By Archie L. Thomas & Merry E. Schrumpf, Corvallis
We are saddened and offended by the public death of our community values, respect and common courtesy as revealed in recent discussions with Native Americans at the hands of our county commissioners and planning board chairman.
Many within this community worship a carpenter under the symbol of a cross and others’ forefathers followed Brigham Young across the western wilderness to settle by a little known salt lake. Would we individually or as a community be insulted if asked, “Why do we worship a carpenter or why this cross symbol anyway? Aren’t there billions of other slats of wood to worship? And how enlightening is it to settle in a desert by a salt lake? Why do members of our community get drunk at Darby Logger Days, Bitter Root Brew Fest, or the Creamery Picnic? And how does this behavior affect Havre, Montana during discussions with a native people our population displaced at gun point over a hundred years ago?” Should we be asking ourselves, what is the difference or similarity between this approach to local governance and the racist environment of the 1960s in Mississippi?
As appalling as these insensitive religious and racist statements are by public officials, the same statements are amplified tenfold by the silence of the other public officials present who did not object.
This is not the first nor will it be the last time citizens will come before this commission with a “good heart” only to find “bad faith.”