Bear with me please

3 October 2012 Patti Durr @ People of the Eye

“I’m for truth, no matter who tells it. I’m for justice, no matter who it is for or against. I’m a human being, first and foremost, and as such I’m for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole.” ~ Malcolm X

Yep – i’m revisiting the Bear Hunt – controversial statue at Ca. School for the Deaf by Douglas Tilden

why u ask – well cuz its important and cuz me friend delivered me a book while i was mending me broken foot.

It’s a good book – Engaged Resistance: American Indian Art, Literature, and Film From Alcatraz to the NMAI by Dean Rader and chapter 9 Roofs, Roads, and Rotundas: American Indian Public Art deals with how folks represent American Indians in art for their own purposes.  Ill feed ya a few quotes and then back to me thoughts.

“Context and backdrop, ideology and identity, all inform how we see public art.” p. 184

“Almost all Indian public art trades on the same stereotypical ideas of what an Indian means.” … invented iconography of the romanticized past” p. 184

“One of the great ironies of the twentieth century was the degree to which Indian semiotics came to symbolize the region of the country most notoriously colonized by white settlement, federal land policies, and missionary aggression.” p. 186

“One of the great mysteries surrounding contemporary American discourse about western culture is the absence of Indian issues, despite the overwhelming presence of Indian semiotics.” p. 186

In discussing ‘Indian action sculptures’ the author states “They depict a nineteenth-century Plains Indian either poetically communing with some aspect of nature, fiercely grappling with a wild animal, or craftily preparing to lunge into battle.” p. 191

While the author is describing Lincoln Fox’s Heaven Bound statue – the characterization of American Indian men is similarly portrayed in other statues by non-Indians – including Tilden’s Bear Hunt.  “Fox freezes a shirtless Indian warrior in time as he pulls back a large bow, magically, without a drawstring.  Six-packed and loinclothed, this hunter-marksman evokes the wild romanticism of poised tension just before an arrow discharges into the air – at what, we are left to imagine.  Oddly sexual, with ripped abs and thigh astraddle, the sculpture feels like a study in the kind of mythological behavior an Anglo imagines nineteenth-century Indians might have engaged in when not lurking behind prairie grasses.” p. 191

“In the case of these sculptures, one locates … the sexualized images, the overly romantic depictions, and, most saliently in the unspoken but clearly encoded lamentation for the glory days of fabricated yesteryear.  We fantasize about what we have destroyed, we embellish what we have broken, we replace what we have removed.” p. 192-3

(italic text added by me)  “We know what to feel because we have been taught how to see.  We have been taught to see Indians on top of buildings (or in front of schools) not as symbols of Indians but as symbols of all that is not Indian.” p. 196

And if all of that is a bit too academic-speak for ya i’ll share with you what a teenaged Hearing person happened to say when i was browsing pix of the Bear Hunt on the web when the controversy first broke out.

He asked “why are you looking at that?”

Me said: “Cuz some folks are saying its offensive and others are saying its not.  And im trying to SEE.”

He said: “Well where is that statue.”

Me: “In front of a school for kids 3 years old up to high school”

He: “Really.  Hmmmm”

Douglas Tilden’s Bear Hunt in front of California School for the Deaf in Fremont, CA

Me: “Hmmm – why?”

He: ” Well it is pretty scary for kids cuz of the way the bear is biting the man’s arm.”

My turn: “hmmm”

He: “Why is it in front of a school?  I’ve never seen a statue like that in front of a school before”

Me: “It’s a Deaf school and a Deaf man made the statue.”

He: “Ah.  But still.”

and as im clicking more images – he says

He: “Oh that kinda looks bad.”

Me: “What does?” then i look at the image he is looking at and wait to see if he will elaborate.  I don’t want to give leading questions and i dont want what folks have told me in the past to bias our chat.

He: “Well from that angle  it kinda looks like the bear is gonna rape the Native American guy.”

He: “this is in front of a kids school?”

Me: “yep.  yep it is”

So there you have it.

This is what greets folks at the curb of CSD.

So here you have it –

NOT COOL Supt Sean Virnig

Not cool, Supt Virnig, for not providing any (as in nada) explanation as to why he has decided that the Bear Hunt statue will remain as the main greeter and signifier of CSD despite being informed that the statue is offensive and misrepresents Native Americans.

While Supt Virnig’s ASL is clear and graceful to watch – his declaration that the statue is to remain AS IS WHERE IT IS without any explanation as to why & how he reached this decision is unfortunate and unjust.

Our community at large and in the bay area, which is made up of many DPOC, deserves much better than this autocratic non-response.  The issue of representation, respect, and racial justice deserve better than this.  Problems like these don’t “just go away” because a declaration has been issued.  Don’t believe me – just remember that the Bell Dorm name and plaque at NTID was a long standing continual issue in which even Deaf leaders said it was to remain but good folks on the ground said “not cool” and eventually truth and love won.  So the bear battle will be back simply because justice has not been served and will roll down like a mighty stream sure enuf – as it did in getting the Bell plaque and name down.

Some folks have been pretty nasty and mean when DYUSA set up a petition about the statue.  The petition was a fair and just one

It really is unacceptable and uncool to be trying to repress and/or misrepresent DYUSA’s outcry about misrepresentation of POC people, their cultures and their languages.  Folks REaction and INaction in response to mutlicultural DYUSA & DPOC calling our attention to these injustices is very important.  Deaf folks are often lamenting about how the Hearing world does not listen to the plight for Deaf rights.  To see Deaf folks in power or with privilege ignore the concerns of DPOC & allies or to side with perpetuating a wrong is upsetting and should make us all wanna shout – Ya Basta.

Dont even get me started on the the Deaf Nation white savior imagery 1 and 2 and NAD and the Daugaard invite 1 and 2 when they never uninvited him in the first place (WOW what a waste of delegates time).

CSD keeping the Bear Hunt statue where it is without any explanation is just another signifier of how the oppressed at times become the oppressors.  It is disheartening and WRONG.

Now you can shower the comment boxes with remarks about – ‘why aren’t you out there fighting audism ‘

and ill be like – ‘whoa projection is not pretty’ (meaning why are you not out there fighting for justice – whether it be against audism and against racism instead of here in People of the Eye boxes fighting against the truth)

and ill be like -‘ what makes you think we cant multitask, what makes you think that some of this dismissing of DPOC & and multicultural Deaf Youth people’s concern is not a byproduct of the Deaf White male folks in power thinking they do NOT have to respect the concerns of DPOC’ – it may not be AUDISM per se but it is an oppressive “ISM” that has plagued our community, our culture, and our country for a bloody long time.

it really is a good thing – this discussion, this examination, and this RESPECTING of folks who have been horribly mistreated and misrepresented in this country.  In fact it is imperative that we undertake this task most especially for the wee things who will be arriving at CSD for the very first time.  What first meets their eyes and greets them should be just, right and good.  And that is how folks should identify HOME.

So in standing against racism and racist based representation and making progress by having folks remove such imagery from their organization and the doorstep of their school or the podium of their organizaiton’s platform, we are galvanizing an opportunity to work together to get there together.  Where you ask? Equality – Social Justice – True Peace.

Sweet, eh?
yes indeed.

so whatcha gonna do do?

stand for equality for ALL or keep being nasty to the truth seekers?

its your option

to Deaf Youth USA – i admire ya.  Keep standing.  I know im slow some times but i will catch up with good folks like u lighting the path.

to Supt Virnig – many administrators were not brave enuf to remove the Bell dorm name and plaque and they just “there, there” to the student discontent over the hall of shame in the past until the community rallied around the truth and said Ya Basta and then it finally came down.  Some folks came forward saying they were sorry that they didnt know enuf about Bell’s history in the past to have stood for having it come down and they were grateful for the folks who did.  I’m hoping you will not make folks wait 20-30 years to do the right thing.  I know the statue holds nostalgia for folks and i know change is hard but change away from imperialist nostalgia to social justice will put CSD further on the map as a super cool school.

THOUSANDS of Native Americans were relocated – where was the outcry for that.  Refusing to relocate an offensive and unjust statue without providing ANY reason for it to remain is a shame.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”  Martin Luther King, Jr

forgot to add this gem from Leala’s wall by bell hooks:

“Native Americans have been deeply affected by the degrading representations of red people that continue to be the dominant images projected by the media. When most people see daily images of red people portrayed as cannibalistic, uncivilized, and savage, they do not think about the ways these images cause pain and grief.

While there is current interest in the way children of Jewish survivors are affected by the torture of their ancestors, there have been few attempts to understand how the horrors of genocidal assaults on Native Americans has affected the children of survivors. It is rare for anyone to publicly acknowledge that Native Americans are the survivors of holocaust, of genocidal warfare waged against red people by white imperialist racism.

Native American imagery is used as an entertaining spectacle for the colonizing white imagination. In any of its versions, imperialist nostalgia uses a pose of “innocent yearning” both to capture people’s imaginations and to conceal its complicity with brutal white domination.”  -bell hooks



NOTE: other older vlogs on this topic (feel free to add links in the comment section)

Leala Holcomb’s vlog thanking Lavar and the Intertribal Friendship House Gathering for sharing their truths re: the statue and its impact and message and meaning to them

tilden’s statue at CSD

bear hunt & Deaf Youth USA & invest in justice

never again


29 thoughts on “Bear with me please

  1. Michael – since making that vlog and learning more, Leala has in fact chopped those locks. Which speaks volumes of her integrity and commitment to social justice while your refusal to address the blog entry and your choosing to zone in on one wee thing you think you can twist in your favor at the expense of another speaks volumes towards your commitment to perpetuating injustice. ’tis a pity.

    bad try brother, bad try

    we now return folks’ eyes to the topic at hand – offensive statues as huge markers in front of an educational institution for children



  2. I’m torn on the issue. On the one hand, I do see the point about romanticized projections of native Americans and American history, but on the other, the statue is a treasured piece of art by one of our own artists, and we have so few of those, that it seems a shame to remove or even destroy his work. The less drastic option — removal and replacement — to where? A museum might be appropriate BUT — do we have any Deaf-owned museums? No. So, I don’t want our Deaf artists’ work falling into the hands of yet more Hearing people, just because he had the misfortune of being born into a time when whites romanticized the very people they had so cruelly oppressed.

    It is not an easy answer, and I’m torn on the whole thing.

  3. Don – i always love ur honesty.

    It is not an easy answer – ONLY IF WE COMPLICATE IT. meaning…
    1. should it be there? yes or no
    everyone seems to say no it shouldnt be THERE. they see that the cons outweigh the pros. They know that to value Tilden as a Deaf artist over what the artwork communicates to viewers – romanticism, sexualized savage, inauthentic representation (Dr. Eckert was strong about how Native Americans would never hunt a mother bear with two cubs using a knife and an axe – which have since been broken off from the statue), imperial nostalgia – and to pass all that on to the kiddies so that they r imprinted with the imagery as ‘home’ over what it really is about and communicating is NOT COOL

    since the answer is NO (it should not be there) and no one can give a just, good and right reason for keeping it there then…

    2. relocate it

    where? well i believe that answer will become manifest once folks determine the right thing to do based on what is the right thing to do rather than based on convenience or nostalgia or privilege or Deaf loyalty or logistics

    Deaf Youth USA at one point was suggesting just to move it to a different place on campus – not front and center stage WHAM welcome to our world of oppression and disrespect cuz Deaf FIRST and FOREMOST is all the rage.

    They suggested if it is to remain at CSD – it should be in a less prominent and first portal entry place and it should have a plaque
    my suggestion of what the plaque should cover:
    1. the history of how CSD got it – blackmail to Tilden for his CSD paid trip to Paris France
    2. Tilden was fired from CSD due to Oralism and he was pissed and wanted to take the statue from them
    3. it is MEGA offensive and misrepresentation of Native Americans (many of whom are DEAF)

    make it a lesson in TRUTH if it is to remain on the campus but it definitely should be relocated

    many folks have told me how they hate to see the thing front and center

    and many have told me of their sexual read of the art work. i didnt want to see and hence i was like hmmm and wow when the unsolicited interpretation of the work was given to me this summer

    we can deny and we can impose all these grandiose Deaf-themes (ASL vs. Oralism struggle) but that is NOT what Tilden intended and that is NOT what is communicated without alot of posturing and appropriating and constructing on our parts

    Just think – when the battle is finally over and the win is in favor of justice – the FRONT space will now be open for a great affirming De’VIA piece to be created by a Deaf artist. Ah Deaf space!

    and then truly there will be an icon and a beacon to which we can all be proud of.

    so the answer aint that hard once the first answer is made

    should the statue remain where it is right now?

    that is all we need to answer truthfully and the rest will follow



  4. Thank you, Patti, for revisiting this torn issue. Honestly, I’m quite disappointed with the process in ruining Douglas Tilden’s name and torn up the Deaf community. The journey towards healing is going to be longer. It was absolutely unnecessary. What could have done is to talk about it with care and love. Douglas Tilden was a poor artitst and lived on commissions. In the time when Douglas Tilden sculptured the Bear Hunt, the era was different. We live in the different era, tearing down the white privilege wall yet this issue could be dealt with sensivity instead of destroying the legacy. Deaf people would be perceived much better when it is approached with thoughts and care.

  5. The grizzly bear appears on the flag of California, though they are extinct in the state, the last one having been shot in 1922. (pasted from Wik.) very sad sad! The grizzy (brown) bears are not ferocious animals, unless if you try to harm them and cubs. back in 1880-1900 (date?). Humans captured Grizzy bears for circus shows. The worst part about romanticized thinking to make money from fans. How? circus owners put the chains on bears ‘necks and ankles to make them look so dangerous and will attack on humans. Lies Lies!
    Patti, I agree that we need to teach new generations of deaf artists that public places can have deaf artists ‘ works. Sean, Please do not let Deaf artists to be extincted as like California brown-grizzy bears.

  6. First- far out very good topic- Bear with you and revisiting -the bear hunt. WOW!!

    remove the native indians separate from the bear? or what?

    Well move the bear “hunt” to where??? Hall of false fame museum?

    or next door of Bull statute at somewhere stock market in Wall Street environment???

    What is the difference between Bear market and Bull market?
    Stock Market Questions

    Wiki Answer:

    A bull phase refers to a economic scenario with booming investor confidence and surplus liquidity as a result of which everyone is buying shares and the prices of stocks are going up. It is termed as a bull phase because there is control/limit on the amount to which the prices go up. It is uncontrollable like the run of a raging bull.

    A bear phase refers to a economic scenario with diminishing investor confidence and lack of liquidity as a result of which everyone is selling their stocks. the prices of stocks come down crashing.

    or possibly best explain to cover up the

    ” Bears Don’t Exist, Think Like a Bull ” on this subject link:

    me not sure with someone who did asked me if I should trust with one of vloggers from Deaf Youth USA
    cuz of one did determine to insult to others – without resolving the problems

    Well from my understanding that the young person is very young and not thinking twice of what was happening in the future…

    How would you feel I did determined insulting on others with my own words like this:

    u racism, u sexism and etc in conference in first time meeting and without knowing a person

    ->including without resolving the problems with others???

    At last I don’t know

    but you, Patti did raised excellent points this time in the history order of supt video .

    I like to know the plan of

    what they Deaf Youth USA want to do with “bear hunt” after removing CSD campus???

    Move where???

    Then I will sign on the petition later

  7. Just MAYBE the reason they want to keep it is to eject a subconscience fear in Deaf students that they (the hearing majority) has the Deaf (minority) in its grip like the bear on the warrior. Just a thought. Submission, submission, submission.

  8. Patti – Enjoy your posts! I appreciate you pulling the rug off the floor to stop people from sweeping issues under it. Dialogue. Dialogue. Dialogue. smile.

  9. Patricia – pls direct me to who and how folks have been ruining Douglas Tilden’s name.

    i think folks have been talking about the statue and its representation and its appropriateness at a school for kids pre-school and up.

    is it right for THAT statue to remain WHERE IT IS NOW?

    also note that Tilden, the man himself, did NOT want CSD to have the statue at the onset and then later when they fired him because he was a Deaf-MUTE he wanted to remove and relocate the statue so if you TRULY want to honor Tilden and his legacy – you would want to honor his wishes and reality.

    re: approaching with thought and care – being extremists of love and truth as MLK Jr has taught and called upon us to do so explains what this really means – a few passages from his letter from a Birmingham jail come to mind. See below. I would wager to say that many folks’ response to the call for dialogue and a relocating of the statue has not come from a place of care and thoughtfulness.

    “You may well ask: “Why direct action? Why sit ins, marches and so forth? Isn’t negotiation a better path?” You are quite right in calling for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word “tension.” I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, so must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood. The purpose of our direct action program is to create a situation so crisis packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation. I therefore concur with you in your call for negotiation. Too long has our beloved Southland been bogged down in a tragic effort to live in monologue rather than dialogue.”

    he goes on to say:
    “My friends, I must say to you that we have not made a single gain in civil rights without determined legal and nonviolent pressure. Lamentably, it is an historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily. Individuals may see the moral light and voluntarily give up their unjust posture; but, as Reinhold Niebuhr has reminded us, groups tend to be more immoral than individuals.

    We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was “well timed” in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word “Wait!” It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This “Wait” has almost always meant “Never.” We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that “justice too long delayed is justice denied.”

    and later
    “First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”

    and further on down in the letter the part about being extremists of love:
    “Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself, and that is what has happened to the American Negro. Something within has reminded him of his birthright of freedom, and something without has reminded him that it can be gained. Consciously or unconsciously, he has been caught up by the Zeitgeist, and with his black brothers of Africa and his brown and yellow brothers of Asia, South America and the Caribbean, the United States Negro is moving with a sense of great urgency toward the promised land of racial justice. If one recognizes this vital urge that has engulfed the Negro community, one should readily understand why public demonstrations are taking place. The Negro has many pent up resentments and latent frustrations, and he must release them. So let him march; let him make prayer pilgrimages to the city hall; let him go on freedom rides -and try to understand why he must do so. If his repressed emotions are not released in nonviolent ways, they will seek expression through violence; this is not a threat but a fact of history. So I have not said to my people: “Get rid of your discontent.” Rather, I have tried to say that this normal and healthy discontent can be channeled into the creative outlet of nonviolent direct action. And now this approach is being termed extremist. But though I was initially disappointed at being categorized as an extremist, as I continued to think about the matter I gradually gained a measure of satisfaction from the label. Was not Jesus an extremist for love: “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” Was not Amos an extremist for justice: “Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever flowing stream.” Was not Paul an extremist for the Christian gospel: “I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” Was not Martin Luther an extremist: “Here I stand; I cannot do otherwise, so help me God.” And John Bunyan: “I will stay in jail to the end of my days before I make a butchery of my conscience.” And Abraham Lincoln: “This nation cannot survive half slave and half free.” And Thomas Jefferson: “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal . . .” So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice? In that dramatic scene on Calvary’s hill three men were crucified. We must never forget that all three were crucified for the same crime–the crime of extremism. Two were extremists for immorality, and thus fell below their environment. The other, Jesus Christ, was an extremist for love, truth and goodness, and thereby rose above his environment. Perhaps the South, the nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.”

  10. Ellen – yes White Europeans colonizing the West sought to annihilate the grizzle bear and Native Americans alike. Hence, Dean Rader notes in his book about these public artworks – “In the case of these sculptures, one locates … the sexualized images, the overly romantic depictions, and, most saliently in the unspoken but clearly encoded lamentation for the glory days of fabricated yesteryear. We fantasize about what we have destroyed, we embellish what we have broken, we replace what we have removed.”

    Native Americans approach the mother earth and the animal kingdom with reverence and interdependence and appreciation. Where as we the white folks sought to dominant and destroy both. so who really is the victor?

    We can build as many statues as we want but if they do not reflect the truth of reality they are more propaganda than art regardless of how skilled the hands that crafted them – immortalizing them in stone will not change the reality of what was done or is done to the parties portrayed in this work



  11. Shawn –

    re: bull and bear signifier for the stock market – folks thinking the bull is all that is pretty much bs. just ask the 99%

    re: what u heard from someone else about someone else etc etc etc… life is bigger than this me think

    re: what Deaf Youth USA wants – read the petition and see if you can agree with the petition.

    u want to wait and see see. that is fine.

    mlk words re: waiting are pretty important me think



  12. ASL Challenged –
    well i would totally hate to think that is why they are in favor of keeping it as is. supporting and enforcing submission is not cool cuz in keeping others down we keep humanity down. The vlog proclaiming the decision to keep the statue where it is without any rationale does bite.
    peace, patti

  13. Erik W. –

    thanks for ur appreciation. i aint one to keep a clean house so ya know when we get to the point of having to pull up the carpet and say lookey lookey – things r bad.

    i delayed for a mighty long time – rationalizing that it aint my place but then i got to seeing what my race is playing at and i am not pleased so up we go.

    its dialogue folks – not dielogue.

    see what mlk jr has to say about the importance of bring tension front and center to ensure that true dialogue takes place

    we aim to make a space for everyBODY at the table.

    much peace


  14. This whole Bear Hunt thing was a mystery to me, but all I need to know is in the sculpture itself; the portrayal is plainly wrong. The Indians were (and are) smart people, no Indian would go up against a bear with a little stick in his hand. The sculpture shows an Indian moments before he was killed. If a Bear has two paws on your torso and your arm in his mouth, you are dead.

    The sculptor may have had good intentions but it is plain he knew nothing of Indians and their methods of hunting.

    If the Indians did not use a bow and arrow from a distance, the only way they would go head to head with a Bear is with a simple technique that requires two tools and a brave heart: they need a big rock and a tomahawk or a sharpened stone on a long stick much like the modern Axe.

    The Indian would confront the bear and the bear would stand on his hind legs, they do this to show who is bigger and show dominance. The Indian would then throw the big rock to the bear and the bear would always catch the rock, and without skipping a beat the Indian would rush up to the bear and level the tomahawk to the bear’s skull.

    If you see the picture, you see the bear caught the rock and his hands are “tied up” which is the only opportunity the Indian has.

    The thing about Indians is that they respected nature, and that has many forms but their respect included combat and they had to outsmart their quarry. They took only what they needed and they used everything from the carcass of their prey, and they even prayed for their prey.

    The Bear Hunt is a false story, it has no relation to reality and makes the Indian look stupid… not to mention dead. With this in mind, it probably has no place there. The artist did a wonderful job of art, but missed the true story completely.

  15. Alec –
    im pretty doubtful that the bear would instinctively try to catch the rock but i think ur main point has already been stated in the comment sections here in referencing Dr. Eckert’s assessment of how Native Americans would not hunt a grizzle bear with hand tools / weapons nor approach a momma bear with cubs and in other comments and the main blog entry via quotes from Dr. Rader.



  16. Patti

    I did not make up the story about Indian’s hunting method. I did not make an assessment, or any educated guess, it was something I learned long ago. I cannot cite the source either, but if I can find it I will share it.

    Obviously my comments on the Indian respect for nature includes the fact that they would not approach a mother bear. If Dr. Eckert said that Native Americans would not hunt a grizzly bear with hand tools or weapons then what did they do?

    Furthermore are either Dr. Eckert or Dr Rader Native Americans or experts on Native Americans?

    Thank you for the engagement.

  17. Alec

    Re rock catching bears as a hunting technique – look forward to ur source

    Re If they hunted grizzles (which I don’t think they normally did) it would be w arrows

    Re dr eckert and dr rader being native Americans – are you q



  18. A few of DYUSA members work at CSDF. they should resign in solidarity and unity and harmony so they can practice what they preached

  19. I’ve always believed that the status should be moved to appropriate place (part of our history) with explanation and reasons. It should not stand in front of the school without any explanation. We can preserve our Deaf Culture, but we must get rid of racism, audism, sexism, ageism, and other “isms” from the Deaf Culture by educating and encouraging people to look inside themselves. If we ignore them, our culture will be backfired in the future. In my opinion, Paddy Ladd has encouraged us to get rid of negatives from our culture that will build our foundation stronger and bigger.

  20. Mike – it is actually more noble of those that work for CSD to love her enough to show her the truth. That is true solidarity and having the courage of their convictions

    I can’t tell ya how many folks allow their positions to be their silencers and I can’t tell u how many folks will give me a thumbs up or pat on the back when no one is looking and how many think u will get in trouble for standing for that which is just right and good

    So to the folks at CSD who truly care about all the students at CSD and care about the truth and justice – thank u and keep standing.

    It’s hard but it’s harder to ignore it


  21. David

    Yep paddy is a smart dude and so are u

    Thanks for standing for justice. Indigenous people make up Deaf culture too. To place more importance on the Deaf artist over what the artwork represents is not cool. And Tilden, the artist, didn’t even want it to belong to CSD so i have no idea who or what they think they r honoring


  22. How can you help? excellent question. Guess it would be best to ask DYUSA what to do do. I think sharing the truth is the best we can do while we await action

  23. Possibly how the whole discussion can progress is to bring both sides to the table. This discussion is lacking an important part on why Supt Sean Virnig believes it is good to have the Bear Hunt statue by Douglas Tilden in front of the California School for the Deaf. If this is known, then a conversation on whether the statue is controversial or not can be better informed. Until one side knows why the other one did what it did, this discussion will not be able to go much further. It is not an easy task, but a try from either side showing a good will could be attempted.

  24. Jamie –

    i think some meetings have been held. I do not know if during those exchanges Supt Virnig explained why its right, just and good to keep the Bear Hunt in front of CSD. My understanding is that he did NOT provide any reasons of why its good to have THAT statue there.

    re: whether or not the statue is controversial – this is pretty clear that it IS. hence, the petition, the vlogs and blogs on the subject and the upset – all that spells controversy.

    you are right re: – until we know why Supt Virnig has decided to keep the statue as is where it is, there is not gonna be much of a dialogue. As a superintendent and an educator, i assume he is aware of this factor and hence his reason for announcing the decision (without any reason) in such an autocratic and dogmatic manner. He wanted the discussion & dialogue to END and the controversy to come to a close.

    We are making that technique and strategy visible for all to see. Might does not make right – just cuz he has the power to make such declarations – if they are not explained nor supported they are not just, right and good but rather just throwing ones authority around arbitrarily. Folks deserve a reason for why he has decided that the thing (statue) is more important than the people it (mis)represents (Native Americans).

    just making declarations may shut down the dialogue but it does not end the controversy. The bear battle will be back again and again until folks come to the table of truth and do that which is right, just and good.

    was so hoping they would bring in a scholar on Native American representation like Dean Rader and a Native American Deaf presenter like Onalee Cooper. CSD is a GREAT school – the children, parents, and families and community deserve better than a vlog of “its shall remain unchanged” without any reason why.

    as i said in this blog entry: Refusing to relocate an offensive and unjust statue without providing ANY reason for it to remain is a shame.



  25. Thank you Patti. I have become embittered after all the bashing DYUSA Bay Area, DPOC, and Deaf Natives received from the Deaf community. Yes, DYUSA Bay Area met with Sean before he released his Vlog and the meeting was ugly on their end (a lot of derailing, minimizing, scolding, belittling, and denying). A youth of Color walked out of the meeting in tears. After this meeting, Sean told us he will no longer deal with anything related to the Bear Hunt Statue. He will simply pass along all of our messages to the Department of the Education.

    Intertribal Friendship House sent a strong letter to Sean, and he passed the letter to the Department of the Education. Some Deaf Natives have requested to meet with Sean, he referred them to the Department of the Education.

    None of them have heard from Department of the Education.

    This was a painful process for me and many others. It’s hard for me to see those very same Deaf people who rejected Deaf People of Color’s voice complain about hearing people rejecting their voice. It’s hard for me to stand by them to fight against audism when I have witnessed them perpetuate racism against other marginalized groups within our community. Too much hypocrisy happening here.

    I’m trying to heal and restore faith in the Deaf community. Your article definitely brought in a glimmer of hope. Thank you.

  26. Leala – many thanks for all you shared here. I am sorry it has been so painful and hard. It is difficult to keep the faith especially if too few folks r standing for truth and justice. I am especially saddened to learn about the young POC who walked out in tears. Folks have no idea of how real and personal this is. White folks r approaching the statue simply as something to cherish by Tilden and something that was their school trademark – they are not looking at what it represents and communicates – nor the pain that their valuing a thing over the people it’s portraying.

    its more than a pity – its wrong.

    re: HOPE – its a moral obligation says tony kushner and cornel west says “So now, as in the past, we prisoners of hope in desperate times must try to speak our fallible truths, expose the vicious lies, and bear our imperfect witness.” and he concludes his Prisoners of Hope essay with “Hope enacts the stance of the participant who actively struggles against the evidence in order to change the deadly tides of wealth inequality, group xenophobia, and personal despair. Only a new wave of vision, courage, and hope can keep us sane-and preserve the decency and dignity requisite to revitalize our organizational energy for the work to be done. To live is to wrestle with despair yet never to allow despair to have the last word.”

    sometimes despair comes a calling to us all

    sometimes hopelessness sets in

    sometimes “why bother” screams louder

    but then ill see a good soul like u standing and ill say – how can we do otherwise

    so thank YOU & DYUSA

    much LOVE & PEACE (MLK said peace is not the absence of tension but rather the presence of justice)


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