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Letter to the editor: Comments 'degrading,' says FDLTCC board

The Fond du Lac Tribal College Board of Directors (FDLTCBOD) finds the comments made by a sitting Wrenshall school board member regarding our American Indian ancestors disrespectful and degrading. The comments made by the school board member were in reaction to redoing a school parking lot and a question: “What if they dig up bones?” The board member responded that “I have a plan for that. Fence it off and bring in all the dogs from the dog pound. There won’t be any bones left.” The reference to finding bones was made in connection to the Fond du Lac site located near Duluth — a site where many ancestor graves were unearthed.

We encourage and support the efforts and work of dedicated teachers, staff, community members and administrators of the Wrenshall School that create, sustain and provide an atmosphere conducive to learning.

A learning that has as its foundation diversity and connection, inclusion and engagement, and reflection. We, like many educators, believe in providing an education free from discrimination. We also believe that disrespectful racial comments create misunderstanding that undermines not only the education setting but impacts the larger community as well.

One of many interdependent and interrelated cultural standards of the American Indian Studies program offered at the Fond du Lac Tribal & Community College is to encourage students’ acceptance of the diversity within their school, community and environment by developing healthy, caring relationships built on respect for all. We ask that all community members reflect on this worldview and to advance respect for all — both past and present.

The FDLTCBOD has received a letter of apology from the Wrenshall school board member who made the comments. The letter of apology was addressed to the Fond du Lac Band of Chippewa People.

Fond du Lac Tribal College Board of Directors

Source: Comments by Wrenshall school board members were reported in the Pine Knot News newspaper published Friday, July 15, 2022. An article in that edition reported the exchange of comments made by school board members during a Wrenshall school board meeting of the whole on Aug. 11, 2021.