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The Mascot Issue: Decapitating the Indian Image. How did FN People get turned into Sports logos and What do these logos signify?  Book: “The Last of.

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Presentation on theme: "The Mascot Issue: Decapitating the Indian Image. How did FN People get turned into Sports logos and What do these logos signify?  Book: “The Last of."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Mascot Issue: Decapitating the Indian Image

2 How did FN People get turned into Sports logos and What do these logos signify?  Book: “The Last of the Mohicans”  James Fenimore Cooper, 1826  During French Indian War  Painted Image: Indians = Ignoble Savages (attack women / children)  Sole-less beings (Christianity)  Violent Sports: Football / hockey (also (also basketball/baseball)  8 of top 10 college sports teams have animal nicknames  Other 2 = “Warriors” and “Indians”  Degrades Indians  makes them appear as less than human

3 Discourses Represented: Why were these images invented?  Icons/pictures not representative of people/cultures  Offensive caricatures  Claimed to “honor” FN people  Created by population that almost obliterated them  Used to belittle culture… Create stereotypes  Would a German soccer team honoring holocaust survivors by naming soccer team “The Fighting Jews” be appropriate?

4 UND Fighting Sioux  Sioux = “Snake” (Lakota/Dakota tribes)  Sioux Never asked for this “honor”  Heated rivalry with NDSU Bison's Reasons for name change: 1. Sioux are a good exterminating agent for Bison 2. Sioux are warlike, of fine physique and bearing 3. The word Sioux is easily rhymed for yells and songs

5 Cleveland Indians  “We’ll have the Indians on the warpath all the time, eager for scalps to dangle at their belts” - Cleveland Sportswriter, 1915  “Honor” Louis Sockalexis  Quit due to racial discrimination  Died as an alcoholic beggar  Is “Chief Wahoo” an accurate depiction?

6 Movie: “Major League Baseball”  Scene: 9 th inning of last game  Thousands of white people dressed in Indian garb  Indians facing Yankees = colonial narrative  Indians win well after fact they are raped/pillaged by western culture  Ultimate act of appropriation  Metaphor: Can’t even win own battles against Yankees  White people had to do it for them

7 Not simply Mascots/Logo’s… Also Racist Practices  FSU Seminole’s Home Games:  Chief Osceola rides onto field  Plants fiery spear into turf  Before battle:  Once you go past this line you declare war  On Campus: “Unconquered” statue of Chief Osceola  Both images of savagery  FN people stuck in the past… Like wild beasts to be conquered

8 Similarities between Logos  All Decapitated Chiefs or Images of Violent Weapons

9 Good Indian Mascots: How do they get selected and are they really good?  2010 Olympics Winter logo  Ilaanaq the Innunguaq  Ilaanaq = Inuktitut word for “friend”  Inuits not asked permission to use knowledge/ name for logo Olympic committee benefits off their beliefs and the Inuits see none of the profits

10 Who Profits from these logo’s?  James Sinclair:  Not the Indians themselves…  Major Indian territory  Make money by keeping Indians depressed  Influences ways land titles are claimed  Assists in continuing conquering and dispossession of Indigenous people

11 Effects on Youth  All children harmed by mascots (not just native children)  Once stereotype is established, very difficult for students to learn about present day Indians afterwards  Many children believe that Indians have been killed off long time ago and that’s why their school logo is an Indian: to be remembered .: Crucial for educators to teach school age children about sports team logos

12 How are FN People responding to the Mascot Issue?  Mostly through writing Claimed offensive because:  Reinforces cultural stereotypes  Perpetuates violent war-like icons  Denigrates native spirituality  Created uproar in NCAA  18 teams banned from post season competition in 2005 due to logos/nicknames considered “hostile or abusive”

13 Resistance movement  Vernon Bellecourt: "We are saying - start playing football and stop playing Indian. Stop this dehumanizing, degrading, and despicable exploitation of our culture and spiritual life."  Clyde Bellecourt, National Director, AIM: "We don't want to be mascots for America's fun and games."  Mike Wicks: "We need to educate the educators. Show them the harm that is being done to all children.“  Charlene Teters, Spokane: “This war, no longer on battlefields is now being fought in the courtrooms, corporation boardrooms, and classrooms over the appropriation of Native American names, spiritual and cultural symbols by professional sports, Hollywood, schools, and universities. The issue for us is the right to self identification and self determination this is the fight of the National Coalition on Racism in Sports and the Media.”

14 Conclusion  James Sinclair: “We must take it upon ourselves to educate people, especially the youth, about how much harm is being done to the Native community through exploitation and false representation of our people. It is time to speak up, through our actions and through literature so that one day, First Nations People will be recognized as equal beings with the rest of our society”

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