To the Editor:

“Actions Speak Louder Than Words” and the actions of the Chamber who sponsored Molly Ockett Day and the Parade spoke volumes. The chamber should be very proud of their decision against a
family and their float. It made us disgusted and sad to say the least. The chamber showed on Molly Ockett Day that anything that might make for some uncomfortable feelings or might create
dialogue (as this family’s float did last year) wasn’t going to be allowed in the parade. Perhaps you should go back and read Sam Wheeler’s excellent article in the July 18 Bethel Citizen regarding
Molly Ockett.

If we read correctly, she walked among the whites without fear, healed the whites and her native Indian relatives, she fed those who were hungry, she was a healer, a very humble healer. We celebrate her and have for over 50 years. I imagine (and not speaking for her because we can’t) she would never have treated this family the way they were treated on Molly Ockett Day by those in charge of the event.

When we saw “the banned float” come up Main Street at 10:30 a.m., most people had an idea of what was happening and that was, that someone told them they wouldn’t be able to be in the parade. So they went up Main Street before the parade, circled the common twice and with the strength and resolve and the rights that this family knew they had, they got involved in the parade on their own, even if it meant they would come up at the end. This float got the loudest cheers and clapping when it went by.

This float got the loudest cheers because this family represents what this country is all about. This country is about Freedom. It was their right, whether the chamber and those few who liked it or not, chose to still go through with their freedom of speech and expression. They made us proud. When they went by at the end of the parade, we hollered “best float and good for you for exercising
your rights and freedom” one older person hollered back “we weren’t allowed in the parade” and the young boy, about 12 hollered back “America, Land of the Free”. Well we are glad at least he knows it.

There is a Veterans Honor Roll going up in Bethel, representing one of the five towns this family is from. This honor roll represents exactly what this family displayed today and that was that men and women fought and died for hundreds of years, many left on the battlefields, so they could have the freedom they expressed and also for the people who watched on Molly Ockett Day or any other day. In fact this family’s float flew the American Flag on the same plain as their teepee, high and proud.

We feel that whoever the person or persons was who made the decision that this float could not participate in the parade, should personally apologize to this family, and to the people who cheered this float on for their decision. If not, we apologize to this family for how they were treated.

Craig & Jane Ryerson

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