January 24, 2010

Cherokee school chooses "Tommy Tomahawk"

Stilwell High School’s Indian mascot causes stir

By Christina Good VoiceA high school in eastern Cherokee Nation unveiled its new Indian mascot on Jan. 12, bringing with it more than just school spirit as many alumni and area residents have voiced opposition to it.

Stilwell High School administration came under fire by CN citizens and employees after a front-page photo in the Jan. 13 issue of the Stilwell newspaper, the Stilwell Democrat Journal, showed the new Indian mascot at a pep assembly.

The photo showed the mascot with a large head, long black hair in braids and exaggerated American Indian facial features such as a scowl, large nose and bushy eyebrows. The mascot is dressed in a fake buckskin shirt and leggings.

Mary Alice Fletcher, Stilwell Public Schools superintendent, said she fielded calls from several people, most of whom were CN employees, complaining they were offended by the mascot. But she said the students, faculty and administration didn’t intend to offend anyone with the mascot.

“It was done strictly to create school spirit because they’re proud of their Indian heritage,” Fletcher said. “Primarily, it was something the kids got after and promoted. Even our Indian heritage club was part of (the) promotion of that and donated funds for that.”

She said more than 70 percent of Stilwell High School’s student population is Indian, and a majority of those are Cherokee. The school has always been known as the Indians, but it’s never had a mascot.
Comment: The only thing stupider than non-Indians choosing a ugly cartoon savage for a mascot is Indians choosing it. This proves that Indian high-school students can be as naive and ignorant as anyone else.

Tommy Tomahawk? That must be the least original mascot name ever. What's the story here, Stilwell? Was Sammy Spearchucker taken? How about Kenny Cowboy-Killer? Did you consider Hal the Human Sacrificer?


I usually don't criticize Indian schools when they choose a name such as "Savages" or "Redskins." If they want to try to reappropriate a word, that's their right. But when they choose a cartoon mascot that insults all Indians, they're fair game.

Any Stilwell supporters out there? Feel free to write in and explain why you chose such a stupid, stereotypical mascot. Also feel free to include pictures of yourselves. I'd love to see if you look as grotesque as the big-nosed barbarian pictured below.

For more on the subject, see Team Names and Mascots.

Below: "Me dumb Injun named Tommy Tomahawk. Am too primitive to speak'um good English. Me no have'um wheel, metal, writing, guns, cars, computers. No laugh'um at me or me scalp'um you! Ugh!!" (Photo by Tommy Tomahawk Facebook Group)

No doubt Stilwell got its mascot outfit from one of the many costume companies across the country. Here are some more costumed clowns similar to the Stilwell savage. In fact, the second one may be the same mascot.

"Me angry! Kill'um palefaces! Grrr!"

Finally, another mascot named Tommy Tomahawk--because it's such a clichéd name:


dmarks said...

This will be another tool used by those who say things like "What's wrong with Chief Wahoo? Indians choose mascots like this all the time. Look at this...."

AreSeaDubya said...

I believe there is a group from the Cherokee nation confronting the school today.

Kat said...

Ouch... very fugly too (apart from the fact that it's odd to reinforce negative stereotypes of one's own ethnicity for one's kids).

Rob said...

The mascot is also a big waste of taxpayers' money:


Indian Mascot
Item: MSC132

Sale Price: $699.99 each
Was $769.00, You save 8%

Help your team brave the big game!

This Indian Brave Mascot Costume gives a boost to your school spirit. Shindigz is your place to find the fiercest and most affordable mascot costumes. Plus, our mascots come in one convenient size that is designed to fit individuals ranging from 5'2" to 6'2" in height.

Fan is included.