Native American mascots in sports
The use of Native American mascots in sports has become a contentious issue in the United States and Canada. Americans have had a history of "playing Indian" that dates back to at least the 1700s. Many individuals[who?] admire the heroism and romanticism evoked by the classic Native American warrior image, but numerous Native Americans[specify] think use of items associated with them as mascots is both offensive and demeaning. While many universities[which?] and professional sports teams[which?] no longer use such images without consultation with Native American nations, some lower level schools[which?] and sports teams[which?] continue to do so.
(Trudie Lamb Richmond doesn't) know what to say when kids argue, 'I don't care what you say, we are honoring you. We are keeping our Indian.' ... What if it were 'our black' or 'our Hispanic'? - Amy D'orio quoting Trudie Lamb Richmond, March 1996, "Indian Chief Is Mascot No More"
A Washington Redskins helmet with logo. In August 2005, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) banned the use of "hostile and abusive" Native American mascots in postseason tournaments. An exception was made to allow the use of tribal names as long as approved by that tribe (such as the Seminole Tribe of Florida's approving use of their name for the team of Florida State University.) The use of Native American-themed team names in U.S. professional sports is widespread. Examples are mascot Chief Wahoo and teams such as the Cleveland Indians and Washington Redskins, considered controversial by some.
"Could you imagine people mocking African Americans in black face at a game?" he said. "Yet go to a game where there is a team with an Indian name and you will see fans with war paint on their faces. Is this not the equivalent to black face?" - "Native American Mascots Big Issue in College Sports",Teaching Tolerance, May 9, 2001
Teaching Tolerance. "Native American Mascots Big Issue in College Sports". www.tolerance.org/news/article_tol.jsp?id=165
Main article: Native American mascot controversy
Actions: Stanford University had The Stanford Indian, a Native American as mascot (1930-1972). Today, The Stanford Cardinal honors the color. The mascot of Stanford Band is a Tree.
Seattle University changed the nickname of their mascot from Chieftains to Redhawks in 2000.
Other Indian tribes have also supported the use of their tribal names as a tribute to their heritage. The Ute tribe approved the use of the name "Utes" for the University of Utah and the NCAA granted a waiver to allow the name to remain.
The Sioux tribe, however, refused to approve the use of the name "Fighting Sioux" in the name of the University of North Dakota. UND has appealed several times to the NCAA and is currently under a championship host ban for not removing the moniker.
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, however, is permitted to use the name "Illini" owing to the NCAA ruling that the name "is closely related to the name of the state and not directly associated with Native Americans." The mascot Chief Illiniwek was ruled "hostile and abusive" and was retired in 2007 to comply with the NCAA's ruling, and the following year, in compliance with a related NCAA ruling, both UIUC and Northwestern University retired their then-current rivalry trophy, the Sweet Sioux Tomahawk.
The College of William & Mary, nicknamed the "Tribe", was forced to remove the two tribal feathers stemming from their logo in 2006 due to insensitivity towards Native Americans.
Many high schools across the country have encountered the same scenario. Frontier Regional School, in Deerfield, MA was forced to remove their Redskin mascot in 2000. The school now goes by the moniker of the Redhawks. On the other hand, Union High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a high-profile high school athletic program, has consistently opposed protests and proposed legislation intended to change its "Redskins" nickname