I want to introduce myself. My name is Dahkota Kicking Bear Brown. I am 16, a junior in the neighboring town (Jackson), an enrolled member of a federallyrecognized California tribe and passionate about education

I am busy completing my junior year but would love the opportunity to answer any questions you may have if you are honestly interested in learning more on race-based mascots. Keep in mind my busy schedule in school with finals and AP testing.

I have shared nationally and educated many, including several of my teachers. I was not influenced by anyone other than my own personal experiences of being a rival of Calaveras exposed to the mascot and from talking to current students whom I work with in my own trademarked nonprofit.

At this time, I invite you to please learn more about me and hear my own words by visiting my web site nativenerds.org. If you click “more,” there is a tab entitled “banning race-based harmful images in schools and sports.” There are numerous videos of me speaking on this topic with historical facts as well as personal accounts. There is one video of me addressing the Amador County Unified School District about Calaveras specifically.

I have respect for your school, your students and your alumni but cannot condone the use of any race-based mascots, especially those that are a slur.

My school district’s administrators tell me that in early October they invited Calaveras Unified School District representatives to attend a meeting on the mascot issue. I assure you, many Calaveras community members and school personnel knew of Assembly Bill 30 and the Assembly hearings over the past six months.

If there is proof showing children are suffering from being bullied and forced to withdraw from school activities because of race-based mascots, then isn’t this a civil rights matter? Aren’t all children entitled to an education free from intimidation and bullying? Are the schools not state funded? Then the state making the decision to not allow harm to students would be correct!

On May 4, I sat at a roundtable with nine people in New York City to discuss education and how urban natives are struggling and why we are faced with so many obstacles. At that table was President Obama and I was there as his guest. I do not care which your political party is and I am only 16, therefore unable to vote, but when the president of the United States asks your opinion and how can this country make positive changes to help those struggling the most, you show up and you speak up. I am very proud of myself and my stand on this topic.

I maintain a 4.17 grade point average, run a nonprofit helping students to stay in school and graduate and I volunteer in my community weekly. I will not sit by and allow my friends and family to fail when I can do something to help.

I work very hard, daily, to obtain an education so I can go to school and continue to create positive change. I have earned numerous scholarships. I recently returned from Washington, D.C., as one of two California representatives selected by California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson to attend the United States Senate Youth Program and I will be attending California Boys State in June, where I hope to be selected to attend Boys Nation.

I am respectful in addressing the public and will not resort to name calling, using obscenities or lying. I do not believe I deserve the verbal, hostile abuse circulating on social media or in a community that I call home; I have done nothing wrong nor am I causing harm to others.

Many are misinformed on the support of natives for the mascot. Nobody can grant permission to use a racial slur or the use of any native mascot. Others suggest using a different name such as warriors, but regardless of the name, use of any native character allows misappropriation of our religious regalia and gives others the right to mock our culture and traditions.

I can assure you, I have in my possession copies of every letter submitted in support of banning the mascot and passing AB30 from the surrounding Calaveras federally recognized tribes. These letters also include the only Calaveras federally recognized tribe, The California Valley Miwoks (aka Sheep Ranch).

These are available by asking Assembly member Alejo’s staff for a copy of the file.

These tribes are, in order of distance from the school, the California Valley Miwok, Jackson Band of Miwuk, Buena Vista Rancheria Me-Wuk Indians, Wilton Rancheria and Round Valley Indian Tribes. I also have over 200 individual signatures from local native and non-natives supporting the change as well as verbal support from members of the Tuolumne Band and Ione Band.

Please let me know if you have questions after viewing my videos.

Blessings,

Dahkota Kicking Bear Brown

Brown is founder/president of Native Education Raising Dedicated Students. Contact him at dahkota.brown@gmail.com.

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