Marc Dadigan
Pictured, from left, are Pit River tribal members Tyler LaMirande, 7th grade; Mikaela Gali-LaMirande, 10th grade; Talissa Gali, 5th grade; and Alexis Elmore, 7th grade, have reported systemic bullying targeting them and other Indian students at Burney Junior-Senior High School and Burney Elementary in Northern California.

Racial Bullying Persists in Northern California

Alysa Landry
4/17/14

Racial bullying continues to occur at a Northern California high school, even after several students from the Pit River Tribe took a stand against peers who have systematically taunted and belittled them.

Verbal attacks are escalating, said 12-year-old Alexis Elmore, a seventh-grader at Burney Junior-Senior High School.

“They tell me I’m disgusting because I’m Indian,” Alexis said. “They call us wagon burners, dirty Indians and savages.”

Two Pit River students already transferred to other schools after they found notes reading “Watch Your Red-skinned Back” and “White Pride Bitch” on their lockers last month. The notes came as Native students held elections for their Native Youth Council. Campaign materials like posters and stickers were defaced.

Alexis, who ran for treasurer, campaigned with pictures of herself dancing at a powwow.

“Girls came up to me and told me it was witchcraft, and it was wrong,” she said, adding that the bullying began last fall and now has expanded to social media.

Alexis and several other students came forward last month to talk about the constant bullying and an apparent lack of response from school and district authorities. Greg Hawkins, superintendent of the Fall River Unified School District, did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Parents reported the notes to the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office. The case was sent to the major crimes unit, where deputies continue to investigate whether a hate crime has occurred, deputy Seth Edwards said.

The school, which houses grades seven through 12, has a Native student population that is higher than average for the county and state. According to data from the California Department of Education, 27 Native students attended Burney Junior-Senior High School last year, or about 12 percent of the total student population.

There are almost 1,400 Native students in Shasta County or about 5 percent of the total, and about 40,500 Native students in the state, or roughly one-half of one percent of the total student population.

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bullbear's picture
bullbear
Submitted by bullbear on
When I look at the faces of these beautiful young children, how I wish I was there as their big brother. I see that there is a school board member, Mr. Ignacio Venegas, who is an enrolled member of the Pit River Tribe and has children in the schools. I suggest that ICTMN contact Mr. Venegas to learn what is being done to address this bullying. Is he and other board members fully informed of the Dept. of Education and Justice's guidelines on legal obligations to stop racial discrimination through discipline policies? It would not be unusual to find that an expelled student already has a record that shows prior problems. From what I have read, the local newspaper, Mountain Echo's editor, Walt Caldwell, is essentially telling the public through his column, it is okay to verbally abuse the Native American students because there are a few idiots in school and that they just need to toughen up. Apparently, Mr. Editor does not understand that the school is a federally-funded institution and perhaps because there is no zero-tolerance policy in place, it is acceptable to be singled out and ridiculed based on race. The prejudices that exist in the world today will always exist, but our society's obligation is ensure that every child in school can feel safe and obtain an education without any biases or threats.

Joni Whiting
Joni Whiting
Submitted by Joni Whiting on
What kind of community condones this behavior? and How dare anyone do this to any child without consequences. When the parents reported these things to the sheriff it should have been dealt with then. This reminds me of the behavior of my teachers back in the 60's when they were the sources of the name calling of different races. and when I repeated them at home, i got my mouth washed out with soap.(i was six) My mother bless her raised a holy hell that the school never forgot, threatening to wash the floors of the school with that racist b*tc*hes a@@. her words not mine, and bless her, she meant it and they knew it. I then raised my own that way, and refused to allow racist behavior to anyone who dared make fun of or insult another race in front of or near my children. Though you must fight this injustice in a LOUD and demanding way. So there is no mistake to the consequences of what will happen if they continue to allow this behavior. No wonder your children hate white people if this drivel is what they are forced to hear. Just because someone said that it is the way it has always been, is no excuse to continue it, and if they object to that, well maybe they need to move and give your people your land back. I would peacefully surround that school with supporters and signs in full regalia demanding that this stops NOW. Those children in the picture and beautiful and should never have to endure the bigots who's children utter their own shameful words. Racism is a learned behavior. and we need to squash it every time it's spoken in our presence. Not all white people are bad. I am sorry that this happened to your children.

Two Bears Growling's picture
Two Bears Growling
Submitted by Two Bears Growling on
Young ones of the People, I applaud you for standing up for your rights as native people. NEVER let anyone talk down to you, belittle you or try to harm you any sort of way. ......................................................................................................................... Known that the native community at large is behind you as you assert your rights. NEVER cower down to these racist, redneck bigots. Stand tall & stand proud of who you are, your people & your culture. ......................................................................................................................... Our peoples have had to fight for over 1000 years since these Invaders first came to the shores of our continent. We have had it even harder over the past 400 years once the other Europeans invaded our lands. ......................................................................................................................... I think your area would be a good place for Idle No More to stage a protest at. How about it my friends out here? ......................................................................................................................... Indian people have had it even more difficult than people of African decent. Our peoples have been hunted down like animals, raped, murdered, pillaged, deceived & swindled by these evil ones. ......................................................................................................................... Just this week I had to deal with racism & bigotry. A individual told me they would not take me to some appointments unless I stopped wearing my native things I wear all the time. They told me it was embarrassing to them to be seen with me when I wear my native things. I told them no thank you, because I refuse to deny my heritage for anything or anyone. What made this even worse is that this same person is also of native heritage! I was very angry at them for even asking me to stop wearing the things I wear all over the place. ......................................................................................................................... Still, I was told if I showed up to a certain medical facility in the things I wear all over the area that I might be refused service. I told this one person to let them try & I will sue them for racism & denial of services based on ones ethnicity & heritage! ......................................................................................................................... Folks, we have got to get active, get busy & let others who are so ignorant & foolish wanting to treat us native people like we are trash. I refuse to be mistreated by anyone or any business who treat our peoples shamefully. ......................................................................................................................... I don't know about the rest of you folks, but this elder STILL has loads of sass & spirit left! We don't have time to sit in a rocking chair after retirement. We have ALL got to assert our rights as First Nations people all across this continent & let it be known loud & clear that we refuse to be abused, mistreated & harassed by others who are not of our heritage. ......................................................................................................................... Take a stand & say, No More!. Take a stand that says our peoples are not going to put up with abuse of our people & of our rights as human beings. We have to use the very laws these evil ones made against them fighting them with the courts, our lawyers & those who support us & our stand against racism & ignorance. ......................................................................................................................... Are Y-O-U going to take a stand today? .........................................................................................................................
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