Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Mascot Question and Answer

Question from Parenthood for Me

That must be so satisfying. I have a question for you. I live in W. NY. Home of the Iroquois Tribes. I live in a town called Irondequoit. Our town name means "Where the land and waters meet" because our suburb is surrounded by water on three sides. Our high school mascot was an Indian head and our team names was the Irondequoit Indians. The name and logo were changed in 2003. Our residents were disappointed b/c our town name is NA. What is your opinion on this? Was our mascot and name offensive? I have always wanted to ask Native American their opinion.


Thank you so much for your comment about the mascot issue. I know it can be confusing for people especially when it is not done out of malice. I understand that many communities do not intend to offend Indian peoples.

In regard to your specific question about if the high school mascot was a word, yes. It is always offensive to use Native Americans as mascots even if that is not the intent. Now, if the school was named for a prominent Indian person (say ..Oren Lyons) then that would be an honor. The way Americans honor their peoples is to name the school, bank, airport, street after them....not the mascot. So Sitting Bull High School is a completely different thing then having Indians/Warriors/Braves as the mascot. Does that make sense?

To put in into another context: John F. Kennedy High School is an honor to one of our Presidents. Having the Cheerleader dress up in bill-box hats and calling them the Jackie-ettes would not be honorable.

Thanks again for your question. I think it's important for people with honest questions to have the forum to ask them in without fear of being attacked.



Elana Kahn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Riley said...

I found your explanation to be very interesting and informative - I'd never stopped to think about it that way - thanks!

bleu said...

I read your previous post and enjoyed it as well as this one. My roomie has been drawn to NA history and art for many years and together we have educated ourselves to be cognizant of hidden bigotries we find in our own lives.

Upon deciding to move to Canada I have learned so much about how this country has handled it's history. The aboriginal schools were so horrific but the things I am so impressed with is the reparations that are still taking place. The aboriginal and first nation's communities and leaders doing so much within their communities to not only better them but to educate others. I also think using the terms First Nations and Aboriginal to describe the culture is so much more healthy for all and especially for non-aboriginal people. here when I say someone is Indian, like my son, it is known I mean East Indian. First Nations, to me, gives a proper context from the start.

Anyhow just my recent musings that were brought back up with your wonderful posts.