HELENA – The ACLU released a statement on Thursday regarding the controversial Vigilante Parade float.
The organization that works to combat racial discrimination in Montana said, “The racially inflammatory costumes and behavior,” perpetuating, the Native American stereotypes, from the float are unacceptable.
The buffalo jump float controversy started after a Helena resident, who is also a member of the Navajo Nation posted on Facebook her concerns that the float was insensitive to Native Americans.
“I saw non-native students dressed up as Native Americans and my first thought was ‘well that’s clearly the definition of redface,’” Meg Singer said.
The ACLU called on the Helena Public Schools administration, in their statement, to review their approval policy for floats for the vetting process. “While student participation in a tradition that is meant to honor Montana’s history is laudable, it is the responsibility of the school district to ensure that the parade does not marginalize or misrepresent Native communities, heritage, or contributions to this state.”
The organization said the controversy is a great example of the need to have a community conversation about race, discrimination and, “What honoring the history of our Indigenous friends and neighbors actually means,” adding that the Helena Public Schools can facilitate the conversation.
The statement was not only supported by the ACLU but several other groups signed it. The complete list below:
Montana Human Rights Network
ACLU of Montana
Extreme History Project
Montana Women Vote
Montana Racial Equity Project
Montana Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence
Montana Immigrant Justice Alliance
For more information and to read the complete statement click here.