THERE IS A SAYING IN OUR NATIVE NECK-OF-THE-WOODS,   "IF YOU FISH FOR TROUT, EXPECT TO BE BITTEN BY MOSQUITOES."

YOU HAVE TO KEEP GOING -- KEEP FIGHTING.

SOMETIMES, FOR A VETERAN  ACTIVIST/ORGANIZER, IT'S HELPFUL TO INDICATE THAT YOU HAVE APPRECIATIVE FRIENDS.

HERE IS A VERY SMALL SAMPLING --  THREE QUITE SIGNIFICANT THINGS -- FROM A HEALTHY FILE OF GOOD WORDS. 

These involve:  University of North Dakota, The State of Mississippi,  and Grand Forks ND racism in the Police Department:

 

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Dr. Gordon Henry has been a strong, committed, and effective friend and advocate for  a vast number of students over many decades.   He retired from UND a few years ago.

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The struggle for human rights in  the South was tough and sanguinary.  I left a lot of blood in  places like Mississippi.   It was certainly worth every effort I and countless others made!  This thoughtful letter from former Mississippi Governor Bill Winter speaks for itself.  I should add that he is a very accomplished historian in his own right.   In addition to having all of my  own collected papers from the 1950s to the present held at Mississippi State Department of  Archives and History (with a concurrent collection at State Historical Society of Wisconsin),  and having done several oral histories for institutions in the State of Mississippi,  I'm a Life Member of the Mississippi Historical Society.  (We've come a ways from the most sweeping injunction handed down in the history of the Civil Rights Movement:  City of Jackson vs. John R. Salter, Jr. et al.  Of course, we defied the injunction.)

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At the beginning of the 1980s, a very negative police situation existed in and around Grand Forks, North Dakota:   especially bad for Native people, Blacks, Mexican-Americans, University students, and Grand Forks Air Force Base Personnel.  I and a colleague, the late Professor Doug Wills [Humanities] who was a leader in ACLU, approached then Mayor Bud Wessman with our urgent concerns.  The Mayor was extremely responsive and moved immediately to set up a Mayor's Committee on Police Policy.  I played a leading role in that campaign and then in policy matters for years thereafter. Within a year after the formation of the Mayor's Committee, we installed Chet Paschke, long-time Chief of Detectives, as the new Chief.  Chief Paschke and I worked very closely together to  successfully transform the Department into a  very positive human relations model -- frequently studied by other  police departments and by various government agencies.    I was also in much of the 1990s, Chair of the City's Community Relations Committee. Some months after the Great Flood of 1997, we left Grand Forks to return to my native Mountain West.  Chet Pashke retired about a year later.

Since then, human relations problems have once again begun to develop in Grand Forks and environs -- reflected in worsening community/lawmen relationships.  From Idaho, I have been very active in those North Dakota social justice issues.  See http://hunterbear.org/NATIVE%20AMERICAN%20COMMISSION%20PAGE%204.htm  [Murdered Native Men:  Calls To Action]

 

 

 

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