July 1, 2005
From: andre cramblit email@example.com
Mascot Issue (Action Alert)�
Between now and August 1, the National Collegiate Athletic Association must hear from Native Americans from throughout the country.� The voices of Native Americans who oppose the racial stereotyping and the denigration of Native People inherent in the use of Native American names and imagery as sports mascots must be heard.� All support is welcome.
� �NCAA may OK Indian� mascots� Native American Times guest� commentary �
�The NCAA's committee� studying the use of Indian mascots in college sports is� getting ready to release� their findings in August and the rumor is that they� are going to make� recommendations regarding use of Indian imagery but will� stop short of a� ban. �
�The same sources say they have been influenced by the Florida� Seminoles� hearty endorsement of the objectification of their own image for one� of the� state's teams. To be exact, the Oklahoma Seminoles signed a resolution a� long with� the rest of the Five Civilized Tribes calling for and end to the use� of� Indians as mascots. �
�Not for nothing, but non-Indian's rabid respect� held for the Florida� Seminole would make the tribe's opposition an act of war.� They have one of the� longest and most lucrative gaming arrangements in the� nation, and much of it is� contingent on a chummy relationship between the state �capitol and the tribe. �
�Of course not all Seminoles support the use of� their image on the side of� helmets or having a non-Seminole jumping in the name� of team spirit. Their� mascot Chief Osceola is named after famed Seminole war� leader Osceola.� Tragically, the valiant warrior who defied the American �government in the costliest war� ($50,000,000 and 2,000 Federal soldier lives)� died in custody of the� government he defied and was captured under a flag of� truce. �
�The Chief Osceola figure is sold in stores and on the Internet.� Osceola was� not a chief, but he is marketed in that fashion by the school� claiming they� honor the great warrior. �
�Other sports teams who have a� rivalry with the Florida State University have� sold toilet paper rolls with the� face of Osceola on each tissue square with� the words "the only good place for a� Seminole." �
�Needless to say, this country and the NCAA would lessen the� racial divide� between Indian people in the rest of the country if they would ban� Indian� mascots. Perhaps even more importantly, the fate of all Indian mascots� and the� humiliation it creates would be dramatically reduced if the leaders of� the Great� Seminole Nation of Florida would join Indian people everywhere by� calling� for and end of this disrespectful use of their image. �
Perhaps then this country can move on to more important debates. �
Louis Gray is a former editor of the Native American Times and remains a regular� contributor. �
NCAA American Indian mascot ban will begin Feb. 1
INDIANAPOLIS -- The NCAA banned the use of American Indian mascots by sports teams during its postseason tournaments, but will not prohibit them otherwise.
The NCAA's Executive Committee decided this week the organization did not have the authority to bar Indian mascots by individual schools, committee chairman Walter Harrison said Friday.
Nicknames or mascots deemed "hostile or abusive" would not be allowed by teams on their uniforms or other clothing beginning with any NCAA tournament after Feb. 1, said Harrison, the University of Hartford's president.
"What each institution decides to do is really its own business" outside NCAA championship events, he said.
At least 18 schools have mascots the NCAA would deem "hostile or abusive," including Florida State's Seminole and Illinois' Illini. The full list of schools was not immediately released.
At the University of North Dakota, where the Fighting Sioux nickname has come under fire, officials said they wanted to study the decision before commenting.
"We just don't have enough information to know exactly what it means," said Phil Harmeson, a senior associate to school president Charles Kupchella.
Guidelines were not immediately available on which logos and nicknames would be considered "hostile or abusive."
Not all schools with Indian-related nicknames would be on that list. NCAA officials said some schools using the Warrior nickname do not use Indian symbols and would not be affected.
Vernon Bellecourt, president of the National Coalition on Racism in Sports and Media, was pleased with the postseason ban but wanted even stronger action by the NCAA.
"We would have hoped the NCAA would have provided the moral leadership on this issue, but obviously they've chosen to only go halfway," said Bellecourt, a member of the Anishinabe-Ojibwe Nation in Minnesota.
The NCAA two years ago recommended that schools determine for themselves whether the Indian depictions were offensive.
Among the schools to change nicknames in recent years over such concerns were St. John's (from Redmen to Red Storm) and Marquette (from Warriors to Golden Eagles).
The NCAA plans to ban schools using Indian nicknames from hosting postseason events. Harrison said schools with such mascots that have already been selected as tournament sites would be asked to cover any offensive logos.
Such logos also would be prohibited at postseason games on cheerleader and band uniforms starting in 2008.�