Just days before Super Bowl XXLVII, the NCAI is reminding Americans that Native people are not mascots.
“This week’s celebration of football is exactly why we need to keep talking about the D.C. mascot,” the organization said in an email to ICTMN. “Cheering for a football team should never include the casual use of a racial slur. It is important for all teams and all of their fans that the name of the D.C. team is changed.”
In October 2013, the organization released a 29-page report called Ending the Legacy of Racism in Sports & the Era of Harmful ‘Indian’ Sports Mascots, which ICTMN covered here.
The video called “Proud to Be” illustrates the strength and beauty of tribal nations and highlights prominent and influential Native people throughout history. The roughly two-minute video ends by saying that Native Americans call themselves many things, but not the R-word; and the last shot of the video is a picture of the ‘Redskins’ helmet.
The Redskins issue also got a mention in the NCAI's State of the Indian Nations speech, which I think is rare:
2014 State of Indian Nations
Native youth are also disproportionately vulnerable. Many grow up in communities where jobs are scarce or even non-existent… where classrooms lack basic essentials… where parents go sick because they don’t have access to decent health care.
And yet, whatever hardships they might face, our young people grow up surrounded by family and enriched by our timeless traditions. In this spirit, the Indian Child Welfare Act was passed to keep Native children with our families and communities... guided by our Elders, learning about our culture, and taking pride in who we are and where we come from.
We want our young people to live proudly as First Americans… while also embracing, and being embraced by, non-Native America.
That’s why the mockery of Native celebrations and dress in the name of sportsmanship is not just offensive, but insidious… because it asks us to accept the denigration of our heritage. It erodes our children’s sense of self. And that is simply unacceptable.