Michael Rausch
A 13-year-old Menominee student in Wisconsin cried as her school principal removed sacred tobacco from her medicine pouch, family says.

Principal Removes Tobacco From Student's Sacred Medicine Pouch, Family Says

Simon Moya-Smith
11/6/15

A 13-year-old Native American student was pulled from the lunch line at her school in Wisconsin and sent to the guidance counselor over a traditional Menominee medicine pouch, family says.

On October 21, Rosella “Rose” Kaquatosh was wearing the pouch outside of her clothing when a kitchen employee at Gresham School in Gresham, Wisconsin, allegedly demanded Kaquatosh take it off.

Rosella "Rose" Kaquatosh wears her sacred Menominee medicine pouch. Photo courtesy Karen Gardner.

“She saw her pouch [and] she started hollering at her, saying ‘take it off!’” Karen Gardner, Kaquatosh’s grandmother, told ICTMN. “[Kaquatosh] felt bullied. She told her it was ceremonial tobacco. [She] explained that she needed it to pray. She prays about four times a day. She respects the sacredness of the pouch.”

Kaquatosh told school officials the tobacco within the pouch was sacred, and not for chewing or smoking.

Principal Keary Mattson allegedly examined the pouch and removed some of the tobacco as Kaquatosh cried, Gardner said.

Kaquatosh has since been ordered to tuck the pouch in her shirt, Gardner said.

On Monday, family and Native Americans in the Gresham community attended a school board meeting to speak in support of Kaquatosh.

Gardner said several of the speakers in the audience told the school board that Kaquatosh has the right to wear a Menominee medicine pouch as much as a Christian student is permitted to don a cross.

Gardner said she asked the school board for an apology.

“They didn't say they would send any,” she said.

The school board is slated to issue a response within 21 days, Gardner added.

Principal Keary Mattson did not respond to ICTMN’s request for comment.

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SeanCeltiad's picture
SeanCeltiad
Submitted by SeanCeltiad on
Sounds like more of that good old time religion at work. That woman reacted to the pouch as if she was seeing the devil itself, probably looks down on Native Americans as pagans, either way she had no right to demand the young woman to remove it, the principal had no right to open and remove any tobacco from it, if she knew anything about what she was dealing with she should have left the pouch and anything it contained alone, those pouches aren't just ceremonial adornments, they are made in a sacred manner and the principal did just about the worst thing anyone could do by opening it at all, even worse by taking any tobacco out of it. Hopefully the young woman will not be affected by what was done and will make or be given another sacred pouch and defend her right to wear it how ever she wants to-it is no different than a person wearing a cross if they need a comparison, at least she's not wearing a pouch with a likeness of the Creator hanging dead on a cross inside it. Why is it those Christians never practice what Jesus preached?

BobK's picture
BobK
Submitted by BobK on
check out the mission statement of the school "The mission of Gresham Community School is to educate community members to be productive, self-confident, lifelong learners by integrating the talents and resources of our diverse cultures. ~ November 8, 1996" DIVERSE CULTURES?? I think not.

Kawaowene Garlow
Submitted by Kawaowene Garlow on
sge:no(greetings) it is that i have noticed that this nation is being bullied by the u.s.a. so yous can do this or not i am a spiritaul adviser for my people so up to yous... i see a woman`s sweat..two of them.. the first is to have four older women in respects to the four directions and one whom conducts and will represent earthmother or the female connection to her... at least for rounds as spirits say yous have a very old song that used to be from the women`s circle or society almost like a ?? song of some sorts only a few remember this song it has to be sung in the four rounds of the sweats as well as the 13 female sweat ..the second should be of 13 female from 13 seasons to whatever you feel is suitable..yous must use uweoyunkwe(indian tobacco) sage, bear root and what ever your hearts feels... now this sweat should go at least the thirteen rounds after will be up to your heart on how long after the 13 rounds...idk it is like spirits are asking for bear root to be burnt during sweat and a song for the bear!!! i have seen a bible burning but will leave up to yous (i would) but that is me even if done on the low....the four days pryor to the sweat is when the women will prepare in the cleansing and all should go do a song in water prefferable runing water but any water no higher than hip level in which yous will make your offerings... the feast afterwards spirit is saying must be the village or nation feast and social with a sacred fire....any thing yous take into the sweat must be left in for thirteen days.. so maybe the warriors should gaurd it... it is best to offer tobacco for any wood and grandmother an grandfathers used for the sweat..the old osng is like something to with the women hard to explain but i think the women know what i am talking about... if yous could use some animal skins for the sweat is a good thing as well. and it should help with the bulling of youth by the u.s.a... thats about it for now ... dane onen zen skeaunogowah tanon akwekon naruhkwa danatuh....

Kawaowene Garlow
Submitted by Kawaowene Garlow on
oh spirit is also saying for yous will use the gentleness of skennen(peace) since agoanha(women) have been carrying the ensence of skennen and the old song ties in with what spirits want to help and is imporant with thse sweats not to be wanting bad towards the school peoples even tho they are racist towards your youth and people...in any that may try and stop you from doing this then i would suggest asking surronding nations to assist to help gaurd agaisnt any intrusion.. since the officals hate our way of life they hate it cause they are afraid that they will lose their material things and a racial theory i will not decuss on here...so try a peaceful way first to help heal them... hukiwah.. so nyaweh for your time and consideration onenkiyahe....

Jaelin Rask
Jaelin Rask
Submitted by Jaelin Rask on
The Principle should be fired for discrimination against this young girls spiritual beliefs. The problem is that white Americans will turn a blind eye toward this and feel like it's not worth talking about. They will see it as not an issue. I hope that Native Americans in the US will expose this principle and keep this story in the news and let people understand that this is a serious issue.

Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Submitted by Michael Madrid on
I've been listening with some hilarity about the "war on Christmas." This is one of those fake "injustices" that Conservatives are constantly whipping themselves into a frenzy about, and I find it terminally ironic that these "Christians" are likely the ones behind this debacle! Christians faced serious opposition during the Roman empire when they were fed to the lions in the Colisseum. They are also facing serious opposition from ISIS who loves to behead people who don't see eye to eye with them. Other than that X-tians don't have much to complain about. Now, in contrast, Natives weren't even allowed to practice their religion until the 1970s! It's nice to know that a school administrator takes his cue from a kitchen worker in deciding how and when to illegally discriminate against a student.

Dave Huizenga
Dave Huizenga
Submitted by Dave Huizenga on
THE PRINCIPAL MIGHT WANT TO BE CAREFUL, I SAW SOMEONE SIMPLY TOUCH A SACRED BAG, TRYING TO TEST A YOUNG (STUDENT) & RESULTED IN A NEGATIVE PHYSICAL MANIFESTATION IN LESS THAN 24 HOURS. SACRED THINGS ARE NOT TO BE "TOYED WITH". MAYBE THE PRINCIPAL WILL RECEIVE A SIGN.... I WAS TAUGHT TRULY SACRED THINGS TAKE CARE OF THEMSELVES.... CONVERSELY, I WAS ALSO TAUGHT NOT TO REVEAL SACRED CEREMONIES PUBLICALLY , GOOD OR BAD.... IF THE GIRLS HEART IS PURE NO HARM WILL COME TO HER. I WOULD ASK FOLKS PLEASE DO NOT GIVE INSTRUCTIONS FOR BAD MEDICINE, NOT ONLY COULD YOU CAUSE SOMEONE ELSE TO EXPERIENCE BAD MEDICINE BUT I CAN COME BACK ON YOUR FAMILY IN MULTIPLES. KEEP YOUR MEDICINE GOOD, SAVE WAR MEDICINE FOR WAR & BRING NO HARM TO ANYONE WHO HAS NOT BROUGHT HARM TO YOU FIRST, THEN FORGIVE THEM IF ENLIGHTENMENT IS POSSIBLE. SEGO.

Iantnova's picture
Iantnova
Submitted by Iantnova on
Appalling story. The thing that I found the most upsetting is that they defiled her sacred property to see what was in it.

WhiteManWanting's picture
WhiteManWanting
Submitted by WhiteManWanting on
Ok, I get that the lunch lady and even the principal may not be overly familiar with Native American customs, symbols, etc. By itself, that should pose no problem - PROVIDED the principal simply bothered to go to the internet and do a simple search. Using just a few search terms from this article, the VERY FIRST site I pulled up provided the following: "Respecting our tobacco should be taken seriously. Sacred tobacco is used for prayers of gratitude to thank the Creator of Mother Earth for our many blessings, such as good health, great fishing, and good crops. When any plant is picked or any animal is taken, Tobacco and Prayer must be given to show respect." That should have provided Ms. Mattson (principal) plenty of clues that respect was due both to the young student, as well as the pouch and its contents. Shame on her! She has no business being responsible for the well being and education of children. Her "knee jerk" reaction, with no consideration for the possibility that the student may be very serious about her beliefs, is all that is needed to verify that should already be seeking other employment - outside education, or involvement with children.
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