Native American Mascots: What An Insult

Just about any of us who have attended high schools in the United States or who are sports fans have noticed the peculiarity. For a country that has so little concern for Native American concerns, America sure does have a fascination with using Native American images and names as symbols for their sports teams. Even the most liberal or politically correct individuals seem to have no problem with disrespectful images of Native Americans plastered everywhere, if the occasion is a sporting event. But more than a few people have had enough of it.

Many consider it the ultimate slap in the face that Native Americans, every weekend, have to be reminded, in one form of another, of the general disrespect that Americans have for Native American sacred ceremonies and rituals as well as their loss of land and wholesale slaughter in this country. For years, Indian groups have attempted to get sports teams to become more sensitive about how some feel about the use of such images. The effort, in general, has been a failure as teams continue to use Native American logos and "mascots" and fans continue to participate in routines that in one form or another, act out some Native American tradition.

Many such routines are plain mockery.

Now there is a web site that is up and running that chronicles this debate and keeps those interested observers up-to-date on the efforts of many who are pushing to end all symbols of disrespect of Native Americans.

Please visit the website and check out the nuances of this issue.

You may be surprised at how many of us have unwittingly offended an entire people.

Cedric Muhammad

Wednesday, November 15, 2000