For many people the debate comes down to one question: But there's also another, arguably more compelling way to answer this question: The Board of Education gave state schools until to stop using team names such as "Indians," "Chiefs," "Braves," and "Redskins.
Everyone quoted in the article was opposed to the use of such imagery, which led many readers to ask why I hadn't given equal time to the other side.
The answer to that is simple: I was there to cover the symposium, and every single speaker at the event -- about three times as many people as I ended up quoting in my column -- was opposed to the use of Native American mascots, logos and team names.
The Washington Redskins were invited to have a representative at the event, but they declined. But it's true that there are some Native Americans who are fine with the use of Native imagery in sports. In central Michigan, for example, the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe recently announced that it had no problem with a local high school whose teams are called the Warriors.
I was curious to learn more, so I contacted the Saginaw Chippewas and spoke with their public relations director, Frank Cloutier. Here's how our conversation went: First, for people who aren't familiar with the Saginaw Chippewas, please tell me a bit about your tribe.
Our tribe was formed with the ratification of our constitution in We have the fifth- or sixth-largest Indian-owned casino in the Midwest, so we're rather successful when it comes to our economic growth and development.
But it's not just about gaming for us -- it's about our culture. We have a very rich, diverse culture, which is showcased in a world-class, award-winning cultural museum on our reservation. So the situation regarding mascots and team names piques our interest.
Many of the people taking part in this debate see it as a black-and-white issue. Either they're completely opposed to all uses of Native American imagery, or they have no problem with any of it.
What's your position, or your tribe's position, on that? It's very, very clear for us, because we've worked with so many institutions in our area.
Our position is that if it's not derogatory and it's being used appropriately, with an opportunity to share or cross-share our culture, then it's fine. There's nothing derogatory about "Warriors" or "Braves. Department of Education, claiming that Native American mascots and nicknames are inherently harmful to Native childrenyou don't agree with that?
Saginaw Chippewas public relations director Frank Cloutier says some Native American mascots are not derogatory and can be educational. Courtesy of Saginaw Chippewa Tribe In the study they used, they said these Native children who go to these schools with these mascots are "marginalized.
That's what makes these kids feel marginalized -- the way their culture and their people were treated. I don't believe that a menacing-looking brave on the backboard of a basketball hoop is going to marginalize that child as much as that generational trauma.
That said, however, I believe that these schools using these images have an obligation to talk about the truth of Native American history. One of the largest genocides in world history happened right here on American soil, and it happened to Native Americans.
So it's important to talk about the true history about the settling of the United States, and to talk about those things that happened to Native Americans that are often not talked about. If Native children are struggling, hopefully this kind of education and outreach and help identify why, instead of having us blame it on a mascot.
So when you say it's fine to use non-derogatory imagery as long as it's being used appropriately, you're saying that part of that "appropriate use" is educational content about Native Americans? For example, in we entered into an articulation agreement with Central Michigan University, because they were the Chippewas.
As part of that agreement, the tribe and the university each has an obligation. Every year I go in and address every freshman athletic student about our culture and what it means to be a Chippewa, and about the proud, competitive nature of our people.
We explain that it's not about war paint and fake feathers. It's about honoring the triumph of these resilient, competitive people.
They also have areas on campus that are dedicated to the presence of the Chippewa Nation. So it's a good cross-cultural exchange.As documented in a comprehensive review of decades of social science research, derogatory "Indian" sports mascots have serious psychological, social and cultural consequences for Native Americans, especially Native youth.
Of today’s American Indian and Alaska Native population, those under the age of 18 make up 32 percent, and Native youth under the age of 24 represent nearly half, or 42 percent, of . 3 December Ethics of Native American Mascots Ethics of Native American mascots is a controversial topic and should not be argued against because they are used .
Oct 08, · This is not a debate for students. These names are racist pure and simple. We would never call these teams by names that are offensive to other ethnic groups and why it is still allowed to use offensive and racist names about Native Americans is more telling about racism in America and the hubris and guilt we still harbor over taking their countries.
Many teams say that their use of Native American imagery is meant to be an honor, especially when they use team names like "Warriors," which is meant to symbolize American Indians' fighting spirit. 1. “This mascot honors Natives.” Using Native Americans and associated images as mascots, logos, and nicknames of sports teams does the opposite of honor — it dehumanizes.
And when you dehumanize Native Americans as mascots, it’s easy to cast aside and . Those Native American students exposed to mascots were significantly less likely to use achievement-related language in anticipating their future than were students in a control condition.