UM Study Says American Indian Mascots Create Negative Stereotypes

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.

Yakama Nation Youths Show Off Their STEM Savvy to Visiting Educators

Aaron Arquette caught the attention of about 40 visitors in the Yakama Nation Cultural Center auditorium Thursday when he discussed his work on solar water heaters.

A senior at the Yakama Nation Tribal School, Arquette explained how solar evacuated tubes warm up water for residential use; as a result, solar water heaters tend to save customers money on energy bills.

School Principal Relyn Strom was quick to note how Arquette was already involved in an ambitious project to install solar water heaters in dozens of homes.

Arquette’s project was one example members of the Yakama Nation used to convey their students’ love for science, technology, engineering and math to educators from across the state. The educators visited the Toppenish center as part of a three-day bus tour of several STEM initiatives in Washington.

“STEM is in service to this community,” said Elese Washines, a Heritage University assistant professor.

The bus tour, organized by the nonprofit Washington STEM, began in Vancouver on Wednesday, then moved east to the Yakima Valley on Thursday and will conclude in Spokane today.

Groups and companies represented included the University of Washington, Walla Walla School District, Pacific Science Center and Expedia.

Stopping in the Yakima Valley made sense, as the schools represent a wide swath of communities — rural, Latino and Native American, among others.

To read the article on the Yamika Herald, click here.