A study recently released by the University of Montana has determined that the use of American Indian mascots causes ‘detrimental societal consequences’. 

Justin Angle, Associate Professor at the University of Montana School of Business Administration, along with researchers from the University of Washington and Washington State, said the study focused on Native American brand imagery.

“The study focuses on the concept of ethnic brand imagery,” Angle said. “It’s commonly used most prominently in American Indian sports mascots. What we set out to do was examine whether or not they actually active and then perpetuate stereotypes in the broader population. That’s a claim that’s been made time and time again by social commentators, yet, until now, has lacked any empirical support.”

Angle explained how the study was conducted.

“We exposed people to an American Indian mascot they were not familiar with, and they then completed what is called an ‘implicit association test’,” he said. “It measures memory and strength of association over various concepts. We found that after exposure to the American Indian mascot, they exhibited a stronger association of American Indians with the concept of being ‘warlike’. This effect was particularly strong in liberals, more so than in conservatives.”

Angle said the concept of being considered ‘warlike’ is negative.

“We definitely see the concept of being ‘warlike’ as a negative stereotype,” he said. “The notion that exposure to these images strengthens these stereotypes I think adds weight to the already compelling social commentary calling for the retirement as such mascots.”

A pretest survey found the Cleveland Indians as the most offensive mascot, while the Atlanta Braves tested as the least offensive.

To watch the video/hear the audio, click here.

An excerpt:

Thousands of children attend schools operated by the federal Bureau of Indian Education, and for years, no one has known for sure if the buildings where they learn, eat and sleep are safe.

That’s one finding from a recent report issued by the Government Accountability Office that has shaken the bureau, which oversees schools that serve about 7 percent of American Indian students — nearly 50,000 schoolchildren — scattered across 23 states mostly in the rural western and southwestern United States.

The report says more than one-third of all 180 school locations have gone longer than one year without health and safety inspections. Of those, 54 sites haven’t been inspected in at least four years. The Bureau of Indian Education mandates annual inspections for all schools.

And among inspected schools, it’s unclear how many of them received improper or incomplete review, said Melissa Emrey-Arras, who directs education, workforce and income security issues for GAO. She said that in one instance, a “drive-by inspection” was conducted for a school complex with 34 buildings.

“They’re at risk of endangering the children they’re charged with protecting,” Emrey-Arras said.

To read the entire article, click here.

      The Washington State Office of Public Instruction and its Superintendent Randy Dorn recently issued a letter to state schools regarding “tribal students wearing items of cultural significance such as eagle feathers during graduation ceremonies.”  The State concludes that a student wearing an eagle feather “should not be viewed as a violation of the graduation ceremony dress codes.”

Many educators and policymakers in American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities are concerned that the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) will fall short of their goal to ensure the preparation of all students for college and/or career.

This paper explores how the CCSS could affect AI/AN students, and examines how to best implement the standards to increase the likelihood for college and career success for this group of students. Specifically, the paper describes:

  • The importance of understanding the diversity among AI/AN communities
  • Why today’s education reforms might be viewed as forced assimilation
  • How previous education reforms have failed
  • What needs to happen for the CCSS to work
  • The impact of No Child Left Behind

In addition, the paper includes recommendations for how local and state education agencies, researchers, and policymakers can best proceed to help prepare AI/AN students to succeed in college and/or career.

To view the report, click here.

The 2016 Young Native Writers Essay Contest is open to Native American high school students currently enrolled in grades 9-12only. All students participating in the Young Native Writers Essay Contest should have a significant and current relationship with a Native American community (i.e., an American Indian tribe, an Alaska Native community or a Native Hawaiian community).

2016 Prompt Native Youth Initiatives
What active role should Native youth take in advancing Native initiatives within your community, region, or state? The essay should use research from your tribal community (website, tribal documents or personal interviews) and should reflect on your own experiences within their community.

Prizes

The following prizes will be awarded to winning essayists:

Four (4) First-Place Winners will each receive an expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., to visit the National Museum of the American Indian and other prominent sites as part of Scholar Week (July 24 – 28, 2016).

First-Place Winners will receive a special award for display at home or school. In addition, each First-Place Winner will receive a scholarship of $2,500 to be paid directly to the college or university of his or her choice.

Entry Deadline for the 2016 Young Native Writers Essay is Wednesday, April 30, 2016.

For more information, click here.