Some honoring of Indians by a R*dsk*ns fan.
A new report from the Center for American Progress concludes that Indian-oriented team names and mascots damage the self-worth of American Indian and Alaskan Native children. In
Missing the Point: The Real Impact of Native Mascots and Team Names on American Indian and Alaska Native Youth
, authors Erik Stegman and Victoria Phillips found that studies show such names contribute to a negative educational environment:
Research shows that these team Indian-oriented names and mascots can establish an unwelcome and hostile learning environment for AI/AN students. It also reveals that the presence of AI/AN mascots directly results in lower self-esteem and mental health for AI/An adolescents and young adults. And just as importantly, studies show that these mascots undermine the educational experience of all students, particularly those with little or no contact with indigenous and AI/AN people. In other words, these stereotypical representations are too often understood as factual representations and thus "contribute to the development of cultural biases and prejudices.
This is hardly the first time the negative impact of such names and mascots on Native children has been noted. In 2005, the American Psychological Association called for
an "immediate retirement of all American Indian mascots, symbols, images, and personalities by schools, colleges, universities, athletic teams and organizations." The American Sociological Association said
in 2007 that all AI/AN names, mascots and logos should be done away with. The American Counseling Association in 2011 passed a resolution asking their members to push for the elimination of these stereotypes. Stephanie A. Fryberg was the lead author of a study in 2008, Of Warrior Chiefs and Indian Princesses: The Psychological Consequences of American Indian Mascots
. Most recently, Michael A. Friedman compiled a report on various studies in his The Harmful Psychological Effects of the Washington Football Mascot
Nor is Indian opposition to the names, logos and mascots new or some invention of whites, as has been claimed by some critics who oppose changing team names and mascots. The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), a pan-Indian advocacy group founded in 1944, has been pushing for an end to such stereotypes since 1968.
Stegman traces his lineage to the Assiniboine First Nations tribe of Saskatchewan and has previously worked for the 70-year-old NCAI and as majority counsel for the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs under the leadership of Sen. Daniel K. Akaka, who retired last year. Phillips is a professor at American University Washington College of Law. Although the most prominent controversy over team names and mascots surrounds the National Football League's Washington R*dsk*ns, the two authors point out that it is hardly the only one.
In fact, at one time, more than 3,000 teams in elementary and secondary schools had Indian-oriented names, mascots and logos; more than 2,000 have changed their names under pressure from tribes, individual Indians and their allies and the NCAI. (Full disclosure: One of those schools is Arvada High in Colorado, where I graduated 50 years ago. In 1962, the only two Indians at the school, my Kiowa friend Tim Kloberdanz and me, were ridiculed for seeking an end to the R*dsk*ns team name, mascot and logo. It wasn't until the 1990s, after a huge community fight, that the name was changed to the Reds, and subsequently the Bulldogs.)
Below the fold you can read how some Indians view Indian-oriented team names and mascots.
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