The owners and management of the summer camp formerly known as Camp Shi'ini wish to announce some much-needed changes to the camp we love so well. Yesterday, June 21, 2018, we met with some members of the indigenous peoples' community here in the Los Angeles area. We wish to thank them for their patience, their expressions of good will toward the children who attend our camp, their sharing of their perspective, and their suggestions for improving the camp. When we purchased the camp a decade and a half ago, we thought we were purchasing an institutional "brand" in the San Gabriel Valley. The Camp had been in business over 70 years, and many of us had attended it as children. We remembered the camp we loved so well and assumed that the "brand" is what made the camp so memorable.
In our meeting yesterday, two things became clear to us. First, if it was a "brand" we bought, it was a "brand" tainted with a legacy of the racist misappropriation of the rich cultural heritage of indigenous peoples. The "brand" only borrowed the cultural stereotypes that society still holds towards Native Americans. Like all stereotypes, they represented a false narrative about Native American culture. Speaking for ourselves, we never had any intent to offend or stereotype our neighbors. To the extent we have offended you in doing so, we sincerely apologize.
The second thing that became clear to us in yesterday's meeting is that the things we loved about the camp as kids (and as adults and parents), is that campers get to enjoy just being children in a safe environment. Archery, canoeing, horseback riding, swimming, and other activities, while often associated with society's stereotype of Native American culture, are not exclusive to them. More importantly, they are just simply fun to our campers, so there is no logical or legitimate reason to tie them to an offensive "brand."
So, having heard the heartfelt expressions of outrage over the camp's "brand," and understanding how truly offensive to our neighbors that "brand" was, we're going to discard it. As you can tell if you're reading this statement, we've already eliminated all vestiges of the "brand" from our website. We're ordering new t-shirts and emblems for our vehicles. Any activities using misappropriated Native American images will end today. For the remainder of the 2018 summer, we're just going to be "the Camp." While the "brand" is gone, the fun remains. More changes are coming throughout this healing process. And again, we sincerely apologize for offending so many people.