Indian Mascots: Do UU’s Care?

The United Church of Christ has been engaged in solidarity work with American Indians for years over indigenous rights of Native Americans.  At GA 2001 in Cleveland, the GA Planning Committee and UUA President called for a protest of the Cleveland "Indians" in conjunction with the UCC and American Indian activists.  Several hundred of us marched before a game, in the blazing rain, and listened to speeches and read literature about the issue.  I was very pleased to hear Friday the news that the NCAA has banned the use of indian "mascots", to begin with in the post-season tourneys.  There was a rocking debate on talk radio, mostly anti-NCAA decision, but still, it is getting folks talking and analyzing.  My relationships with Native Americans started at the University of Oregon in the early 1990’s, and I’ve never met one who was supportive of the idea of indian mascots.  Congratulations in part to UCC for their activism, but ultimately to the American Indian activists who have been rallying around this issue for a century or longer.  A UU Asian friend noted that Stanford in 1972 cast aside their indian mascot, ‘ahead of the curve’ so to speak.

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3 responses to “Indian Mascots: Do UU’s Care?

  1. I agree with the NCAA ruling. Interesting story I like to pass around when I’m in groups having this discussion:

    There are multiple Nations of native American’s in the area where I live. In my most immediate area (the county , roughly) they have formed The Huron Council (as we live on the Huron River).

    Eastern Michigan University historically had the mascot of The Hurons. In the late 80’s, as the argument that such mascots became louder, there were many demonstrations at EMU from community members and students, in protest of EMU using such a designation. It was indeed those very protests that helped create the Native American Student Organization.

    But Oddly enough, that group, and the Huron council, were never apart of the protests. By their account, EMU (and Normal Teacher College before it) had always been respectful and cognisant of the Native peoples of the area, recognizing that we, the non-Native peoples,were just that, not just at school ceremonies, but at each and every sporting event.

    To this day, you’ll see bumbper stickeers around town reading “Once a Huron, Always a Huron”, and hear many peoples regrets that, since the Non-Native peoples won out and the mascot DID change, EMU has become less and less congisant of the history of the region, and her peoples.

    Now, I know this is atypical, and Cheif Wahoo is by no means as resectful the The Huron that would run about at EMU games, but it’s an interesting story.

  2. In NC, there’s a school, UNC-Pembroke that has an American Indian mascot and I’m okay with that as the school is 1/5 AI and is located in the heart of the Lumbee Nation. In fact, it’s the one school exempt from the NCAA ruling this week. Otherwise, I think we could do without the mascots.

  3. that’s brilliant news! thanks for sharing it. Do we know if there are any current mascots that will be affected by this?

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