Standing Rock: One of Many Branches in the Tree of Humanity


I stand with the Standing Rock—the oppression against Native Americans is long enough and sick. I decided to join the march and rally for Standing Rock today. Water is life for all of us—some of you do not realize how much sacred water is to us. Growing up in a small town in Washington State—the name of town: ‘Yacolt’ which means haunted place or place of evil spirits also known “the valley of lost children.”

Yacolt, a town in the northeastern part of Washington State, a Native American storyteller once said, “Many years ago a small tribe of Indians went huckleberrying on the prairie and some of their children were mysteriously lost. Since they could not find the children they concluded that they had been stolen by evil spirits. Thereupon they called the prairie Yacolt, meaning ‘haunted place’.” (In Names MSS. Letter 138.) I had lived there for 20 years—on 400 acres—as a kid, I learned how to build a tepee by myself.

I’ve learned how to embrace and appreciate Native American stories encouraged by my grandmother. What disgusted me the most that the schools I attended had tribal-themed mascots promoting discrimination, harassment of students and stereotyping of Native Americans: Fircrest Elementary School (Falcons), Wy’East Middle School (Warriors), and Hudson’s Bay High School (Eagles).


My grandmother was born in Oregon to her Cherokee mother. I was proud to call Great Pacific Northwest my home—surrounded by Native American spirits there. Mount St. Helens was only 30 minutes back road drive from my home. Yes, the same famous Mount St. Helens erupted in 1980 killing 57 people including one person named Harry S. Truman (not the president) whom my grandfather knew him, I was six years old that time and I do remember that time seeing my family getting everything ready to make sure we were safe for couple of days.


The ashes are still fresh in my mind today. It was one of all-time classic stories in my life. One day, my grandmother gave me an old book to read in early 1980  and I saw a picture of Mount St. Helens eruption told by Native American stories right before May 1980 eruption (Something like 500 years ago). That picture I had to google was the exactly I saw and I was very surprised to see this picture after all those years. After that, Native American spirit has been flourished into my blood more often. My senior capstone where I decided to sign up to learn about Environmental Education through Native American Lenses—a HUGE CHANGE in my life. The course was all about:

What are Native American perspectives and how can they affect/inform environmental education? How does environment shape our lives and our relationships? How does your own heritage impact who you are today?


After seeing severe oppression towards Native Americans at Standing Rock, the evil spirits had came back risen by white privileges, I stand with them and will not let them haunt our spirits again. Reflecting on the social identity of Native American people one sees that Native Americans belong to a category whose attributes are part of our larger, popular culture. As a result of the treatment of Native American people in literature and in the media, an extrapolative leap and try to imagine what your world would like if you were a Native American.

Most white people, if they were lead to think about Native Americans, soon make this extrapolative leap, for they have little else to guide them: they have not read about Native American language and culture, and extrapolation must stand in for real knowledge. If it happens that you know someone who is a Native American, another way of apprehending their culture is open and the Native American are trying to send a message that their culture is open. It takes on the characteristics of that particular Native American person, as in:

“It is the story of all life that is holy and is good to tell, and of us two-leggeds sharing in it with the four-leggeds and the winds of the air and all green things; for these are children of one another and their father is one Spirit.”–John Neihardt, author of Black Elk Speaks whom I learned in my Native American Literature course.

The mainstream of western society has attempted for many years to convert the Native Americans into the White-Indian, at the cost of losing cultural traditions, religion, and language of the Native American people. Starvation, incarceration, and enforced “white” education have all been used to turn these Native Americans into cookie-cutter second class citizens. Land and land resources for subsistence also continue to be overlooked and taken without compensation.


Today with the march and rally was very inspiring! It was worth my time–the speakers were awesome. Not only that but the ASL interpreter was there with a big heart interpreted what the Standing Rock was really about. There were some important people there–few of them are famous celebrities.

I felt great–I did my civil duty today! You should do the same thing, too! I stand in solidarity with the Standing Rock and all the water protectors! Hate crimes against Native Americans—enough! Remember 1851 Dakota Land Cession Treaty—enough of ignorance! Remove all the Native American mascots in schools and sports. #NoDAPL



Copyright © 2016 Jason Tozier

This text may be freely copied in its entirely only, including this copyright message.

Deaf Community: The Gravity of Racism in Sports


Leading my community service through the heart of Washington, D.C; I refuse to slow my stride when I posed a question for the panelists at an all day conference called Racist Stereotypes and Cultural Appropriation in American Sports held at National Museum of the American Indian back in February 2013, a week before my first heart attack, I was honored to meet Ben Nighthorse Campbell, a former United States Senator from Colorado. The museum offered the cream of the crop American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters and I am forever thankful for their support. and you can find me at time: 1:17:52. And another one: and find me at 1:49:36 through 1:51:10. It has subtitles.

It was one of my best experiences I ever attended. The conference was intense, emotional, and educational trying to minimize Racism in sports. I was very happy that Chicago Cubs, my preferable team to win the World Series, beat Cleveland Indians. The logo by Cleveland Indians, the chief racist about Chief Wahoo was to me, the most offensive logo in all of sports—actually, the same company as Atlanta Braves, Washington Redskins, and other racist mascots. With a big grin on his face, red skin, and a feather coming out of his “stinky” hair, that is why it is called Chief Wahoo—the fans in Cleveland are clearly ignorant and uneducated what racism is really about.

After Chicago Cubs whipped Cleveland Indians—where Native Americans learn to embrace Cubs in their backyard as a symbol—a natural animal in the making. It was a curse, all right! 68 years and counting—I actually smiled BIG TIME that they did not win World Series. They do not deserve it at all because from the conference, I met and seen people telling their struggles and being belittled because they are Native Americans. It was grossly offensive to see the logo in 2016 World Series; it needs to be removed from the sport world. The curse remains on Cleveland Indians forever—I do not have any sympathy for those fans that cried that they lost.

I remember seeing the video where they ask the fans in Cleveland to see the logo, all I see a lot of stupidity and ignorance—a form of white supremacy and of course, it is also language hegemony and belittlement. How do I understand the emotions? Well, on my father’s mother’s side, my great grandmother was a full-bloodied Cherokee and I celebrate for her heritage. Now you all see the tragic what’s going on at Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota and that was bullshit what the white privileges are doing to Native Americans there. If you do not know what Standing Rock Indian Reservation is all about, well, the government is trying to install pipeline on sacred land where Native Americans were buried—a high genocidal action. I visited North Dakota once and boy, did the spirits blow me away. Water is sacred there!

It is very important to know that the Deaf community need to heed the knowledge that there was a treaty that people do not often talk about, the 1851 Dakota Land Cession Treaty where the land belongs to Native Americans and I’m sickened to see how much militarized police ROUGH UP Native Americans—on their own land! Times were hard and tough; their lives were chaotic—each hour it becomes stressful and they do not need that at all. They were here way before white privileges showed up and see how it happened today. How can Deaf community not see it? Outside, many Native people from where, for example, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oregon, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Iowa, somewhere leaning against a chain link fence and keeping them out of their own land. Is it without demanding allegiance?


The definition of allegiance: loyalty to a person, country, group, etc. [Merriam-Webster Dictionary]It can be tricky. That is why I do not believe in pledge of allegiance. It is a fraud. I can remember in grade school, I was required to do pledge of allegiance in sign language forcing by my own interpreter in a fucking hearing  classroom and that makes me feel like lousy.

It makes me even sick what Deaf people are wearing jerseys of Cleveland Indians, Washington Redskins, all the offensive logos—an ASL teacher for a community college wearing Redskins jersey making ASL videos mocking Native Americans while wearing a jersey in a white privilege is really a mistake and will continue to make the mistake now. Support #NoDAPL



Copyright © 2016 Jason Tozier

This text may be freely copied in its entirely only, including this copyright message.