(Sent by Susan Power for posting to this website)
My dear relatives:
Count Me “Out.”
I write these lines to join those who have decided to absent themselves formally from this year’s meeting. I do so, like many others, after days of heartfelt deliberation, reading blog postings, offline emailing, and discussions with others. I want to express thanks to Robert Warrior, Roberto Rodriguez, Patrisia Gonzales and many local people who graciously responded to my personal emails. They are in unenviable positions.
I too want to publicly state that I have decided not to attend NAISA 2010 and that my decision comes as a way of standing in solidarity with the boycott of the State of Arizona to protest SB1070 and the proposals to eliminate ethnic studies and police the ‘accents’ of teachers of English. Like Kevin and Scott, I want to be clear that my boycott is of Arizona and its racist legislation and not NAISA.
We are a panel that is scheduled to present at NAISA, but we are now withdrawing from the conference to support the boycott of Arizona. Our reasons for opposing Arizona's draconian new laws need no rehearsal here, but we do wish to state clearly that we are boycotting Arizona and not NAISA.
Members of the council and I have had some positive communication in the last couple of day with people struggling with decisions about participating in our meeting in Tucson. We have tried to respond to every email message we have gotten, so I thought I would make sure to say that we are open to hearing from you if you have questions or would benefit from hearing back from us. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. The email addresses of everyone on the council are listed at the "Council" link to the left of this post.
As a founder of NAISA the entire recent situation concerning the upcoming 2010 meeting and the discussion on the NAISA website has been extremely painful for me. I regret that I had to withdraw from this year’s meeting. I have attempted since doing so to refrain from participating further in the ongoing blogging on the website. Unfortunately, I cannot any longer.
Dear NAISA members:
(I posted this on my blog last week; you can read it in its entirety at http://lastwoman.net under "Arizona Statement.")
The Arizona legislature recently passed a trio of bills focusing on gun-concealment, immigrants, and Ethnic Studies. SB1108, signed into law, removes the licensure requirement to carry concealed weapons. SB1070, also signed into law, allows police to legally detain anyone who looks undocumented. And most recently, HB2281 equates Ethnic Studies with high treason. Taking separately, there is obvious cause for alarm. Together, however, these signal a cause for meaningful action and solidarity.
I have a few short opinions to share regarding the disagreement articulated here over the last week.
1) Smart and genuine people can respectfully disagree about important decisions. Anything beyond can be handled in private.
2) If NAISA Leadership says backing out of contracts will bankrupt our organization, I take them at their word.
3) Financial ruin of NAISA will not help any of our communities with any of the many problems we are working to address.
Jeani O'Brien, NAISA's president-elect and I sent the following letter to Indian Country Today in response to their editorial published earlier today.
May 7, 2010
To the editor:
We are responding to your editorial questioning the decision of the elected leaders of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association to hold our annual meeting as scheduled in Tucson later this month in the face of the new immigration legislation signed into Arizona law April 23. We want to say first that we wish you had taken into account publicly announced changes to our program, which were sent out to our members and posted to our website yesterday, before you published your editorial. We invite Indian Country Today readers who want more information to find it at naisa.org.