Many of these schools and school board members claim to be "honoring" Native Americans by their use of a mascot like "Braves", or "Chiefs", or "Indians", or "Warriors", and even the more obvious racial slur "Redskins". I ask of each of these schools and school board members - If the people being "honored" feel only degradation, pain, racism, and disgust, then where is the "honor"?????!!!! One particular school in California who refer to themselves as "Apache", were told by the Apache students of a school on the Apache reservation that they felt it was an insult for this to continue. The Califorina school decided that No matter what the Apache people feel and expressed to them, the "Apache" mascot will continue. This is "HONOR"?
See; Arcadia "Apache"
Children are being harmed by these mascots, and not just the Native American children. Once the stereotype is established in a student's mind, it makes it very difficult for children of any race to learn about present day Native Americans. For instance, I have been asked by school children if I still live in a TiPi, and I have been told by a young school aged child that I can't possible be an Indian, because Indians were all killed a long time ago, and that's why the school mascot is an "Indian" - so Indians can be remembered. That is racism. There does not have to be a feeling of hate to make it racism. And, we aren't saying that these people are terrible people, we are saying that they have choosen a mascot that offends, and they might not even understand that it offends. We don't want a confrontation with them, we want to talk to them and convince them that for the good of all the children in the schools, the mascot should change. Many times I have seen the school boards or the school put the mascot issue to a vote - majority rules. Issues involving racism or civil rights CANNOT be solved by having them put to a vote. This should not be a situation where the majority dictates to the minority how things are going to be, it should be a situation where the RIGHT thing is done even if it is not the most popular opinion of the RIGHT thing to do.
I am NOT honored when the people in a stadium are encouraged by a white student on horseback and wearing what "they" think is Indian attire, to do the "tomahawk chop"!
I am NOT honored to hear the students of a rival school screaming "kill the Indians"!
I am NOT honored to see various racist depictions of what a "Brave" or "Warrior" or "Chief" are supposed to look like in the eyes of those who mock us!
I am ESPECIALLY NOT honored when we tell you it is not an honor but an insult to be depicted in this way - and it continues anyway!
Indians are real living people, and we are the ONLY living race of people to be used as mascots. Why? And, most importantly - why teach racism to children in school????? Why are there no schools with a mascot called the "Blackskins"? Why are there no schools with a mascot called the "Jews"? I think the answer is obvious, it would be an insult to Black people or to Jews - yet schools have a mascot of "Redskins" or "Indians" - why?
Here are a few quotes by people that these schools claim to "honor".
Vernon Bellecourt: "We are saying - start playing football and stop playing Indian. Stop this dehumanizing, degrading, and despicable exploitation of our culture and spiritual life."
Clyde Bellecourt, National Director, AIM: "We don't want to be mascots for America's fun and games."
Kathy Morning Star, Director AICS and Director VA AIM: "It is the responsibility of educators to set the example and teach the youth of today to respect other ethnic or minority peoples - NOT to exploit or disrespect them by using them as 'mascots' or stereotypical 'images' which purpetuates racism."
Mike Wicks, participating member AIM and AICS Co-director: "We need to educate the educators. Show them the harm that is being done to all children."
Barbara Munson (Oneida): "When someone says you are hurting them by your action, if you persist - then the harm becomes intentional."
And this one from a Washington Post Editorial: "Redskins is not a term fashioned by American Indians. The nickname was assigned to them just as the pejorative designation "darkies" was once imposed on African-American slaves.
That was wrong then - this is wrong now."
Actually the term "Redskins" is far worse than implied in the statement above.
See REDSKINS for more information on the source of this racist term.
For a list of schools by state, who are using these racist mascots,
see SCHOOLS for more information.
For a list of state education agencies who are allowing these racist mascots,
see AGENCIES for more information.
For all supporters of this issue, please read this message.RULES!.
Here is a letter from the Society of Indian Psychologists;
Here is an article from Dr. Cornel Pewewardy;
Here is a letter from Dr. David Rider;
Here is a rather special paper by Dr. Chris Kraatz;
U.S. Department of Justice report entitled "American Indians and Crime"
U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Statement
In Whose Honor? a film for educators;
Teaching Indians to Be White - another film for educators;
The National Coalition on Racism in Sports and the Media;
The Washington DC City Council resolution 14-262;
Also, if you have information about a school that should be listed and isn't - or about one that is listed but has changed their mascot, please use the form on the state listing to let me know. With nearly 2500 schools using racial mascots, I cannot keep up with the changes without your help. Thanks.
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