Berlin graduate hopes voters become educated before election

To the Editor,

It’s time to make clear the real facts about our continuing the Berlin Indian tradition. First a mention that Lee Born, Michele Cassidy and myself, David E. Gneiser, are challenging three incumbent board members in the April 7 election. All three of us consider this matter settled and there are more pressing educational issues facing Berlin School District. Unfortunately, a few insist on pressing their views, instead of also moving on.

1. The assumption that the 78 percent of residents who didn’t participate don’t care if Berlin Indians remains the team name or not is totally inaccurate. There were many reasons people who did want to keep the Berlin Indian didn’t participate, from missing the deadline, to not knowing how to go about getting codes for additional voting-age family members, to many who found it just too inconvenient and time-consuming to find a computer with internet access. The most important fact is that the response to the survey was larger than the typical turnout for school board elections, according to Bob Eidahl, district superintendent. 

2. Tribal councils do not represent all Native Americans. Many people with Native American heritage favor retaining Indians, Braves, Warriors, Chiefs, etc. including Pete Nicholas, who serves on the Save the Berlin Indian committee, as well as many other Berlin alumni with Native American heritage. Sam Hall, our attorney, is half Cherokee. I can cite many, many situations where elected officials do not represent the majority, including right now in Washington DC.

3. Then there is the Fryberg study claiming harm to students. Examine Fryberg’s methodology and Study One consists of 30 girls, 18 boys. Study Two consists of 41 girls and 30 boys. Anyone should realize a “scientific study” based upon a tiny sample is not valid. Further, Fryberg is of Native American heritage. 

4. Previously, a school district was pre-judged to be guilty of racism and required to prove its innocence under the unconstitutional Act 250. Under the new law, we are presumed innocent and the burden of proof rests with the accusers, who must hire their own lawyers and present actual evidence of racism. 

Given that Berlin does not have racial problems, no racially created incidents in our local police files, there is no case to be made. Further, the citizens of Berlin School District are owed an apology for past besmirching of our reputations as “racists”.

5. All of this leads to the glaringly obvious conclusion that Tom Sobieski lost his baseless crusade. One of school sports’ valuable life lessons is when you lose, you go across the gym or playing field, extend your hand to congratulate the winners. And then you move on.

We, the winners, await that apology, that congratulations, and you moving on to more important goals. 

/s/ David E. Gneiser, proud 1970 Berlin High School graduate