the ballot; it is rather a task of overcoming hurdle after hurdle through the petition process: Suffocating paperwork; challenges (delaying tactics) from high-powered law firms; meeting ever more stringent requirements for valid signatures. (Thank you, Bill Sizemore.)
The one great consolation for me is that meeting the public and asking for signatures is really a joyous experience. Timid by nature, it does me good—gets me out of the house. Hundreds of citizens have, so far, signed the Mirror Pond petitions, some even taking petitions for their families and friends to sign.
I have met Republican fly fishermen who are ecstatic at the possibility of a healthy, free-flowing urban river and who blanch at the prospect of the $22.8 million (at least) price tag to restore the dam and pond. I meet Democrats who cherish the sentimental and historical value of the pond. It's really a mix of feeling: The Millennials, by and large, detest the dam; the Greatest Generation considers the pond a landmark. Environmentalists (that is, those without members of the local power elite sitting on their boards) laugh at the retrograde quaintness of keeping up an unnecessary dam that damages a beloved river.
That's why we need a vote. The Bulletin has twice called for a vote. It is akin to the evil portrayed in the film Jean de Florette to require a small group of activists to do the heavy lifting of democracy, when a stroke of the pen from the dais would do the trick.
City Council: You have until Aug. 6 to refer a Mirror Pond Yes or No ballot measure for the Nov. 4 election. Park District: You have until Sept. 4. I think you would garner widespread good will and gratitude. Lacking this, those who want an election in May can go to freetheriver.org, print, sign, and mail the two initiative petitions.
It is not the dam that should be repaired, but our local democracy.
Letter of the Week
Foster - Thank you for your suggestion. Right on! Let's bring this to a vote! We understand that democracy can be demanding work. How about stopping by to pick up a $5 gift certificate to rejuvenate at the wonderful coffeeshop, Palate!