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Suit: Flag ban violates rights Leader says suspended students are Cherokee
By Clyde L. Stancil
DAILY Staff Writer

Mike Graham response to Flag ban violates rights
Second letter below

MOULTON -- The director of a Native American heritage group said he is assisting in the suit to remove the Confederate flag ban from Lawrence County schools because some of the students suing the system are of Cherokee ancestry. Their parents filed suit Monday in U.S. district court against Superintendent Dexter Rutherford and Lawrence County High School Principal Ricky Nichols. The plaintiffs claim the two administrators are violating their children's civil and constitutional rights.

The plaintiffs also claim that the Confederate battle flag incorporates the Greek "X" symbol for Jesus and the Cross of St. Andrew, one of Christ's disciples and the patron Saint of Scotland. Created hostile environment They said that when Nichols and Rutherford denied the students the right to wear the flag, it denied them their right to inoffensively express their religious convictions. It also allegedly created a hostile learning environment for Christian white-Cherokee Southern Americans at the school.

The parents seek the removal of the ban and attorneys' fees and costs. The seven students represented in the suit were among the 16 students whom Nichols suspended in October for defying a ban on the display of the Confederate flag. Most of the students wore T-shirts displaying the flag. Charles Yow, director of the Native American Heritage Initiative, said the other reason he is co-representing the plaintiffs is that the ban is a civil rights matter. "The school district has some real serious problems when it comes to Indians," said Yow, a Cherokee based in Boston.

He said he was involved in the protest of the Halloween haunted house entitled the "Trail of Fears," which the Lawrence County Jaycees sponsored in 2000. The Jaycees operated the haunted trail at the Oakville Indian Mounds and Museum. The mounds are Indian burial grounds. Yow said he also has a problem with a stretch of the annual Jesse Owens Run that takes runners through the mounds, which are on property owned by the school board.

The board has an Indian education program as part of its curriculum. "We don't allow races through their (white) cemeteries," he said. "When it comes to our (American Indian) cemeteries this board could care less. These people are bigots and that's all there is to it. I really hate that that race is going through there (the mounds). It pits two groups (blacks and American Indians) that ought to be working together. That's a real shame." The lead attorney for the plaintiffs is Kirk D. Lyons, trial counsel for the Southern Legal Resource Center. The SLRC is a Southern Heritage group, and Lyons is a candidate for one of the Sons of Confederate Veterans' high posts.

Both Lyons and Yow said that American Indians played a vital role in the Confederacy. "Stand Waite (pronounced wah-tee) was the last Confederate general to surrender, and he was Cherokee," Yow said. "And it was also the army with the largest percentage of casualties." The plaintiffs and the minor children they represent are:
Tyron and Delene White for Stephen Blake Holland.

Terry and Yvette Davis for Robert Owen Terry.

Doyle Grimes for Blake Grimes and Cody Grimes.

Barbara Weems for Kayla Weems.

Brenda Hill for Tina Sheree Hill.

Carol Terry for Anna Laura Terry. The suit says that Blake Holland, Blake Grimes, Cody Grimes, Kayla Weems and Tina Hill are Cherokee descendants. The inclusion of the American Indian group is not the first time Lyons has brought a ethnic or racial group to the fight against the flag ban in Lawrence County.

After Nichols suspended the students, Lyons and a black member of the SLRC spoke to the school board about lifting the ban. H.K. Edgerton, the black SLRC member, also said that blacks played a vital role in the Confederacy. He asked the school board for permission to implement a Confederate curriculum in the schools, but the board declined.


Mike Graham response to Flag ban violates rights

It's a sad day for all free Americans when our schools show more concern about one ethnic group and true history and what our children can be told about it and what to wear. If the African Americans say the Confederate flag is all about racism and should be taken down all across America then they need to come full circle with true history as to their part in massacres against Native Americans under the American flag to take Indian land and their way of life from them.

The American Indian community fought on both sides in the Civile War as did African Americans, any offer of land from the federal government to the African Americans could only be done from land taken by force from the American Indians. By law Americans Indians could not live in the state of Georgia till 1980, they were to ask for permission to cross the state, thanks to the federal government for allowing it to be this way.

This is true history for Native Americans, like it or not, the Federal government waged war on the Indians to force them to live on reservations. True history, African Americans join this effort in the US. Army, the African American community calling the Southern Cherokee Nation flag and Confederate battle flag racist is like the pot calling the kettle black.

The movie Buffalo Soldiers was a white-wash of how the African American soldiers  treated American Indians. To this day the African American community has not given an apology for their part in the enslavement of American Indians on reservations and massacres. Racism is a two way street and has no color, you need to fully understand American history before you condemn an ethnic group for their stand in the making of America.

No other racial group in American can call American Indians racist for fighting with the Confederate Army, at that time one only has to look at true US. History as to how all people that came to America treated the Indians to include the US. Government. There were no water fountains or bath rooms for American Indians in US. cities, they were not allowed in them. Any ethnic group in America talking about how bad their people had it in America need only to set back and think how bad their races of people were toward Indians.

There is no federal national holiday for the Native American community, Why is this? The American Indians help give birth to America and the type of government we live under now today. Our leaders were killed or imprisoned for life for standing up for our civile rights, Look at how the federal government and it's Army under the American flag massacred Indian men woman and children all across America, should we as American Indians demand that the American flag be taken down?  If one racial group calls for our country to ban the Confederate flag then we should go full circle and do away with the American flag as it was truly raciest against the American Indians.

American Indians are the most improvised group of people in America, The United States government has well over half of the world's gold, it was stolen from Indian land, other countries that came to the Americas in the beginning stole gold from the Indians land to build their county, this is true American history. As an American, if I want to wear a tee shirt with the Southern Cherokee Nation cross on it, I will! That goes for the Confederate flag as well, that means my children can do as they wish. No racial group in this country will tell me what to wear or not! I understand why there was a civile war here in America, just as there were civile wars in most all other countries, they were about placing the country under one national government rule.

We need Truth tough in American history in our schools, that means telling the true story of Columbus as to the First American Nations, having a federal tax paid national holiday for Columbus is a national sick joke! It's time our national media to look at the whole picture at to American history and what it was all about for each group of Americans, not just one group calling the rest of us raciest at every turn, one shoe dose not fit all. One can say America is all about the American Indians, not the ones that came here to our true home land.

United Native America
Mike L. Graham
Rt.6 box 243
Muldrow, Oklahoma 74948

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