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Who I Am:
A Keeper of the Fire for SIP
Dear members of SIP:
In mid-January, a young woman warrior spoke to the list serve and I have attached what she wrote (Rose statement). The President of SIP responded and I have attached her response as well (Gayle’s statement).
It seems the painful issue of name change has made clear the intent and purpose difference that exists in our organization. WanmdiWI Rose and Gayle have articulated the difference beautifully. Thank you both for being able to articulate your thoughts so beautifully.
I need to take some responsibility for having gotten us to this place. I have been called “exclusive” for wanting to keep SIP’s focus on American Indians. The fact is I am inclusive and I have invited people to come and experience SIP regardless of who they are because we have a wonderful community at SIP! I have loved the richness that diversity has brought to SIP! When I consider the intent and purpose of the organization, I agree with you, WanmdiWi. “ I personally don’t find anything wrong with having an organization that reflects and addresses the unique needs of AI/AN.” ------- “ If someone is looking for knowledge, awareness, and support for addressing American Indian issues SIP is wonderful. It has always been open to anyone wanting to join and attend the annual conference in Logan. If an individual is looking to address global issues of indigenous people and having this be the mission of SIP I can imagine it would be frustrating.”
I also empathize with your concern, Gayle, about our how do we make other indigenous people from this continent (US and Canada) as well as South America feel part of our organization? It is not only frustrating, it is very hurtful to feel marginalized.
This difference in focus is a problem we in SIP need to address. I do not know how to resolve this issue, I only know how I see it and I have tried to articulate this problem in the attached short paper called Who I Am: A Keeper of the Fire for SIP.