Canku Ota - A Newsletter Celebrating Native America
January 8, 2000

The Mascot Issue - Some Progress
by Robert Eurich

Plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the Washington, D.C. NFL team concerning its racially disparaging nickname win their case in a U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ruling.

The first ever U.S. Department of Justice probe into the mascot issue takes place at Erwin High, Asheville, North Carolina. Although the school agrees to change the name for its girls teams from "Squaws," at the end of 1999, other settlement conditions for instituting correctives remain unmet and in violation of the agreement terms.

The U.S. Census Bureau adopts a policy on non-use of Athletic Teams with American Indian or Alaska Native Names in Promoting Census 2000

Utah State Tax Commission revoked three license plates bearing variations of the word "Reds****"

In an poll conducted by the National Spectator's Association, 60% of respondents indicate they want the "Wahoo" logo of the Cleveland Major League Baseball team to be changed.

Millard High, one of the largest school's in Nebraska, adopts plans to replace its "Indian" mascot with a "Patriot."

Research conducted by a college professor debunks the myth that the Cleveland MLB team was named in "honor" of Louis Sockalexis, one of the first Native Americans to play for that club.

Rickards High in Florida wisely decides to retire its 40 year old "Reds****" nickname.

Seattle University nears completion of the process to change its "Chieftains" mascot.

Oklahoma City University finalizes plans to change its "Chiefs" nickname to "Stars"

ESPN airs a special program on Native Americans in sports and which contains a segment on the mascot issue. Follow-up coverage includes an insightful online chat session with leading advocate, Suzan Shown Harjo.

The NAACP issues a second resolution in support of retiring "Indian" sports team tokens.

The Society of Indian Psychologists of the Americans issues a position statement and receives coverage in the prestigious American Psychological Association.

The Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs issues a comprehensive and insightful mascot resolution.

The Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council adopts a resolution to eliminate the use of depictions of and cultural references to American Indians as mascots, logos, and team nicknames in Wisconsin public schools

Linguists from the Society for the Study of Indigenous Languages of the Americas adopt a policy against the University of Illinois' Champaign-Urbana "Chief Illiniwek" and vow not to return to that campus until the race-related token is changed. The American Anthropology Association later adopts a similar stance.

The main Cleveland area public library enacts a dress code that prohibits its 700 employees from wearing garments bearing "Wahoo" images.

Ten schools in the Dallas, Texas, area follow through on a 1997 decision to change their "Indian" sports team tokens.

Crayola replaces its "Indian Red" crayon color.

Some specific activity sites include (in no particular order):

Milton, WI (and Wisconsin in general)
10 schools throughout Maine
66 schools throughout Louisiana
Wichita, KS
Alvarado, TX
Danville, VT
Deerfield, MA
Winchester, MA
Huntley, IL
Roanoke, VA
University of North Dakota
Eastern Michigan University
University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana
Florida State University
Cleveland, OH
Marquette, MI
Cincinnati, OH
Los Angeles, CA
Salmon River, ID
Elizabethton, TN
Knoxville, TN

For Links to these stories and more, visit this site:
1999 Retrospective

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