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Letter: Questions the community should be asking

When I picked up the Sept. 15 edition, I was so pleased to see that the Pioneer was tackling a substantive community issue -- homelessness. However, my feeling is that this piece was not one of solid, investigative journalism but rather a sensational piece about Native American chemical dependency problems. Rather than preach, I have a few questions that we, as a community, should be asking ourselves:

• Are there just as many, if not more, caucasian people in our community who are homeless as a result of chemical dependency, domestic abuse, job loss, poverty or mental illness?

• What do you think a stereotypical article like this does to the native young people who read it? Do you think it further damages their self-esteem, as they do the hard work to make it in this world?

• A proud native culture and history makes our region unique. Why can't we read more about this in our newspaper?

• What is wrong with a culture that makes more fuss over an insult to a Paul Bunyan statue than it does over discrimination in our town?

And, now, I have one more comment about the revelation of the partying firemen who abused Butch before he was found lying dead in Lake Bemidji. Even though there were witnesses to this incident, these firemen remain "unknown." If this had been my son, father or friend, I would move heaven and earth to find out who these firemen are, and I would do it. And I would not have to fight against discrimination, as our Native Americans do, to get it done.

Gretchen Larson

Bemidji

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