Respectfully submitted by Barb Dalton, Lakewood.
On Monday November 29, 2021 I was saddened to read the first notice that our CP Warrior had fallen victim to being cancelled. While in the same Suburban Times there was an amazing article on how the Nisqually Tribe is using the recent request for a name change to Fort Steilacoom Park as a time to educate and inform the visitors that come to Fort Steilacoom Park of their rich history here in Lakewood using visual displays. I was confused by the fact that the Clover Park High School Administration chose to eliminate our CP Warrior versus educating the community and standing up for something that they believed in and would represent fairly when challenged. My confusion led me to learn more on the legislation regarding this name change.
Here are some points in the the bill brought forward by state Legislature Representative Debra Lekanoff that I found of interest. “The ban does not apply to schools on tribal lands or to schools adjacent to Native American areas as long as the nearest tribe is consulted and authorizes the use of the name.” There is also a fiscal note attached to the bill which notes that…costs to school districts would vary based on the number of items that would need to be replaced including sports and club uniforms, flags, banners and other materials. It goes on to state that the proposed law creates a grant program to help support schools that incur costs related to the proposed change.
This information caused me to ask the question – did the Clover Park School Board request that the Clover Park District Administration approach the Nisqually Tribe to discuss the use of the CP Warrior, what did the tribal leadership find offensive and was there any middle ground that could be negotiated. I understand that the Warrior imagery in the incorrect headdress and clothing is not representative of the Nisqually Tribe or any NW tribe and may be found objectionable . I am not certain that the tribal leadership would find the word “warrior” offensive considering Chief Leshi’s story as one of their most notable warriors. It would be of interest to read the letter that was sent to the Tribal leadership and to see their response to understand what the Nisqually tribe finds objectionable with the CP Warrior since the imagery does not have the impact on the students, staff and community that eliminating the word “warrior” does.
After reading the article on November 29, 2021 and today plus talking to others about this, friends have said that the decision is final, that the school board will have no comment and that the district is moving forward despite anything that students, staff or community says or does and the administration will not even consider keeping the name “warrior”.
But, wait – there is a silver lining in this situation of eliminating a piece of Clover Park’s rich history – while the story of how the CP Warrior sustained and invigorated Clover Park High School during the great and not so great years – the sports teams and clubs finally have a financial opportunity in the form of a grant to purchase much needed uniforms and other materials which they have so desperately needed and requested at Clover Park High School for many years and have not been provided the funding.
I am only sorry that our two CP warriors who played many sports while at CP, who believe in the “Warrior Spirit” and graduated from Clover Park High School as proud warriors are reading and hearing that as a warrior that they were “inappropriate”.