Tribe honors those who seek to stop racism

LITTLE BOSTON — Charlie Poole and Roman Ives were honored Sunday for claiming their place at the table.

The two received awards from the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe’s Anti-racism Committee for their tireless efforts in combating racism.

Poole was nominated for his volunteerism, his work with Spectrum students and work on the Human Rights Council. One year Poole also took a group of students for a month-long trip to Siberia.

“He has provided a voice for students who do not fit into the traditional school system,” said Sheryl Scott, chairwoman of the committee. She read from the nomination form submitted by Phil Davis.

Poole said when he was younger he used to worry about feeling good about doing good things, but with age he has learned to accept it.

“We’re made to feel that way. We’re supposed to feel good,” Poole said after accepting a certificate and carved canoe paddle.

Davis, one of last year’s award recipients, also nominated Spectrum student Roman Ives.

Davis lauded Ives’ willingness to address racism in the schools and speak about his experience. Ives spoke to school officials not out of anger at those who discriminated against him, but so younger students wouldn’t encounter the same obstacles he did.

“My grandma has taught me to be a leader,” he said.

Kees Napoleon, also nominated for the youth award was given a certificate of appreciation.

The seventh annual Honoring Lunch held at the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribal Center featured John Boonstra of the Washington Association of Churches who encouraged everyone to step up to the table.

“Today we can’t have unity in the community unless we grieve for what is broken,” he said. As members of a community we must commit to meeting people, building relationships with them and bringing different views to the table.

The Tribal Anti-racism Committee is “dedicated to work with schools to help develop meaningful policies and results that diminish racism.”

According to a November 2001 Native American Education District profile, there are 435 Native American students, about 7 percent of the school district’s population.

The committee meets four times a year with subcommittees that meet more often. To join the committee or for information call(360) 297-2646.

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