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Stereotype of the Month Entry

Another Stereotype of the Month entry:

Hey Rob, you HAD to be aware of this one....


From the Sunday Mirror:


ASDA are going native to win the latest round of supermarket wars -- by training to be Red Indians.

Groups of up to 50 managers a time will be transferred from the aisles to a huge tepee in the wilds.

There they will spend three days bonding and learning about teamwork, Redskin-style, to pass on to the warriors and squaws working on various counters and the check-out.

It is the first time the company, bought by US firm Walmart last year for pounds 6.7 billion, have adopted such as an unusual approach to training.

It's thought staff need to be ready to compete with their American colleagues.

The ASDA tribe will also come to know the ways of the squirrel, beaver and goose -- creatures whose virtues are held in high esteem by Native Americans.

The only difference is that the geese will be plastic while the squirrels are models stuck among trees painted on the sides of the tepee. There's even a painted lake scene for added effect, while the great tepee itself is a marquee at Ribby Hall Holiday Village near Kirkham, Lancs.

The four hunting lodges complete with Red Indian ornaments and traditional animal hides hanging on the wall are in fact holiday cottages that usually reverberate to the whoops of Northern families on their annual break. ASDA, Britain's third largest food chain, have based the scheme on the best-selling American book Gung Ho, by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles.

They are the first company in the world to adopt the book as their management bible.

Gung Ho custom is based on the spirit of the beaver, squirrel and the goose.

The example of the squirrel shows just how important and worthwhile work is -- such as when they store food for the winter. It is also hoped the executives will be as busy as beavers at the end of the three days.

And according to the custom, geese are great team workers.

Their honking as they fly is a signal of vocal encouragement and praise.

The Gung Ho battle cry adopted by the ASDA teams is: "Don't stop. Never give up. Hold your head up high. You'll reach the top. Let your colleagues see what you have got. Doing it with Gung Ho!"

A total of 800 managers will complete the course by the end of May.

ASDA staff development officer Sue Newton said: "Our aim is to make the courses memorable.

"There are valuable lessons to be learned from team work and motivation."

I am writing in outrage in regard to this terrible newspaper article which appeared in the Sunday Mirror, regarding a "training program"—"ASDA Store Chiefs Go on Warpath."

Those of you in the US can also contact Wal-Mart and voice your complaints on their so called "training programmes" for their staff in the UK, sending them a copy of this page.

The Chairman of ASDA UK is:

A.J. Norman
Asda House, Southbank, Great Wilson Street
Leeds, England, UK
LS11 5AD

ASDA has just been taken over by Wal-Mart US. Wal-Mart's President is Elizabeth A. Sanders and Chairman is E. Stanley Kroenke. E-mail Wal Mart at public@walmart.com.

Here is my email to the customer service person for ADSA.


—— Original Message ——
From: laurelnymph
To: paula.higby@asda.co.uk
Sent: Sunday, March 05, 2000 5:46 PM
Subject: re: the article on your "Red Indian" tactics

After reading the article in the Sunday Mirror, http://www.sundaymirror.co.uk/shtml/NEWS/P21S1.shtml, I must tell you this is a case of extreme bigotry and ignorance. This article is a direct insult to my ancestors and the first peoples of my country. I am totally appalled that you would do this sort of thing. I am sending here also the meaning of the word "squaw" which is used in this article as one of many things I...and others here also of Indian descent...object to. Without proper research...one might argue without proper sense...you have done your best to make white imperialistic attitudes be as ugly as possible again. Trust me the use of "squaw" is one of many problems in this program and this article.

Use of word "squaw"

Warning: This material is very historical, graphic. and hard to handle. As an elder I love often says, we need to learn from the past—all of it—in order to make progress and make sure it does not happen again.

Hmmm...I am no expert by any means, but this the story I have always heard in reference to the word "squaw":

When white men came to the "New World," they demanded women for sex. They kept grabbing their crotches and pointing to the women. Now they did not want to "make love" nor even just have fun and play. They wanted what amounted to rape really. And the word they used was @#%$. They were pointing specifically to and grabbing that part of the women. The word most equivalent is "squaw," referring to a woman's genitals. But, this was not used for good for women purposes as you have just read.

Furthermore, the French began a gruesome custom they called scalping at this same time. But they did not scalp the top hair lock. They scalped the pubic hair from the women and even stretched it out to make coverings for their pillows and saddles and so forth. Some would use the women's breasts as water bags. Human skin was tanned and used as leather. You get the horrid picture, I am sure.

Therefore, to use the word brings much horror and shameful memories to our women. It is not that our women did anything wrong. No, they were innocent victims of atrocities. But, this word, like the term redskins, brings back the most horrible of nightmarish references for us.

Indian people honor the woman, the sacred feminine. The white man does not. He used to many millennia ago. But, for reasons I will not go into in this post, white man chose to follow a socio-political system known as patriarchy. This system does not honor women but rather despises her and all that is equated with her.

Now, I am also aware of some of Indian descent who insist this word is not a dishonor but just means the female ending of words in their language. That is all well and good, but it does not address the issue here at all. In fact, this argument would seem to support the horrors of the use of the word "squaw" in English. The issue does not pertain to the use in the non-English languages of the Algonquin family of languages. The ending was what was chosen to meet the white man's demands and, hence, in English is now a horror and a nightmare as well as a disrespectful term used to describe Indian women.

Always keep in mind that records and history are written by the conquerors. To get what happened to others, you have to be a very clever investigator...and even then, not all has been kept. Much died and was lost.

I hope this is helpful somehow.

Daphne Bradshaw

Related links
Squelching the s-word

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