Native American Controversy

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Native American Controversy

“People ask me why I don’t just let this go. It’s all in the past, they say. I tell them that there is no past tense in the Cheyenne language. The past is not gone. As I stand here before you, all of my ancestors stand with me.” ...Suzan Shown Harjo

This controversy of using Native American mascots has been origins that are engrained deeply into Indian and Non-Indian relations. Today, there are many sports that use Indian names (The Atlantic Braves, Golden State Warriors, Chicago Blackhawks, and University of Illinois Fighting Illini) that are the center of this argument. According to The Free Dictionary a mascot is “A person, animal, or object believed to bring good luck, especially one kept as the symbol of an organization such as a sports team.” When it is used as a school symbol it represents their sports teams and its fans with pride. Through decades these teams have rallied team spirit and support.

Even so, in the 1960’s, American Indian students and Indian activists efforts rocketed to persuade these sports teams to discontinue the Indian-related mascots, symbols and names. The National Congress of American Indians also came up in this time. They focused on cartoons and movies; however the effort to remove Indian logos and mascots became very popular.

The use of Native Americans as mascots at public schools and universities has become a growing controversy. Those who advocate for the elimination of Native American mascots argue that these mascots belittle and discriminate against Native Americans. Then to those who counter this say, the prevailing attitude of many supporters of Native American mascots is that the intent is to honor and pay respect to the Native Americans. These caricatures of Indian’s shouldn’t be acceptable to one’s conscious: “these public schools should not be the vehicle of institutional racism.”...
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