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Day: May 26, 2017

Petco ‘safari’ display draws ire

Of the Keizertimes

Dr. Debbie LaCroix walked into the Keizer Station Petco last week and stopped in her tracks when she saw a merchandise display near the front entrance.

The collection is labeled “Pets on Safari” with a sign specially made for the merchandise table. It includes a variety of stuffed animals and chew toys alongside the largest item on the table, a teepee-shaped pet house.

“I froze, it was just so incongruent with what they are trying to promote. You would never see that kind of thing in relation to Hispanic or black communities,” said LaCroix, a former teacher at Chemawa Indian School.

The $80 teepee was an affront to LaCroix’s heritage as a member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Dakota Oyate. An oyate means a people or nation in some Native American dialects. Placing the product near a “safari” sign brings up supposedly by-gone notions of Native Americans as savages.

“I think it is important that people know it would be like putting a cathedral or synagogue there. They would find that sacrilegious. The spiritual and religious significance of the teepee is the same to us.,” LaCroix said.

LaCroix, who lives in south Salem, said she still does most of her shopping at Keizer Station and is a frequent Petco customer. LaCroix said she talked with the assistant manager and store manager at the store, but felt her complaints were falling on deaf ears.

“It frustrates me as a Native educator that this kind of thinking and perspective isn’t given a second thought,” she said.

She felt as though some action might be taken after talking with someone from a Petco corporate headquarters, but the display featuring the teepee was still in the front of the store on Tuesday, May 23. The teepee is also featured under the keyword “safari” at Keizertimes reached out to the Petco press office, but had not received a response by press time.

Teepees are more than just a catch-all emblem of all Native American cultures, La Croix said. Many native nations didn’t even use teepees.

“When a teepee is put together, the poles are cut from certain kinds of trees and those represent values like humility, honor, respect, family, generosity. There are prayers that are said as it is being put up. Some are ceremonial and some are homes. There are even certain ways to enter a teepee,” she said.

LaCroix hasn’t sworn off shopping at Petco, but she wants others to understand the ramifications of even “innocently displayed” items like a pet teepee.

“We’re trying to educate people on sensitivity and we can’t heal the wounds or racial divides unless people are aware of what is wrong,” LaCroix said.

Salang wins gold

Of the Keizertimes

Since placing seventh at the state track and field meet as a sophomore, Leilani Salang had pictured herself climbing up the podium until the day she arrived to the top.

With a nearly 10-foot PR in the discus, Thursday, May 18 was that day as the Blanchet Catholic senior and Keizer resident won the 3A state championship at Hayward Field in Eugene.

“I had visualized it many times,” Salang said of winning the state title. “I had thought about it the night before, walking from the seventh place podium though every step getting all the way to the top. It felt so good, just accomplishing my goal.”

With a throw of 125-11 at districts, Salang entered the state tournament as the favorite. But a newspaper story posted on one of her challenger’s Instagram pages gave Salang extra motivation.

“She (Jordynn Slater) had gone to her local paper, the Bend Bulletin, and she told them she was going to be the next girl to win all three throwing events, only the third in history,” Salang said. “It was a little overzealous. It’s not something I would ever do, especially call it when you’re not ranked first in all of the events.”

After throws of 115-07, 117-01, 117-02, Salang trailed Slater going into finals. With only three discus throws remaining in her high school career, Salang thought of her cousin who was recently diagnosed with brain cancer.

“I wanted to win it and dedicate it to him,” Salang said. “I just thought of him and he’s sitting in the hospital. That inspired me and gave me that extra push.”

In her first attempt in finals, Salang threw the discus so far that she didn’t comprehend the correct number. Instead of 139 feet, the actual distance, Salang thought she heard 130 feet, nine inches.

Either would have been enough to top Slater, who placed a distant second at 124-03.

“When I threw it, it didn’t really feel like a hard throw,” Salang said.

“It felt effortless, like the disc just released out of my hand. It all just felt really good and really smooth. I don’t actually remember letting go of it. I think I just had so much momentum that it just left my hand. When I released it, I didn’t even watch it go out. I looked down to make sure that my feet were still in and that I hadn’t scratched.”

For good measure, Salang cranked out a 129-04 on her final throw.

Salang got on the podium three more times before her final high school track and field meet was over.

Individually, she placed third in the shot put with a throw of 37-11.5 and eighth in the javelin at 107-08. Salang, Emily Collier, Trinity Phipps and Bailey Hittner set a new school record of 51.30 to finish sixth in the 4×100 relay.

Salang’s younger sister, Kalea, a sophomore, placed sixth in both the shot put and discus.

“She pushes me,” Leilani said. “When she’s having a good day, I have to have a better day because I don’t want to get beat by her. It’s all fun.”

As a team, Blanchet placed second, finishing only five points behind state champion Cascade Christian.

“We don’t even have a track (on campus) so finishing second overall is pretty amazing,” Salang said.

Van Voorhis places third in 400-meters

Of the Keizertimes

As a freshman and then again as a sophomore, Brendan Van Voorhis had finished top three at the state track and field meet on relay teams.

As a senior, Van Voorhis got to feel what it’s like individually, winning a bronze medal in the 400-meter run in 49.10 on Saturday, May 20 at Hayward Field.

“It was a good way to end my senior season,” Van Voorhis said.

“This year’s finals heat was insanely fast. Everyone was under 50 seconds. I don’t remember the last time I saw a finals heat that was all under 50 seconds. It was crazy. It was going to be challenge. I didn’t run anything spectacular. I ran a good race.”

In lane seven after running a 49.82 in prelims, it was important for Van Voorhis to get off to a fast start.

“I knew I had to take off fast because everyone was going to be chasing me,” Van Voorhis said.

“I passed the guy in lane eight super quick, probably 15 meters into the race. I just kept running and I didn’t feel anybody near me until the last 100 meters and then that’s when Jake Harthun and Braden Lenzy came up and they passed me on the inside. That was a really long turn to run in lane seven.”

Van Voorhis got off to a rough start in Eugene, failing to qualify for finals in the 100 after finishing 12th in 11.10 in prelims on Friday.

“I twitched before the gun went off,” Van Voorhis said. “I immediately thought I was about to get DQ’d. I came out of the blocks and was expecting the double shot for them to say I got DQ’d but it never came so my start was absolutely horrid. I was just trying to play catch up.”

Van Voorhis was also two spots away from reaching finals of the 200 after placing 10th in prelims in 22.22.

“The 200 was crazy fast this year,” Van Voorhis said. “The 100 I was definitely expecting to do way better than I did. That was really stupid of me to do that but there was nothing I could really do about it. I shook it off. I wasn’t close to being in the finals so I focused on the 400.”

Qualifying for finals in only the 400 also gave Van Voorhis time to rest, unlike the district meet when he ran the 100, 200, 400 and 4×400 relay.

“It was actually kind of nice to just do the 400 in finals because I got to go to the meet and just chill in the stands and watch people run,” Van Voorhis said. “I warmed up, I ran my race and I was able to leave. I didn’t have to manage my recovery system because I didn’t have to recover for another race. It was more relaxed.”