Letter to the Editor: New ESD board members responsible for recent culture battle

Reader Brian Patrick says the land acknowledgement recognizes the long-standing relationship between the school district and the Muckleshoot Tribe.

Since 2017, the Enumclaw School Board has read the following statement at the beginning of meetings:

“We acknowledge we are gathered upon the ancestral lands of the Seattle area’s Federally Recognized Indian Tribe, the Muckleshoot Tribe, who historically lived throughout the areas between the Cascade Mountains and the Puget Sound, what is also known as the Salish Sea.”

It is stunning to me that one of the first acts of our two new school board members, Paul Fisher and Ron Stouffer was to attempt to stop saying this factual and empowering statement. Read it folks! It is not “virtue signaling” it is simply a statement of fact that recognizes the longstanding relationship between the Muckleshoot Tribe and the school district. The statement was created in collaboration with tribal representatives. The statement is well crafted, educational and nonjudgemental. Reading more into it is projecting your own ideology.

Recently defeated school board candidate, Vivian Cademetori wrote a letter to the editor, claiming that the statement was divisive and created a victim mentality. Read the statement again, folks! It is Cademetori, Fisher and Stouffer who are fanning the flames of culture wars that continue to divide our country.

Acknowledging the reality that we are all on native lands is not in question. What is in question is the motivation of the people who wish to focus on such trivial matters to the detriment of more pressing educational matters. Ms. Cademetori asks “why is it so important that ESD divide people?” It is Cademetori, Fisher and Stouffer who doing the dividing. What’s next, banning books?

Our school district has important tasks: improving curriculum, responsible fiscal management and ensuring we have a district that is inclusive and equitable. I encourage Mr. Fisher and Mr. Stouffer to focus on those items, rather than starting unnecessary culture wars.

Brian Patrick