Copyright (c) 2002 University of Virginia School of Law
Virginia Sports & Entertainment Law Journal
SYMPOSIUM: BRAVES OR COWARDS: USE OF NATIVE AMERICAN IMAGES AND SYMBOLS AS SPORTS NICKNAMES: The Tears of Strangers Are Only Water: The Refusal of America To Understand the Mascot Issue
1 Va. Sports & Ent. L.J. 283
All across America, schools are grappling with the decision of whether or not to eliminate mascots based on Native Americans. Violence, oppression, threats, hate mail - activities we have not seen the likes of since the 1960s Civil Rights movement - are now quietly happening across the country. For some reason, the issue has been largely ignored, not only by the national press and the general public, but also by the U.S. Department of Education.
While most people shrug their shoulders at what appears to be a community problem, many school boards involved attach great emotion to their right to keep these symbols. Stories abound of the honor they feel they have bestowed upon Native Americans by using them as mascots. In their defense, they claim to represent their schools with Indians because they were proud, fierce, even because they were spiritual, as in the case of the Holy Cross School in Covington, Kentucky. School personnel say these images have been around for years and have never hurt anyone before. Many people who hold tightly to these images say that they are tired of being politically correct, and that it all must stop somewhere.
Between the 1930s through the 1950s, schools began adopting the use of Native American names and imagery. This included the use of feathers, which had always been considered sacred by Native Americans and had always been used in Native ceremonies, even if only surreptitiously during the period of time their religion ...
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