Sunday, May 16, 2010

United States / Native Americans

Symposium to Explore Schools' Use of Native American Names, Logos
By Eric Russell
Bangor Daily News, May 14, 2010
"In a state with four Native American tribes, school nicknames like Redskins, Braves, Warriors and simply, Indians, as well as their accompanying mascots, are offensive to many. Yet, while several Maine schools have changed their names and logos to reflect changing times, others are sticking with tradition. The debate is not new, but local author and college instructor Ed Rice will revisit the conversation by hosting a symposium today titled 'Respectful or Disgraceful?: Examining Maine School Use of Indian Nicknames and Mascots' ... Rice, who is well known for his advocacy of Louis Sockalexis, a Mainer and the first Native American to play Major League Baseball, stressed that the discussion is not meant to be a witch hunt.
'I think residents are learning that some of these nicknames, while meant to honor, are embarrassing to the state,' Rice said recently. 'If you can't yell out your nickname, don't you know you have a problem?' In preparation for the symposium, Rice did some research. He discovered that a national advocacy group, the American Indian Cultural Support organization, listed on its Web site that there are 31 schools in Maine that still use a racially insensitive mascot. Rice didn't trust that number. So he called all the schools. What he discovered was that 18 of those schools have done away with the nickname in question and four others have retained the nickname but don’t use it on uniforms. That left nine holdouts. [...]"

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