Thomas Kanewakeron Gray, left, and his brother Lloyd Skanahwati Gray were pulled from campus tour at Colorado State University after a non-Native mother became “nervous” because the two joined the tour late.
Published May 5, 2018
ESPANOLA, NEW MEXICO — Lorraine Kahneratokwas Gray (Mohawk) says it has been an overwhelming week for her and her two sons, who were removed from a tour of Colorado State University on Monday after a non-Native parent called 911 because she was “nervous” about the boys who joined the tour late.
Gray talked to Native News Online on Saturday from her home near Española, New Mexico.
Gray’s week began with apprehension because she was worried about the seven-hour drive her two sons, 17-year-old Lloyd Gray and 19-year-old Thomas Gray, would take in the family’s only vehicle from their home in New Mexico to Fort Collins, Colorado. With money they saved on their own, the two sons went to Fort Collins to tour the campus of Colorado State University, where they are interested in attending. Thomas Gray has been attending a local community college in New Mexico and Lloyd Gray will graduate from Santa Fe Indian School this spring.
Gray retraced how her sons had registered online for the tour. She says brothers would take music classes. Both are interested in heavy metal and they thought attending CSU would allow them to be close to Denver, which is a venue for metal rock groups
Even though the Gray teens registered online, they went to the wrong building and the tour they were registered to be part of began without them. School officials were notified that they were at the wrong building and they were told to join the tour even though they would be late.
“I thought the biggest thing to be nervous about was the seven-hour trip. How wrong I was,” Gray told Native News Online. “The real trouble began was about to start.”
“A parent participating in the tour called campus police because she was nervous about the presence of two young men who joined the tour while it was in progress,” the school said.
Campus police pulled the teens from the group. Once they were confirmed registered guests of the university, campus police told the two they were free to resume the tour. However, the tour was gone and they two were not able to catch up with the group. Frustrated, the sons called their mother back in New Mexico. Gray talked to campus police, who assured the frantic mother that her sons had done nothing wrong and they would be able to rejoin the group.
By then, it was too late. The money saved and spent on for the university tour was gone because of the “nervous” parent who called 911.
The 911 call was released on Friday.
On the call, the “nervous” mother says “There are two young men that joined our tour that weren’t part of our tour. They’re not — definitely not — a part of the tour.”
She says the Grays’ behavior is “just really odd” and that they are wearing dark clothing with “weird symbolism or wording on it.” One of them had his hand in his sweatshirt pocket, she says, and she could tell they were lying when she asked one of them about what they wanted to study because the other started laughing.
“I think they’re Hispanic, I believe,” the mother says, when asked about whether they were white males. “One of them for sure. He said he’s from Mexico.”
“Hispanics should be outraged. This woman mistakenly thought my sons were Hispanic,” commented Gray.
On Friday, CSU officials offered to pay for another trip to their Fort Collins campus.
Gray says the week has been so overwhelming the family has not decided on how to proceed. Several people have told her she needs to hire an attorney to take legal steps.
Whatever the outcome of the Gray brothers, it appears CSU has a lot of work to do to attract American Indian students to enroll at the university. According to the College Portrait website, CSU has 24, 433 undergraduate students enrolled. Only 164 (.67 percent) are American Indian students. Additionally, the website reports less than one percent of enrolled students are low income students.