Native American Mascots: A Symbol of Strength or Racial Stereotype?

Legislation across the country is moving to pass bills that prevent public schools from adopting/using Native American mascots for sports. 

This comes after the NFL Redskins made the decision to change their name – known as a racial slur in the Native American community -, and become ‘the Washington Football team’. 

States like Colorado and Nevada are following in the footsteps of Maine, which was previously the only state to ban schools from using Native American mascots.  

Main Gov. Janet Mills spoke up about the reason for signing this bill in 2019. “While Indian mascots were often originally chosen to recognize and honor a school’s unique connection to Native American communities in Maine, we have heard clearly and unequivocally from Maine tribes that they are a source of pain and anguish.”

The attempt to ban Native American Mascots across the country has been met with backlash, from communities who believe that these symbols are a source of pride and symbol of their connection to the Native American Community as a way of honoring them.  

The states where this ban has been approved all share a commonality, being that these states have democratic legislative control. Several states saw a political divide over this matter, in states like Colorado, whose ban is facing its final vote, didn’t see a single Republican ‘Yes’. 

Similar proposals have failed in other states like Utah, where the Republicans hold the majority. 

Besides the political sphere, communities are also divided by this debate. While most see the importance of correcting racial injustice and stereotyping, there are still many who are tied to the long-standing history that mascot has associated with its school or team.

Savannah Francis is a Caddo Nation member who attended a Native American High School, and she knows some Native Americans are in favor of keeping Native mascots. 

Francis argues that Native American schools should be allowed to keep their mascots if they choose, but public schools should not be allowed to because “[the] mascots perpetuate stereotypes.” 

This movement started to build momentum during the nation’s systematic battle against racism that began last year. 

The community argues that the protest and request for bans are “about non-Native students also understanding that these mascots breed racism and that they perpetuate negative stereotypes.”

But what about the Native American groups and supporters who still see these mascots as ties to history, and symbols of strength or pride in heritage? 

As this wave of reform crosses the country, we want to know what you think, should the federal government ban Native American mascots in sports?

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2 Thoughts to “Native American Mascots: A Symbol of Strength or Racial Stereotype?”

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  2. Wyatt Earp

    Oh, please! Name one tribe that cry out? I wait! Tgese is liberals attack on HONOR THE INDIANS ! I’m one as well! I do not see anything wrong with being call REDSKINS OR CHIEF, BRAVES, etc.. just a bunch of lying liberals and communist people who HATE THAT THESE PEOPLE ARE BEING HONORED! I’m proud to be call a CHEROKEE !

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