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ERIC Number: EJ788143
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 20
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0095-182X
Exploitation of American Indian Symbols: A First Amendment Analysis
Hemmer, Joseph J., Jr.
American Indian Quarterly, v32 n2 p121-140 Spr 2008
American Indian symbols are used extensively as logos, mascots, nicknames, and trademarks. These images identify postsecondary as well as secondary academic institutions, professional sports franchises, commercial products, and geographic locations. Over the past few decades, efforts have been directed at eliminating or at least reducing the use of American Indian images and terms. In this article, the author examines the current controversy regarding the use of American Indian symbols. He considers arguments offered by both critics and defenders of symbol use and explores whether such customs may be regulated under First Amendment doctrines. The study is divided into two sections: (1) arguments that frame both sides of the controversy and (2) First Amendment analysis in light of six established First Amendment doctrines: (1) offensive words; (2) fighting words; (3) hate speech; (4) group libel; (5) significant governmental interest; and (6) commercial speech. Each concept is described and then applied to the issue of symbol use to determine whether that standard may be used as a basis for regulation. The author concludes that these standards provide little relief to those who would regulate use of American Indian symbols. (Contains 64 notes.)
University of Nebraska Press. 1111 Lincoln Mall, Lincoln, NE 68588-0630. Tel: 800-755-1105; Fax: 800-526-2617; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: First Amendment