Native American Mascots

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Braves vs. the Indians

In Richard Estrada’s essay, “Sticks and Stones and Sports Team Names”, he mentions the 1995 MLB World Series where the Atlanta Braves defeated the Cleveland Indians. Since then, it has jokingly been referred to as the “Politically Incorrect World Series” due to both teams stereotypical Native American mascots. Growing up, the Braves achieved dominance on the baseball diamond, which prompted every kid my age to wear the Tomahawk and make the “Braves” t-ball team. I was introduced to the Cleveland Indians by the comedy movie, Major League and ever since have recognized their cartoon-like mascot, “Chief Wahoo.” In “The Indian Wars”, S.L. Price asks why derogatory names like the Redskins and the clownish portrayal of Chief Wahoo are still accepted in today’s racially sensitive climate. Estrada and Price both agree that the unrealistic and insensitive depiction of a smiling face with a feather doesn’t honor the Native American tradition whatsoever. Price tells about the University of Utah’s decision to replace their cartoonish mascot with the Ute logo (two eagle feathers and a drum) after consulting with the tribe council who allowed them to keep the team name, the Running Utes. In Estrada’s article, he mentions how the nations No. 1 politically correct school, Stanford University, changed their mascot from the Indians to the Cardinals. Apparently, the hurt voices of Native Americans are heard in college and high school campuses, yet the corporate juggernauts of the MLB and NFL are not prone to change. Price goes on to say that since 1969, when Oklahoma got rid of it’s inaccurate, buckskin clad mascot, Little Red, more than 600 school and minor league teams have dropped their Native-American offensive nicknames. Only on a few occasions, such as when the Washington Bullets changed their name from the Bullets to the Wizards over the high crime rate, have the highest level of sports changed their minds. Yet, the crime epidemic of DC in the 80’s...
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