On Monday, July 25, the Human Rights Commission of the city of Norman, Oklahoma, is scheduled to meet and discuss the future of the annual 89er Day Parade and related events that celebrate the Oklahoma Land Runs and Caucasian resettlements that decimated the indigenous communities already on the land. We support our Native American friends and neighbors, other progressive allies, and the many across the state who are working to educate the public and dramatically alter the nature of these events. We sent the following letter to the commissioners.
July 25, 2016
The Center for Conscience in Action was formed in 2004 to support the actions of conscientious objectors to the Iraq War. It has evolved over the years, expanding its mission to encompass support for and affiliation with many groups and causes, seeking to reduce violence of all kinds and promote a conscience-directed approach to solve the injustices and problems that lead to violence.
Our staff and board are based in Central Oklahoma, but our work involves local, state, national and global issues.
We share the concerns of many Norman residents, Oklahomans and Native Americans about the 89er Day and similar Land Run reenactments/celebrations. The Land Runs constitute a violent legacy, and celebrations of that inflict a very immediate psychological trauma on Native peoples to the present day, albeit unwittingly by organizers. Celebration of the genocide of a whole race of people is fundamentally wrong and cannot be prettified with superficial “improvements.” People of good will can no longer plead ignorance of this legacy; it is incumbent upon them to discontinue practices that are wrong and hurtful. In your position as members of the Human Rights Commission of the City of Norman, you are called upon to change, to lead and to educate your community on this matter.
We respectfully ask that the Human Rights Commission do all it can to listen to and involve Native people who live in Norman and across Oklahoma in the process of renaming and redesigning a day to remember the true history of the land now known as Norman, Oklahoma.
Program Director, Center for Conscience in Action