New Forum Will Focus on Native American Issues

The Register Guard (Eugene, OR), April 27, 2003 | Go to article overview

New Forum Will Focus on Native American Issues


Byline: CITY BEAT/EUGENE By Joe Mosley The Register-Guard

Are you embarrassed that a day after 11 "Talking Stones" bearing Kalapuya words were placed in the Whilamut Natural Area of Alton Baker Park a few months ago, several were defaced by vandals?

Do you squirm when athletic teams choose Native Americans as their mascots, or are you outraged when American Indians are either victimized by crime or targets of criminal investigations because of their heritage?

Marcy Middleton has just the forum for you.

"Ever since I've been on the Human Rights Commission, I've wanted to do a forum on Native American issues," says Middleton, a four-year veteran of the Eugene panel. "I've wanted to bring the native voice (together) and focus on contemporary issues. There are a lot of things out there.

"It's kind of a close issue to my heart, knowing a little bit and keeping in touch with what goes on around the country."

Middleton is an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation. She's also a 16-year resident of Eugene, and has been active in the local Native American community.

So it was a natural progression for her to organize the first Native American Issues Community Forum, which will be held at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Bascom/Tykeson Room of the Eugene Public Library. Informational displays will be available beginning at 6 p.m.

The forum will feature a speech by David Rogers, a member of Idaho's Nez Perce tribe and program manager of the Circle Project/Tribal Resources Grant Program on Monmouth. It will also include a panel of local Native American community members.

But the idea is to bring together anyone - Native American or not - who is interested in or has a viewpoint on topics ranging from treaty rights to bias crime.

"That's one of the reasons for the forum, is to bring people together to learn, and to discuss," Middleton says. "It's not an easy topic sometimes. But different viewpoints are something we're hoping to hear."

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