Negative Symbols

Essay by lazyguyJunior High, 9th gradeA-, June 2004

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The usages of Native American mascots and names in athletic teams are very disrespectful to the Native American culture and promote negative feelings between races. The Native American culture and it unsanctioned usage in athletic team has become the subject of numerous protests from Native Americans who feel degraded that their culture is being used to represent American sport teams. It is understandable that both sides, the Native American and those who believe the usage of Native American influenced teams is positive, would have conflicting views of whether or not Native American mascots are legitimate and whether or not it is degrading but both sides also present valid reasons. Many claim that the name and mascots were not intended to offend anyone but was actually intended to reflect the positive attributes of Native Americans such as dedication, courage, and pride in the teams but the Indian sentiments remain the same.

(Warsnop, 361)

        According to Suzan Shown Harjo, president of the nonprofit Morning Star Foundation, Indian names such as Chippewa's, Braves, Apaches, and Chief, also lower the self esteem of Native American teenagers and therefore contributes to their high suicide rates. Native American youths who find themselves unable to follow in the footsteps of the professional athletes may find themselves emulating the stereotypical image of the drunken Indian passed out in the gutter. (Worsnop,360) Wacky mascots and caricatures misrepresenting the true image of Indians also enforce harmful stereotypes which pass on to the youths. It was also founded that team names were creating a hostile environment for Native Americans youths. It was reported that a student was placed into a hostile situation where her Indian heritage was an issue and the name of the schools athletic team contributed to the issue. (Tucker,2)

In addition to the negative stereotypes, the Native American...