Saturday, June 28, 2014

Court update

Earlier this week, we had yet another court hearing on Lil Sis's case. As usual, nothing has really happened, but it was certainly interesting.

Her mother was released from prison 3 months ago. According to the CW, Gma called him a couple times in the last week or so. When told that they wouldn't discuss the case with her, she finally made the mother call. 

It appears that the mother is living with Gma again & Gma is pushing her to get her daughter back so she (Gma) can have her. It's like a repeat of 5 years ago. This is the same pattern of behavior that occurred in her sister's case. 

Perhaps that is why I was a lil more forceful in talking to the judge. Instead of objectively answering his questions, I sorta too over the hearing. I informed the court of all the things I thought they should know that DHS had not been telling them. 

Up until this point, everyone else involved (child's attorney, ADA & Judge) had been operating as if this child was only in care because her mother had been incarcerated at the time Gma's house became unsafe. Since the judge gave me more latitude this time around, I took the opportunity to inform them about the fact that this mother abandoned her when she was one, long before her incarceration & I made it clear that the struggles that Lil Sis is having right now are directly linked to the mishandling of her case throughout her life & that they cannot be addressed properly until she has permanency.

At that point the CW tried to blame the ADA for tpr (termination of parental rights) not being filed yet. So the ADA yells at CW for not making the necessary request  for the filing of tpr. 

In the end, next hearing is set out for 60 days to give ADA time to file & serve tpr petition. Oh yeah...and mother is back in jail for violations of the terms I her release. 

The foster care system is never boring...
Or logical. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A Step In the Right Direction...

It was 9:29 this morning, when I saw my phone light up. The message I received contained only a link. I was in disbelief when I read the headline: In Landmark Decision, U.S. Patent Office Cancels Trademark For Redskins Football Team

After so many years of advocating against racist mascots, I hate to admit it, but I was not very optimistic that the Trademark Board would reach this decision. After all, they seemed to do backflips to dismiss the earlier suit without a trial on the merits.

It wasn't until other reports started appearing (the New York Times, Sports Illustrated, and others) that I started to really comprehend what had happened. This isn't the end of the fight, by any means. It doesn't signal the absolute immediacy of a cultural paradigm shift. However, it's a start.

Cancelling the federal trademark protection is a start to providing a monetary incentive towards changing the name. Hopefully the acknowledgment that the mascot is, indeed, disparaging will spur those teams that have been on the fence about changing to go ahead and do the right thing.

I'd like to thank Susan Harjo & Amanda Blackhorse for the work that they've done on this issue, as well as so many thousands of others who stand up against stereotypical & racist mascots. This includes, naturally, the members and supporters of EONM, which formed following the success of #NotYourMascot.

It was EONM who requested that I respond to a request for an on-camera interview with Fox News. It was such short notice & I felt completely unprepared, but I wanted to lend my voice to the issue. Hope I didn't embarrass any of you. lol

I'm technologically challenged, so I couldn't get the video to embed properly. I've quoted the print article below, but to see the video coverage, click HERE.

OKLAHOMA CITY - People across the country are joining a decades-old debate in Oklahoma: are Native American mascots okay?Wednesday, the U.S. Patent Office canceled six Washington Redskins trademarks because they "were disparaging to Native Americans when they were register."
Groups have been working in Oklahoma to get rid of Native mascots for years.  Still, many Oklahomans do not agree they need to go.

"I don't think they mean it now as being derogatory. I think that's just the name," Sam told FOX 25.

Brent Sanner posted on the
FOX 25 Facebook page, "I, as a person of Indian heritage do NOT take offense of namesakes and I've watched for several years and have never seen the Washington Redskins belittle in any way the American Indian culture."

Still, others say names like "Redskins" have to go.

"I believe with changing times, we have to adjust with social conventions, so if a change needs to be made we need to make these changes," Oklahoman Jose Escapa said.

Oklahoma group Eradicating Offensive Native Mascotry is celebrating the Patent Office's decision.

"We also found the arguments put forward by the Washington, DC NFL franchise in the trademark case disingenuous. The term Redsk*ns may seem to refer to people in the DC area only to football but this speaks to the elimination of Native voices in the community through the historical fact of genocide. It has only been through the advent of social media and the work of the 900+ Native members and their allies of EONM that many of the team’s fans have ever even spoken to a Native person about how they feel about the name. Citing our elimination from the American consciousness because of genocide is not an acceptable argument to continued use of a slur.," the group said in a statement.

"I think a lot of people don't understand the historical basis for the name in the first place," Summer Wesley said.

Wesley is a tribal attorney who also works with EONM.  She has spent about 15-years fighting for the cause.

Wesley says Native mascots, even those that aren't [intended to be] derogatory are damaging because they perpetuate stereotypes and racism and portray on a caricature of Indian peoples.

"I've found that very few people understand the psychological and sociological impact that stereotypical representations in sports and media have on society on a whole, especially developing children," Wesley said.

 This is a step in the right direction...but there is still so much to do. Many things need to change in Indian Country & being seen as humans is an important first step to achieving those goals.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Employed again

Previously, I mentioned having to find a new job. Initially, at the request of my former boss, I declined to say what happened. However, since he is now publicly posting about it online, I see no reason to keep it quiet (I'm not even sure why he asked me to keep it a secret in the first place).

The owner of the firm decided to relocate to another state. This wouldn't have been so bad but for the fact that the employees were misled so that we would be on staff to cover the work and take care of the business while he took weeks of vacations & secretly planned his transition towards the move. Initially, we were told that they were purchasing another vacation home. Then, when he applied to be admitted to the Bar in that state, we were told that it was just to hopefully start picking up a few cases down there to ultimately lead to a two branch firm. Then, once he had everything lined up, we were told he was going to move...but that it would be a slow transition. Then, a few days after that revelation, he informed me that he was moving completely & I only had 6 weeks of employment left.

The problem with that is most companies don't even complete their hiring process in that amount of time. It also irritated me to finally find out that he had been planning this for quite some time before even starting the process of buying his new home. Relocating was the plan from the beginning, but he wanted us to work for him until the end. Needless to say, I feel rather used by this. I was stuck in his office, doing his job, while he took multiple vacations in the last few months, working for far less than my work was worth, because there was a promise of better things in the future. In fact, a few months prior, I had declined to apply for an excellent position with one of the tribes. Given my experience & references, I think I would have had a good chance of getting the job, but I didn't apply because I felt like I should be loyal to the plans we had been making for the firm. I won't make that mistake again.

I was able to find another job, which I started on Monday. So, I was only out of work for a week. It's not a bad job, but it's not my passion, so I'm looking at it as a temporary arrangement. I've still got some application in for some legal jobs, but those listings don't even close for a while, so they won't even start reviewing applications for weeks. I'm grateful to have a job, but it sorta feels like I'm back in the same place I was 4 years ago (which is why I went to law school), only now I have less support & more responsibilities. Trying to stay positive though.