By the time he earned his doctorate, DaShanne had already established himself as a thought leader with insightful views on a range of important social and political issues. I can't wait to see what he does next." --Dr. Mike Friedman, clinical psychologist, Psychology Today and Huffington Post contributor
Dr. Stokes reveals the depth of injustice waged upon those who have been marginalized and who might be otherwise left silenced if not for courageous voices, like his." --Amanda H.L. Transue-Woolston, speaker and author of "The Declassified Adoptee"
DaShanne's fresh perspective and unique experience challenges our preconceptions and leads us to think more deeply about today's social problems and illuminates important means to address them." --Dr. C. Richard King, author of "Redskins: Insult and Brand" and "Beyond Hate: White Power and Popular Culture"
SELECTED PRESS CLIPS
Powerful, inspirational, and known for digging deep beneath the surface, it's easy to see why Dr. DaShanne Stokes has been quoted in everything from newspapers and books to academic journals and religious sermons. Collected below is a sample of Dr. Stokes' press clips from selected newspapers, major blogs and websites. For a more complete listing of media and other sources quoting Dr. Stokes, please see his media page.
Rocky Mount Telegram:
HB2 Is About Abuse of Power, Deception
April 30, 2016
Dr. Stokes was quoted in a letter to the editor published in the Rocky Mount Telegram detailing how claims about "religious freedom" have been used in support of North Carlonina House Bill 2 (HB 2) as a smokescreen to perpetuate discrimination against LGBT people. An excerpt from the letter, entitled "HB2 is About Abuse of Power, Deception," is reprinted below:
HB2 is no more about the use of bathrooms than splitting the school system along county lines is about funding. It's about the abuse of power and deception. DaShanne Stokes hit the nail on the head when he said, "When we hide discrimination under the guise of religious freedom, we make a mockery of human rights."
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Pittsburgh Reaction on Scouts' Gay Policy Mixed
August 1, 2015
DaShanne Stokes was quoted in an article by Luke Nozicka of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about the problems confronting the LGBT community despite the Boy Scouts' celebrated policy change. An excerpt from the article, entitled "Pittsburgh Reaction on Scouts' Gay Policy Mixed," is excertped below:
Nearly 80 percent of the 57 National Executive Board members who cast ballots Monday voted to approve the new policy, allowing gay men to become troop leaders. But church-run units are still able to turn down gays applying for leadership roles if it violates their beliefs, a provision that DaShanne Stokes, an Eagle Scout, author and civil rights activist who lives in Pittsburgh, says won't change much in the long haul.
Mr. Stokes called the new policy "a monumental step back" in his July 20 op-ed on LGBT-interest magazine Advocate.com, saying chartering organizations can still discriminate against LGBT adults...
Mr. Stokes, 37, who has taught about human rights and social justice at the University of Pittsburgh, where he is working toward his doctorate in sociology, said the 105-year-old organization - which has suffered from a declining number of members - may have decided on the change to make it appear more inclusive."
The Daily Item:
BSA Decision Not Really A Decision
July 27, 2015
DaShanne's article, "Why the Boy Scouts' New Policy Still Discriminates," was quoted in an editorial by The Daily Item. An excerpt from the editorial, entitled "BSA Decision Not Really A Decision," is excertped below:
Opponents and proponents of the change argue that, as Eagle Scout and gay rights activist Dashanne Stokes wrote last week in The Advocate, the "new policy is a PR-savvy half-measure." Indeed, both sides have a legitimate arguments about this latest policy.
Supporters of gay rights will argue allowing local chapters to ignore the policy is not a step forward for equal rights. Those in the Scouts? corner wonder what will be the legal and financial ramifications if a church-sponsored organization does deny access to a gay volunteer.
"The new policy lets them have it both ways," Stokes wrote. "It's a step forward for liberals and those of us who seek change but stops short of creating the kind of real change that would further alienate the BSA's conservative core."
The Charlotte Observer:
A Merit Test for the Boy Scouts of America
July 27, 2015
DaShanne's article, "Why the Boy Scouts' New Policy Still Discriminates," was quoted in an editorial by The Charlotte Observer. An excerpt from the editorial, entitled "A Merit Test for the Boy Scouts of America," is excertped below:
In a concession to churches, however, the group still plans to let church-based units choose adult leaders whose beliefs are consistent with their own. That doesn't sit well with some gay rights advocates. DaShanne Stokes, an Eagle Scout and gay rights activist, wrote in The Advocate that the new policy is a PR-savvy half-measure. It does represent progress for gays, he said, but it lets local Scout groups keep discriminating while letting the national office off the hook legally.
"The new policy lets them have it both ways," he wrote. "It's a step forward for liberals and those of us who seek change but stops short of creating the kind of real change that would further alienate the BSA's conservative core."
**This editorial has been reprinted in numerous papers, including The Herald Sun, The Washington Times, The Dispatch/Argus, The Record-Courier, The Daily Advance, The Bradenton Herald, The Island Packet and Beaufort Gazette, The Mount Airy News, The Manistee News Advocate, The Sun News, The News & Observer, and The Daily Reflector.
United Airlines Apologizes After Claim of Discrimination
May 31, 2015
DaShanne's "tweet about Tahera Ahmad," expressing strong disapproval of the discriminatory treatment of Tahera Ahmad while on a United Airlines flight, was quoted in an article by Sydney Moorhead. His quote is excerpted below. You can read the full article, entitled "United Airlines Tells Muslim Woman An Unopened Can Of Soda Could Be Used As A Weapon" on Kicker.
The Good Men Project:
The Racism of Ethnic Team Names and Mascots
April 19, 2015
DaShanne's article, "Time to Stop Playing Cowboys and Indians," was quoted in a piece published in The Good Men Project entitled "What Does it Mean to Tell an Indian, 'Go Back to the Reservation'?". His quote is excerpted below.
"A recent study (2011)... shows that many people, in fact, do not distinguish between their feelings between stereotypical Native mascots and actual, living, breathing, Native American people. Such mascots engender a racially hostile environment."
Huffington Post & Philadelphia Inquirer:
Racism Hurts Everyone
December 31, 2014 and January 1, 2015
Racism hurts everyone, including racists themselves."
On "Political Correctness" and Fighting Discrimination
December 9, 2014
Never one to be confused as a foaming-at-the-mouth right winger (such as myself) author and professional student DaShanne Stokes once correctly stated, "People often call fighting discrimination being 'PC' because they don't want their own unearned privileges challenged."
Indian Country Today Media Network:
On Religious Freedom Denied to State-Recognized Tribes
September 18, 2014
DaShanne's op-ed, "The Eagle Feather Law and State Recognized Tribes," was highlighted in an article published in Indian Country Today Media Network written by former staff attorney and legal studies professor Peter d'Errico. A portion of d'Errico's article, entitled "Connect the Dots: Mascots, Feathers, Termination... Domination," is excerpted below.
Other issues present similar opportunities to dig beneath the surface to the deeper structural questions. For example, DaShanne Stokes's column about the 5th Circuit U.S. Appeals Court August 2014 decision that struck down a federal law restricting eagle feathers to federally-recognized tribes.
Referring to recurring tensions between federal and state "recognized tribes," DaShanne wrote: "Federally recognized tribes should support state tribes on this. After all, if the 1940s to 1960s Termination era is any indication, federally recognized tribes are by no means immune from the threat of losing their recognition status. During Termination, over 100 tribes had their federal recognition status terminated."
By pointing to the "termination" era, DaShanne reminded us of the dominating framework of federal Indian law, which presumes that the U.S. Congress has power to destroy the independent status of any Indian nation. That presumption erupted crudely in the "termination" laws that attacked the sovereignty of many Native nations. The eagle feather restrictions express the same presumption of federal superiority. By understanding this, we not only get DaShanne's point, we position ourselves to be alert to other examples of institutionalized racism based on religious discrimination against Indians."
Hertfordshire Law Journal:
Native Americans and the Eagle Feather Law
Vol. 6, Number 2, 2014
Zia Akhtar quoted DaShanne's article "Time for New Eagle Feather Law" in a scholarly journal article appearing in the Hertfordshire Law Journal. An portion of the article, entitled "Native Americans and the Eagle Feather Law," is excerpted below.
In a recent article entitled New Eagle Feather Law, DaShanne Stokes, the director of the public advocacy group Religious Freedom with Raptors has called the original enrolment process as flawed and stereotypical. He wants a more broad based system that will allow for the exchange of feathers with non native peoples to be enacted.
The problems that the Eagle feather law creates are immeasurable. The law creates a value system for bloodlines that creates and sustains in fighting that is rampantly tearing apart families and cultural ties on many reservations. The law creates racial barriers for those who wish to adopt non-Natives into Native families. The law also makes it impossible for tribes that remain officially "un recognised" since the 1950s 'termination era' to preserve traditional customs. Many people do not know how problematic the eagle feather law really is. To possess eagle feathers , citizens must be able to prove their ethnicity and only individuals of certifiable Indian ancestry enrolled in a federally recognised tribe are authorized to obtain permits. Those caught without permits face imprisonment and fines up to $ 25,000 for practicing their religion.
But there is a problem. Falsification of state records in what has been termed "paper genocide" has artificially decreased the true number of indigenous people in the US and terminated the "official" existence of many tribes. Consequently, many Native Americans cannot be found on the Dawes Rolls (the major determinant of tribal enrolment and application for an eagle permit) and many tribes are unable to win federal recognition. As a result, many people lose access to eagles and the ability to practice and preserve traditional customs otherwise protected for "recognised" tribes and their members.
While there are many forms this new law might take, it is critical that we replace the race requirement of tribal enrolment. One promising option would be the creation of a Certificate of Religious Participation endorsed by a tribal member or spiritual leader. This certificate would replace the tribal enrolment requirement while ensuring that only approved participants in bona fide Native American customs are eligible to receive eagle permits. This allows for direct oversight of eagle feathers to ensure that feathers and ceremonies will not be abused. The certificate would also give legal protection to those Native Americans who wish to exercise their right to include others of their choosing in traditional customs involving eagle feathers. The certificate would also ensure that applications for eagles are reviewed on a case-by-case basis - ensuring that applicants are judged on factors that have traditionally governed eagle feather distribution, such as personal merit and individual character - rather than skin colour."
Indian Country Today Media Network:
On Eagles and Native American Religious Freedom
July 13, 2013
DaShanne's work as the former director of Religious Freedom with Raptors was featured in an article by attorney Halie Geller in her article, "Feather Dust-up: Why the DOJ Feather Policy Must Change." A portion of the article is excerpted below.
Efforts to address the exclusion are beginning to mount as non-federally recognized tribes and individuals feel that their freedom of religion is being impinged. Representatives of several non-federally recognized tribes such as the Waccamaw Tribe of South Carolina and the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina have spoken out, claiming that their right to possess eagle feathers should not be dependent on their recognition status. Additionally, previous to the DOJ clarification, Religious Freedom with Raptors (RFR), an advocacy group dedicated to improving the eagle feather law, authored proposed amendments to the federal eagle permit regulations under 50 CFR 22, which would grant Native Americans not affiliated with federally recognized tribes the same rights as those of federally recognized tribes with respect to eagle feathers.
DaShanne Stokes, activist and former director of RFR, stated that efforts to gain support for the RFR amendments within Congress have not been as productive as hoped. "The eagle law is such a hot button issue, so divisive, and the majority of people who stand to benefit from changing it are geographically dispersed and have little influence, resources, or power on their side," says Stokes. "In my experience, most people who want to change the law are so afraid that they don't want to say or do anything out of fear of arrest."
The Yankton Press and Dakotan:
Profile: "Lobbying Against Eagle Feather Possession Law"
February 25, 2006
DaShanne's work as the former director of Religious Freedom with Raptors was featured in a piece in the Yankton Press and Dakotan, entitled "Monday Is Launch Date Of Web Site Lobbying Against Eagle Feather Possession Law." A portion of the article is excerpted below.
Monday, Feb. 27, marks the launch date of Religious Freedom with Raptors (RFR), an educational Web site seeking to unify and galvanize a growing movement dedicated to overturning federal eagle feather laws that forbid non-Native Americans from possessing eagle feathers. Laws such as Title 50 Part 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations (50 CFR 22) have been argued in the courts to support racial preferences and discrimination, and many non-Native Americans have been arrested for not possessing a federal eagle permit while practicing their religion.
RFR was founded by DaShanne Stokes, a graduate of the University of South Dakota, to educate the public about the segregationist effects of the laws forbidding non-Native Americans from following Native American religions and cultural practices. In order to acquire and possess the feathers under current law, religious practitioners are required to obtain certification from the Bureau of Indian Affairs that the applicant is an enrolled member of a federally-recognized Indian tribe and obtain an eagle feather permit from the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife bearing the endorsement of an authorized tribal religious official. Eagle feathers are central to many indigenous religious practices and have been compared to the Christian Bible and crucifix."