The National Coalition on Racism in Sports and the Media

The National Coalition on Racism in Sports and the Media (NCRSM) was established in 1992 by leaders of the American Indian Movement in order to organize against the use of Indian images and names for logos, symbols or mascots in professional and collegiate sports, marketing and the media. We are a coalition working diligently to change the perception mainstream society has of Indian people, with the ultimate objective of increasing self-esteem in American Indian youth.

We believe that the use of Indian peoples and cultures for mascots dehumanizes Native Americans, it perpetuates inaccurate images, and it would not be tolerated if it affected other historically oppressed people. These caricatures often desecrate Native spirituality by using feathers, paint, dances, and music for entertainment and in the wrong context. In addition, this use of Indian culture by mainstream society, is the ultimate encroachment on the sovereignty of all Indian Nations and Tribes, and as such it erodes Native American cultural and traditional property rights.

The NCRSM stands firm with every major national organization representing Native Americans in condemning this practice. In 1990, the twenty-six Tribes and Nations that make the United Indian Nations of Oklahoma voted unanimously for a resolution "urging educational institutions, businesses and organizations to abandon caricatures of American Indians that promote negative images and racism" (Resolution # 042490R-05).

Three years later, the National Congress of American Indians issued a similar resolution (Resolution # MID-GB-58), followed by one this year on cultural and traditional property rights. In addition, the National Indian Education Association, the Society of Indian Psychologists of the Americas, KOLA (a Native American Rights Organization based in Belgium), and the Institute of American Indian Arts have carefully examined the issue and taken similar steps.

This problem affects all Indian people, one out of five Indian children will attempt suicide. We are committed to doing whatever is necessary to improve the environment in which Indian children and youth study, work, and play so their sense of self-worth grows stronger and they can become the leaders of tomorrow.

There are approximately 2500 schools in the U.S. that use these images. These mascots and symbols serve to miseducate all youth by perpetuating an inaccurate history and encouraging a suspension of logic and reason. Schools, teachers and students become culturally illiterate in the realm of Native history and culturally insensitive with respect to teaching tolerance and celebrating diversity.
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