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Should Native American Mascots be Removed from Mass High Schools?

Oregon and Washington State have banned the use of Native American Mascots. Should Massachusetts do the same?

As part of an effort to close what Washington state education officials call a "widening gap" between Native American students and their white counterparts, the Washington State Board of Education is asking all schools in that state to do away with Native American mascots.

Seattle’s King5.com reported, “Education officials point to studies that show self-esteem issues among Native American students.” Last May, neighboring state Oregon’s Board of Education voted to ban Native American mascots, nicknames and logos.

According to the American Indian Cultural Support website, in Massachusetts there are currently 29 high schools that have Native American mascots– including 16 Indians, nine Warriors, two Red Raiders, one Redskins and one Braves.

Do you think similar efforts to ban the use of Native American mascots and logos should be made in Massachusetts? Tell us what you think in the comments.

 

Bloodyrue Andrue October 01, 2012 at 07:18 PM
Correctly depicted in their historical cultural character is what I would agree with.
Michael Ellis Day October 01, 2012 at 08:41 PM
I couldn't say whether such a move would help Native American students with self-esteem issues. Quite possibly it would lead to more anger and ill will among the students for a while, if the other students feel they're being accused of racism or having some school symbol taken away. I can see why people would be reluctant to approach the issue at all. But it's still the right thing to do. The days when people could feel that other human beings were less than fully human because of their skin color or ethnicity are over. An animal can be a mascot, or a mythical creature, or an inanimate object. It's time for a change. If we could get people to see this as an opportunity for the future -- new mascots, everybody! -- instead of an opening for shame and recrimination and digging your heels in to fight any change at all costs, maybe we could really get somewhere.
Mathea Morais (Editor) October 01, 2012 at 10:02 PM
I always wonder what the response would be if we had mascots based on other racial stereotypes.
Casey Meserve October 02, 2012 at 12:33 AM
Well, a lot of Irish people seem to like the Celtics and the Fighting Irish.
Casey Meserve October 02, 2012 at 01:06 AM
Also, I'm part Swedish and I have no problem with depictions of bloodthirsty Vikings, but that's just me. Everyone has their own opinion.
Fred October 02, 2012 at 02:26 AM
So, hang on here. Is this article implying that educationally, Native American kids are doing worse than their white counterparts, and that if we do away with Native American-based names for sports teams this will improve that situation? Am I reading that correctly? That a kid of Cherokee or Navaho blood who does badly on his math exams will somehow do better if the Washington Redskins are renamed the Washington.... oh, I dunno, Thunderbolts? *blink* Tell me I'm reading this wrong...? Are these sports team names really damaging to the self-esteem of Native Americans? I can't imagine I'd even give a crap if someday we get a new NHL team the Duluth Poles... How is that an issue for me? Aren't there more important things to worry about than the names of sports teams. Plus, if the state of Washington DOES get all the sports team names changed, and the Native American kids still do lousy on their math exams.... what then? And just for the fun of it - with names like Redskins, Chiefs, Warriors, Mohawks... are these even insults? I'm wondering why these sports names aren't viewed as complimentary. If you choose to name your team after a Native American affectation or characterization, none of which are considered ethic slurs (not even redskins, really), isn't it saying that when you want a mascot that epitomizes strength, resolve, courage, and victory, you're in fact complimenting those people? Nobody's going out there as the Detroit Injuns...
Mom of Three October 02, 2012 at 02:34 AM
Are you clueless? Let's see....the Celtics, Notre Dame....have you seen their mascots??
Jessica Vallejo October 02, 2012 at 12:26 PM
I applaud this movement to remove Native American Mascots- it has always facinated me that we would allow the world to depict us this way. When a Nattive American child can only see themselves reflected in an image of a mascot, who is stereotypically dressed and portrayed, it doesn't just devalue one's self esteem; it also removes their valid place in society, it allows others to accept that stereotype as the child's true identity and it removes the child's individual culture and experience from their world view. Some people will never understand- but a Boston Celtic is in no way the same as the Cleveland Indians; because race and ethnicity are in fact the immediate difference that - see, and along with that comes racism and power over the population. One that Irish Americans are not continually afflicted with due o to the fact that they are white Americans and the Native peoples of this land are not, therefore they will never be able to remove the stigma of being racially different.
Michelle October 02, 2012 at 03:30 PM
I guess it would depend on how the logo is depicted. Our team name was Indians, and I never, ever considered that it was derogatory in any way. Quite the opposite; I felt it was a great name for a proud group of teams. Given that our country's true heritage is native peoples, it would seem that by using these names, we're remembering that. I'm not trying to re-write history, (two good book suggestions: A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn, and Lies My Teacher Told Me...forget author at the moment) but will quietly suggest we alter depictions if current ones are insulting, then go ahead and honor the fact that native peoples were actually here and engaged in complicated civilizations when the Europeans arrived and did their worst.

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