Smoke Signals? Really?

Today’s Stanford Daily guest op-ed calls us out for our use of smoke signals.

despite the numerous voiced concerns of the Native community, The Review has sporadically used a caricature known as the “Chief” in association with its “Smoke Signals” column. This caricature was last seen in 2005, though The Review still regularly publishes “Smoke Signals” in its weekly paper. In whatever shape or form, there has been a consistent history of those insistent on “bringing back the Indian,” and in each occurrence our community has been steadfast in our opposition.

I was always under the impression that the Neanderthals invented smoke, and that the first smoke signals were used in ancient China. Like Condival, this is another example of using the cursed name of the Review in a sad attempt to win allies.

This article asks for more respect for the Native communities. Somehow I wonder if the timing of this op-ed was thought out best. At the moment, there is an estimated $200,000/year budget for a Native American Community Center that serves the less than 2% of the student body that is Native American. Last week, students camped out in a teepee in a “fast” (which consisted of skipping food during the work day for one day last week) to protest their 15% budget cut. I wasn’t aware that anyone was being insensitive to the Native Community at Stanford (from the looks of the examples it does not appear that the author is aware of much insensitivity either). I do not mean to make light of the historic injustices, and I’m even sympathetic to the argument that Indian mascots should go (see Stanford Band Irish Potato Famine skit from 1998). But if it is true that Native students are being mocked on campus, I cannot help but wonder if that is related to their stubborn unwillingness to accept budget cuts like everyone else has in these difficult times. At some point, it seems that these actions border on biting the hands that feed them.

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