Native mascots and Native themed mascots and nicknames are harmful because they dehumanize Native people.
Native people are alive and represent nations and tribes within the colonized boundaries of the United States, in Canada, and Mexico. As Indigenous people we’ve been historically mis-represented through media, Hollywood, and popular culture because we were not supposed to survive genocide. Native people are rarely represented in the way we choose and America, the media, Hollywood and popular culture perpetuate stereotypes that Native people are savages, blood thirsty, that we all wear headdresses and that we are one homogenous group and people of the past. Many people need to understand that mascots are meant to be ridiculed, tortured, laughed at, and demonized. When you put a living ethnic group in that position, you open them up to ridicule and further manipulation. Native people have been victims long enough. We are done with that. Our culture isn’t a free market.
What are the harmful effects of Native mascots, nicknames, and Native themed mascots on Native youth?
The continued use of Native mascots, nicknames and Native themes in sports dehumanizes our image as real people. This creates harmful situations for our people, especially our youth. Studies conducted by psychologist Stephanie Freyberg shows stereotypes of Native people lower the self-esteem of Native Youth. (http://www.indianmascots.com/ex_15_-_fryberg_brown_v.pdf ). In 2005, the American Psychological Association called for the immediate retirement of Native American mascots as this negatively affects our youth ( http://www.apa.org/pi/oema/resources/indian-mascots.aspx ). Native mascots and nicknames harm Indigenous children and they should be retired. END OF STORY.
More to come…