School district on reservation in Montana condemns racist pro-Trump tshirts

No Room For Racism: Native Generational Change rallies in Polson, Montana, on October 1, 2016. Photo by Dustin Monroe

A public school district on the Flathead Reservation in Montana took action after students showed up wearing t-shirts with racist, pro-Donald Trump slogans last week.

According to news reports, one shirt read "White Power" on the front and "Trump 2016 White Pride" on the back. Another displayed a Confederate with the word "Redneck" on the front and a pro-Trump slogan on the back.

In a press release, the Polson School District called the September 29 incident "inexcusable." The students -- two juniors at Polson High School appear to have been involved -- were ordered to change out of the shirts, The Missoulian reported

"As a district we are disappointed in the actions of those few students and will take appropriate action based on our policies and procedures, which may include discipline for the individual students," the press release stated.

#PolsonMontana #HighSchool #nativelivesmatter

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The Flathead Reservation is home to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes but they are largely outnumbered by non-Indians because their lands were opened up to allotment in the early 1900s. As the tribe has slowly reclaimed its territory and asserted its treaty-protected rights, some residents and politicians -- fueled by anti-Indian figures from out-of-state -- have pushed back.

One of Donald Trump's foreign policy advisers, in fact, filed an outlandish lawsuit that sought to prevent the tribe from taking control of a dam within reservation boundaries. Without providing any evidence, the attorney claimed the "Islamic Government" of Turkey was somehow tied to the effort.

A second attorney on the case was linked to anti-Indian groups by the Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights.

Both of the attorneys are based outside of Montana. The leader of one anti-Indian group even moved to Montana specifically to fight the tribe on water rights and other issues.

"The Confederate flag and slogan 'White Power' are symbols of hate and intolerance, Caitlin Borgmann, the executive director of the ACLU of Montana, said in a statement "This incident sadly reflects how we are failing our children in teaching them mutual tolerance and respect for those of different backgrounds."

In hopes of promoting tolerance, Native Generational Change organized a rally outside of Polson High School on Friday night. More than 100 people -- most of them youth -- attended, according to the group's founder Dustin Monroe.

"I was blessed to see the youth take back their community and speak of unity," Moore wrote on the group's Facebook page.

Read More on the Story:
Social media erupts after Polson student wears 'white power' shirt to school (The Missoulian 10/1)
'White pride' shirts prompt Polson protest (The Kalispell Daily Inter Lake 9/30)
"Color Wars" day turns controversial at Polson High School (KPAX 9/30)
Rally For Racial Understanding At Polson High's Homecoming Game (Montana Public Radio 10/2)

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