|Native American Mascots |
Native American Mascots
Today's most glaring examples of the simplistic, cartoon-like pseudo-Indian in public usage can be seen in sports team mascots. The Washington Redskins and the Atlanta Braves exemplify this usage. The countless souvenir items-coats, hats, shirts, socks, pennants, clocks, chairs, and mugs-represent major money-making aspects of mascots. What's my point, you may ask. Please stop and think about what mascots convey to anyone seeing them-the avid fan, the small child, the general public, new arrivals to the Americas, and, the Native American! Imagine, please, what it may feel like to be a child of Navajo, or Onondaga, or Haida, or Hopi, or Cherokee, or Micmac nation, and see "your Indianness" portrayed as whooping/war-dancing/feathered/animal-skin- wearing/tomahawk waving/red-skinned cartoon character! Would you feel "honored" that all sorts of people-wealthy, poor, nice, unpleasant, old, and young, claimed that this was what "Indians" are all about? Isn't this a continuation of the negative stereotyping we "avoid" under most other circumstances where other groups of people are concerned? How do we answer the questions of so-called Big Business when they ask how they are to handle their financial losses if all the mascot memorabilia must be changed? When other types of changes-based upon educational, religious, and health-related factors-are required by law, companies find ways to change. Perhaps, as some states have been doing, these changes will require legislative backing. In some instances, thoughtful groups will be supportive of the changes and will help with the change-over, financially and in other ways.