Via TurtleTalk: New Student Scholarship on Indian Sports Mascots and Nicknames

The BYU Education and Law Journal has published “Between a Tomahawk and a Hard Place: Indian mascots and the NCAA” by Stephanie Jade Bollinger.

An excerpt::

Thus, a reviewing court should find that agreements between Native American tribes and Universities granting approval for the use of Indian names as mascots should be void as against public policy. If the approval is found to be void, the NCAA would have a harder time basing approval as the primary factor for exemptions from its own mascot policy at championship games. Without the mascot exemption, more universities may decide to eliminate their use of Indian mascots and, in doing so, discontinue the harmful effects from their use of Indian mascots.

To view the original post on TurtleTalk, click here.

Colorado Commission to Study American Indian Representations in Public Schools

News stories here and here about the Commission’s latest meetings.

An excerpt from one:

Military veteran Stan Snow captivated the audience with his storytelling ability, sharing the name of the bomb squadron he was a part of in 1954: The Devil’s Own Grim Reapers.

The name might be offensive, Snow said, but when the B-52s shielded Americans from their enemies, people would be happy.

Snow decried political correctness, and praised the warrior spirit, and in the end, he pleaded.

“Please, please, don’t take it away from them,” Snow said.

There was clearly an age gap in the opinions of the roughly 60 audience members in attendance. The younger ones, save for a little girl who spoke first, fell strongly in the camp of tossing the mascot — or, at the very least, reaching out to tribes to make Eaton’s depiction more accurate and authentic and less of a caricature.

The older audience members leaned more toward tradition, keeping a logo that has been a part of Eaton since 1966.

Via Indian Country Today: Simmons: Racist Mascots Negate Your School’s Anti-Bullying, Anti-Harassment Policies

An excerpt:

As a human resource professional, my job is to listen to my clients and consult with them on issues that are occurring within their business. When issues arise, our first question is always: What does your policy state? HR professionals are known to the outside world as the policy pushers. We work with our clients to strengthen the policy and consult on how to enforce the rules within their organization. Defunct policies can cost corporations millions. It’s best practice to have an employee handbook as this gives the employee a guideline to follow and reiterate the company’s values.

Many schools adhere to these same standards; their handbooks include attendance policies, clothing, grade point averages and rules against plagiarism. Because of teen suicide and bullying, schools across the country have adopted anti-discrimination/anti-bullying policies to hold perpetrators accountable for inflicting harm on another student. But what happens when the anti-bullying policy is negated by your racially based mascot?

Bullying is when a person uses their superiority or strength to intimidate someone. An article states bullying is often based on perceived differences, such as ethnicity, sex or disability. When your school has a racial mascot, you are committing the same injustice you use to protect your students. We have people in power, using their superiority to affect someone based on their perceived differences.

Students are asked not to wear t-shirts with political messages or provocative clothing, but you allow your entire student body to wear stereotypical images of Native Americans? When it gets to this caliber, and an entire student body is partaking in these types of bullying, it’s called mobbing. It should be common knowledge that thousands of students, Indigenous and ally, speak out against these mascots. Across the country, schools are changing their mascots because of the harm they cause. No child should have to bear the brunt of stereotyping because the people in power (i.e., the administration) cannot see what they are doing to their students.

Native American mascots fall under the category of passive racism, which is considered “socially acceptable.” This depends on who is asked, but it’s even worse when it’s sanctioned by adults on the school board, the administration and the parents. Racial mascots are not just a school issue; it’s an entire community that is broadcasting these stereotypical behaviors. This mob mentality affects more than just the students they stereotype; it also affects the students who come to school to learn.

Dr. Michael Friedman published a piece in Psychology Today tying disparaging Native American mascots to the practice of bullying. “By using the R-word despite the repeated public protests by the Native American community,” Friedman writes, “the Washington team and NFL are bullying Native Americans and getting away with it.” This also incorporates colleges, high schools, middle schools and elementary schools that have stereotypical Native American mascots.

To read the entire article, click here.

Via Eaton teacher: Gov. Hickenlooper’s Native American mascot commission brings stakeholders together

An excerpt:

Eaton High School is one of a few dozen Colorado high schools that features either a Native American nickname or mascot. The school has weathered protests and been in legislators’ cross hairs, including a failed bill this past year that would have cut state funding from schools with nicknames or mascots deemed offensive by a special task force.

That failed bill led to Gov. John Hickenlooper’s commission to discuss Native American mascots in Colorado’s schools. One of the commission’s 15 appointed members is Eaton High School teacher Deirdre Jones. Jones teachers literature and journalism at Eaton, and has taught at Eaton for 14 years.

As part of the commission, Jones has volunteered to travel to various cities this spring for a series of open forums. The next forum is Jan. 14 at Loveland High School.

The commission, unlike the failed bill this past year, features no strings or punishments.

Question — How did you end up on the governor’s commission?

Answer — I was appointed by the governor upon recommendation of the commission leaders. I was exploring the commission after some of my students asked if there was a possibility it might come (to) Eaton, and I filled out an application online. I never considered I would actually be chosen.

Q — Does it feel as though there is room for compromise?

A — This is a question that comes from a wrong premise because it implies there is a position or agenda that the commission is proposing. The entire purpose of the commission is to listen to feedback from the community concerning the mascot issue as well as their own mascot, to collect those comments, views, opinions, suggestions and to represent those voices and ideas back to the governor at the end of April.

Q — What do you hope to get out of this?

A — I get to hear that discussion. I will be doing something I always lecture my students to do: actually taking part in something they care about. I don’t want to be the teacher that retires saying, “I wish I had…” I decided that if I am going to be the type of teacher who asks my students to “walk the walk” regarding issues they see in society, then I have to do the same thing. I can’t ask them to get involved in their communities and world, to invest themselves in something they believe in, to be willing to “sail against the current of their times,” and then just sit behind my desk and expect them to do it. It is hypocritical, and American literature is filled with authors who take hypocrites to task.

To read the entire article, click here.

Should Colorado public schools be allowed to use Native American mascots?

An excerpt:

Should public schools in Colorado be allowed to use Native American mascots? The nationwide issue is once again taking center stage in Colorado.

The Governor’s Commission on Indian Representation met at Strasburg High School Monday night.

Strasburg’s mascot is the Indians and its logo features the facial profile of a Native American in a large headdress.

“We want to be respectful,” said Strasburg High School principal, Jeff Rasp. “And we don’t want any part of what we portray to be disrespectful to anyone.”

(Our logo) is respectful,” said Rasp. “It’s not a caricature. I think we’ve tried to bring honor and respect to the tribes. We know that any Indian mascot may be considered derogatory. We just feel like ours is not.”

Strasburg High school senior Lindsey Nichols is appointed to the commission. For the past year, she has been reaching out to tribes like the northern Arapahoe and southern Cheyenne who are both native to Strasburg.

To read the entire article, click here.