By Bob Weaver|
Charleston Attorney Jim Lees said WVU was making efforts with the USDA
to resolve the issues and reverse the decision to remove Native American
customs from West Virginia 4-H rituals.
More than 200 4-H children, leaders, parents and Native Americans from
West Virginia hired Lees last week to bring a lawsuit against Dr. Larry Cote
and the WVU Extension Service. Lees is holding the suit until Wednesday,
waiting on responses, after he talked with WVU President David
The WVU Extension Service, according to Lees, did not follow state statues
on open meetings and due process.
Lees said 4-H members, current and past, cannot understand what they have
been doing that's offensive. Dr. Larry Cote, in a press release, told West
Virginia residents 4-H rituals violated the spiritual traditions of Native
Angry parents expressed concerns about WVU Extension Service
bureaucracy last Friday, particularly in relation to services provided to West
Virginia children. Kent Carper, a member of the Kanawha County
Commission said the agency had outlived its usefulness, although other
commissioners said they had good healthy programs.
Many American Indians do not find the 4-H rituals being a problem. Cote and
his staff did not consult with 4-H members or leaders before making the
decision, which was mostly based on a single complaint from a Roane
County 4-H parent.
The WVU Extension Service apparently reacted to what might have been a
loss of $4.5 money for 4-H from the USDA.
4-H members, leaders and alumni have generally expressed outrage toward
the WVU Extension Service decision, which Cote has said is not
Numerous residents who have called talk-radio and written to state
newspapers, including The Hur Herald, have stated it is political correctness
WVU did provide budget information regarding the extension service and
4-H budget after a Freedom of Information request.