As a family business, we have worked with Native people as friends and partners for over 60 years. Before the “Chief” sign was first moved to Toh-Atin after we rescued him, we asked the artists we worked if they approved. Nearly every artist we asked voiced their support and no one felt it was offensive. We continue to ask the question.
Native people, overwhelmingly, like the sign. Some people don’t, but in our experience, they are primarily non-Natives. To us, the opinions of the tribal people we work with are what count. The number of emails, texts and calls we have received from people who adamantly want the Chief to stay speaks loudly.
We have received some very nice emails from people who do believe the sign is inappropriate. I appreciate them and honor their feelings, but they aren’t as important to us as the opinions of the people we work with.
This Facebook post showed up July 9: “Either the business and city respond appropriately to this petition, or a campaign will escalate, likely including protests at the sign, pickets and sit-ins at the business, raucous peoples’ occupations of City Council meetings, and if it comes to it, the removal of the statue by direct action. This is their last chance. They are on notice.”
Contrast that with the thoughts of a Navajo weaver: “I love the Chief. My family used to eat at the diner when I was young.”
Jackson Clark IIDurango