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.

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Via yakimahearld.com: Tribal School Grad’s Dream Will
 Take Her to WSU to Study Zoology

An exceprt:

Graduating this week from Yakama Nation Tribal School, Ashley Walsey is closing in on the goal she set for herself long ago — to study zoology at Washington State University.

“It’s been my dream since I was 7,” she said. “I’ve always loved animals a lot; my dad tells me that when I was little, the very first thing I wanted was a ferret.”

This fall, the 18-year-old animal lover from White Swan is headed to WSU and she’s simultaneously thrilled about her next adventure and worried about how much she’ll miss her little sister and her friends.

It’s a touch of the competitive spirit that made her a three-sport athlete for the Tribal School, competing in basketball, volleyball and track, as well as dancing in the powwows she travels to with her family.

Tribal School Principal Relyn Strom said Walsey works hard at everything she puts her mind to.

“She’s one of our strongest students academically, but she’s also a three-sport athlete and she’s very active in traditional cultural activities, like dancing and learning the Yakama language,” Strom said.

Walsey also credits her experience at the Tribal School and some of the friends she made there with helping her stay on track to college.

As for what kind of career she envisions for herself, Walsey is still open-minded. Maybe she’ll be a veterinarian or a zoologist who travels the world, or come home and work for the Yakama Nation’s wildlife program.

To read the entire article, click here.