Catholic School Matters
October 26, 2020
Identity & Mt Rushmore
Earlier this summer, I became aware of a controversy surrounding Mount Rushmore as Native Americans formed blockades and demanded the mountain be returned as one of their sacred sites. They called for a destruction of the stone carvings which seemed outlandish. But in a summer where NASCAR and the state of Mississippi banned the Confederate battle flag and the Washington football team dropped its native mascot, perhaps not. I set out to learn more about how the Mount Rushmore controversy fit into the larger questions of appropriating identity which emerged this summer after the killing of George Floyd.
I’ve been a fan of Mount Rushmore my whole life. Below is a picture of the Uhl family posing in front of the monument in the 1970s. Three years ago, I took my version of the Uhl family to South Dakota for a vacation and we stopped for a tour. It’s an amazing monument. I’m aware of controversies surrounding native mascots at Catholic schools (see map here) and petitions surrounding native mascots. But I wasn’t aware that many Native Americans are offended by the desecration of their sacred mountains to create a monument to American presidents.
What does this have to do with Catholic schools, you ask? Well, Catholic schools operated boarding schools in reservations that suppressed Native identity and were sometimes sites of horrible abuses, for one, and many other Catholic schools also benefited from slave labor (or even owned slaves). So there is complicity to this awful history. And we need to make sure that we are attentive to the identity issues so that we can avoid making the same mistakes and perhaps making up for past misdeeds.
Mount Rushmore won’t be the last controversy. The sooner we can come to grips with how America has destroyed and appropriated identity and meaning at the expense of minority groups, the sooner we can begin to build a better country.
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Dr. Tim Uhl
Teaching & Learning
Catholic School Matters podcast
Wednesday on the Catholic School Matters podcast marks the long-awaited arrival of George Couros to the podcast. I've been trying to get George on the podcast for years! The prolific, blogger, teacher, author, podcaster, and education influencer joins me for a wide-ranging conversation about education during the pandemic.
Check out the past episodes from this season:
- Oct 21st: Dr. Christian Dallavis from Partnership Schools
- Oct 14th: Fr. Eric Ramirez, SJ from Regis Jesuit HS
- Oct 7th: Dr. Debbie Sullivan & FADICA reports
- Sep 30th: John Galvan from the Diocese of San Diego
- Sep 23rd: Elizabeth Goettl, CEO, Cristo Rey Network
- Sep 16th: Dr. Tim McNiff of Engineering Tomorrow.
- Sep 2nd: Dr. Brandi Odom Lucas of Verbum Dei (Cristo Rey) HS
- August 26th: Jenny Oliver, the principal of St. Joe's in Auburn, CA
- August 26th: Br. John Montgomery, FSC, the principal of Cathedral High in Los Angeles
- August 26th: Leanne Geise, president of Dominican High in Wisconsin
- August 19, 2020 Bea Kaleva (MT attorney) on COVID-related legal issues
- August 12, 2020 Dr. Daryl Hagan of the Diocese of Evansville on reopening
What I'm Reading
The Last 5 Books:
- 101 Questions & Answers on Catholic Social Teaching, 2nd ed. (2013) by Kenneth R. Himes.
- Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism (2020) by Anne Applebaum.
- The Practice of Adaptive Leadership (2009) by Ron Heifetz & Marty Linsky
- Friedman's Fables (1990) by Edwin H. Friedman
- I Want to See: What the Story of Blind Bartimaeus Teaches Us (2017) by Roc O'Connor, SJ
Click this link for a full list of my professional reading
Past Issues of Catholic School Matters
Oct 19, 2020 "The Cleveland Partnership"
Oct 5, 2020 "Governance Reform"
Sep 28, 2020 "Autonomy & Radar"
Sep 21, 2020 "Learning While Doing"
Sep 14, 2020 "Connecting the Disconnected"
Aug 31, 2020 "Racial Injustice"
Aug 24, 2020 "Figuring it Out"
Aug 17, 2020 Serenity Prayer
May 24, 2020 Value Proposition During Uncertain Times
For previous newsletters, click this link