ERIC Number: ED452017
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2001-Apr-16
Reference Count: N/A
Statement of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights on the Use of Native American Images and Nicknames as Sports Symbols.
Commission on Civil Rights, Washington, DC.
The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights calls for an end to the use of Native American images and team names by non-Native schools. While respecting the right to freedom of expression, the Commission believes that the use of Native American images and nicknames in school is insensitive and should be avoided. In addition, these mascots may violate anti-discrimination laws. Since the 1960s, many overtly derogatory symbols and images offensive to African Americans have been eliminated. However, many secondary schools, postsecondary institutions, and professional sports teams continue to use Native American nicknames and imagery despite the vigorous opposition of American Indian leaders and organizations. It is particularly disturbing that Native American references are still found in educational institutions, where they may create a racially hostile educational environment intimidating to Indian students. American Indians have the lowest high school graduation, college attendance, and college graduation rates. These problems may be exacerbated by the perpetuation of harmful stereotypes. While some schools maintain that Indian imagery stimulates interest in American Indian culture, stereotypes encourage interest only in mythical "Indians" and block genuine understanding of contemporary Native people as fellow Americans. The elimination of stereotypes will make room for education about real Indian people, current Native issues, and the rich variety of American Indian cultures in our country. (SV)
Descriptors: American Indians, Colleges, Cultural Images, Educational Environment, Elementary Secondary Education, Higher Education, Racial Bias, School Responsibility, Stereotypes, Team Sports
For full text: http://www.usccr.gov/statmnts/ntam001.htm.
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Commission on Civil Rights, Washington, DC.