By Julianne Jennings
The "white washing" of history, represented by the American flag, also creates an opportunity for conflict for American Indian youth. For some, it reminds them of their social position in their schools and in public as a vanquished race; affecting school performance and self-esteem. Most classroom educators do not provide discussion on acknowledgement procedures and how it has restored many Indian tribes. Tribes have their own flags taking great pride in their culture and their continued existence for thousands of years that has had many influences on modern-day American culture. The lack of public presentation of American Indian flags should be viewed as racist and as an illegal denial of Indian civil rights and sovereign status.
If we are trying to add balance to the discourse and presentation of our collective history, I would like to suggest hanging tribal flags (tribes who occupy a particular state) on public buildings and schools along with the U.S. and state flag as a conscious effort towards inclusivity for its sovereign neighbors. For example, The State of Rhode Island could post the U.S., state and Narragansett Tribe (the principle people of Rhode Island) flags together on one pole.
Below: Tribal flags at the NMAI.