March 21, 2008

"Honoring" Natick's losers

Supporters of the Natick "Redmen" say they're honoring Indians, of course. Here's the historical reality they're actually "honoring":

Editorial:  To honor Indians, pick a new nameThe back-and-forth over the nickname has prompted many in town to get acquainted with Natick's own Indian heritage. Natick was founded by Indians, as the first of John Eliot's villages for "Praying Indians" who had converted to Christianity.

Natick's Indians played a large role in the events leading up to King Philip's War, the bloody conflict that cemented the domination of English colonials over the Indian tribes of New England. The Praying Indians were allies of the English, and the scouting by some Natick Indians played a direct role in the defeat of Philip, the sachem who led the revolt.

But as Philip's men destroyed settlements west of Boston, the English turned on the Praying Indians. They were imprisoned in Natick in 1675 and sent off to Deer Island in chains, where hundreds died. Things didn't get better after the war. They were cheated out of their lands, some sold into slavery and some murdered. One account notes the summary execution in 1676 of an Indian named Captain Tom on the spot where Jordan's Furniture now stands.
But supporters aren't totally oblivious to real Indians:To their credit, the group pushing to bring back Redmen has embraced this cause, promising to donate any excess funds raised for their campaign toward efforts to erect a statue.Comment:  A statue? Built only with excess funds--if there are any? Can you say "face-saving sop to political correctness"? "Meaningless gesture"? "Drop in the bucket"?

No, supporters aren't totally oblivious to real Indians. They may be 99.9% oblivious, but you can't say they're totally oblivious. One of them may have thought about a real Indian once.

What Redmen supporters are really doing is puffing up themselves by puffing up the people they defeated. "See how great those Indians were? We're just like them, except better. We're even greater warriors than the Indians because we triumphed over them."

When Natick restores the Praying Indians' stolen land or pays reparations to them, then I'll believe they care about Indians. Until then, no.

For more on the subject, see Smashing People:  The "Honor" of Being an Athlete. Also see my comments at the end of the original article.

Below:  More "redmen" mascots.


dmarks said...

Again with the Aaron Spelling mascot.

Anonymous said...

The "Redmen Forever Committee," a name designed to elicit support from those residents who go to high school football games and may not know or care about American Indians as people, is claiming that the "Redmen" nickname honors the Natick Praying Indians. On three specific occasions in the past 14 months Chief Caring Hands of the Praying Indians has stated quite clearly that her people do not feel honored. She went as far as to state during a january 2007 natick School Committee meeting that "if our children were in this school, the name would have been gone a long time ago." Claiming that it intends to pay for a statue is just a propaganda ploy to make the nickname opponents look like the anti-Indian people. Perhaps this nickname committee should honor the tribe's wishes and accept the school committee's decision to drop the name. I suspect the Praying Indians will turn down their offer.

Rob said...

You mean the Tosa East mascot, DMarks? I don't have many images of red-faced mascots, so I use that one occasionally.

Pete Sanfacon is leading the battle against the Natick Redmen. Go, Pete!