Oskie Yasana

“In my lifetime, people of color were legally discriminated against,” former Marshfield High School English teacher Oskie Yasana said in her speech.
The retired English teacher returned to the classroom as a guest speaker to talk about one of her favorite books, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, to Catherine Hampton’s freshman English classes.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is a story written by Sherman Alexie which was based on true events in his lifetime. Yasana came to share her view on racism, stereotypes and to give information about Indians and her own personal experiences.

“Sherman’s book hit it right on,” Yasana said.

The presentations included some things she had talked about to her students when she taught the book in her years teaching, but she said she went into more depth and did things a little differently.

With each class, she shared information on the nine Indian tribes in Oregon, including the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw which she belongs to.

Yasana said many students were unaware that each tribe believes in its own coming-up story and has different customs and ways of life. She also talked about how she has experienced prejudice here in Coos Bay, Oregon, how Indians are portrayed in Hollywood versus how they actually live in the real world along with many other stories and information.

Freshman Hannah Kirk is one of many to receive the presentation. Overall, Yasana said the students were very attentive, nice and honest.

“I think it will give kids a different view of racism,” Kirk said, “whether it changes things or not.”