Pueblo tribal leader, Campbells join Navy for commissioning
A group of American Indian high-school students, members of the Oneida Nation in Oneida, Wis., danced just before the commissioning ceremony, and Peter Pino, administrator of the Pueblo of Zia Tribe, spoke.
A Pueblo Indian might support the Mesa Verde warship for the same reason some Indians support sports mascots. As Jodi Rave wrote in "Need to Tell Stories About Natives Fuels Pen" (Lincoln Journal Star, 6/24/02):
The last time I reported on the results, they looked like this: 50 percent of indigenous high school students said they opposed Native mascots; 50 percent said they didn't mind. But overall, 90 percent said they felt it was disrespectful. When asked why they didn't mind being used as a mascot even if they felt it disrespectful, Fryburg said, students responded: "It's better than being invisible."
Indians like to think of themselves as warriors because the image is superficially positive....because it affirms their worth...and because our society values it. They have more important problems to deal with than military images...or commercial images such as Indians selling Jeeps, motorcycles, or beef jerky...or even some sports mascots (you'll notice they reserve the worst ire for vulgarities such as the Washington Redskins, Chief Wahoo, and Chief Illiniwek). Finally, as some Native children said about Indian mascots, it's better to be stereotyped than to be invisible.
Ben Nighthorse Campbell explains why "Mesa Verde":
"(The USS) Mesa Verde honors the oldest city in the U.S.," Campbell said.
So the name "Mesa Verde" isn't a perfect fit at all. It's a total mismatch with reality. There are trailer parks and homeless camps that are closer to being cities than Mesa Verde's ruins were.
If you want to name a ship after a city populated by Indians, try calling it the USS Shiprock. That seems like a great name for a ship to me.