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Indian Mascots: The Pros and Cons

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by

Rebecca McGill

on 19 May 2013

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Transcript of Indian Mascots: The Pros and Cons

Indian Mascots: The Pros and Cons Essential Understanding 1 Anti-Indian Mascots Pro-Indian Mascots Essential Understanding 2 Essential Understanding 3 Essential Understanding 5 Indian mascots have definitely been influencing the diversity in identity among individual American indians by representing the organizations and groups that they represent. If done in a tasteful way, it celebrates the heritage of Native Americans and shows them in a light that is positive. Some studies have shown that if the mascot is not properly represented, or put in the proper context, then some Native American children can feel marginalized by their school's Indian mascot, but many schools have adopted Native American Studies classes, and this helps put the mascots in perspective, and gives them the context that they need to show why they use the Indian as a mascot, and how it's a positive representation of their heritage. Additionally, it makes Native Americans relevant again, which is important for Indians today. A big aspect of the Indian mascot issue is the legal part. Many laws have been passed recently in relation to the Indian mascots and how they affect the Native Americans in today's society. For example, public schools in Oregon are not allowed to have Native American imagery, because they recognize the affect it can have on Indian people. The NCAA has forbidden the use of Native American imagery unless the school has an endorsement from a tribe. Usually, in order to get these endorsements, contracts must be made, and the school is to offer certain benefits to Native American students, as well as some representation by the tribe in the school. Just as there is great diversity among the different tribes, there is also great diversity among the groups and organizations using Native American imagery as logos and mascots. There are high schools, colleges, professional teams, minor league teams, etc. that use Indian imagery to represent themselves. Many of them are sensitive to the fact that, if done without thought, the mascot can be offensive to Native Americans. They also are typically coming from a place of respect and reverence, not a place of hate or anger. Usually the mascot is a Warrior, or a Brave, or something that represents the fighting spirit and power of the Indians and the school. Many of the teams that have a Native American mascot also use some forms of Indian ceremonies in their home games and other sports-related events. Since ancient traditions and ceremonies are still practiced by Indians today, this can be very offensive to them. For example, eagle feathers are considered sacred by many tribes, and when used in sporting events and not properly respected, this takes away from their importance for the tribal members. When these ceremonies are taken out of context and not handled with the proper respect, they become a source of pain and shame for people that know where they have their roots, and why these ceremonies are supposed to be performed. By Rebecca McGill
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