indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439
Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

printer friendly version
NCAA won't allow Indian mascots at playoff games
Monday, August 8, 2005

The National Collegiate Athletic Association announced its new mascot policy on Friday, limiting the use of imagery deemed "hostile and abusive" to Native Americans.

Starting February 1, 2006, 18 schools with Indian-themed mascots, nicknames or symbols will not be allowed to use or display their images in post-season NCAA tournaments. The institutions won't be allowed to host such events in the future either. Previously scheduled playoffs at these schools will occcur as planned, but the schools "must take reasonable steps to cover up" the references to Indians, the NCAA said.

The policy, approved by the NCAA Executive Committee on Thursday, doesn't bar member schools from using Indian imagery to promote their athletic programs. "But as a national association, we believe that mascots, nicknames or images deemed hostile or abusive in terms of race, ethnicity or national origin should not be visible at the championship events that we control," said Walter Harrison, the chair of the committee and president at the University of Hartford.

The changes come in response to decades of complaints by Indian activists and tribal organizations. As far back as the 1950s and 1960s, leaders in Indian Country objected to the use of names like the "Redskins" and the "Braves," saying they promoted stereotypes and discrimination.

Hundreds of secondary and post-secondary schools have dropped their Indian mascots as a result. But a number of high-profile holdouts, such as the University of North Dakota's "Fighting Sioux" and the University of Illinois' "Chief Illiniwek," remain on playing fields across the nation.

Those schools will now be under pressure to change their mascots, National Congress of American Indians President Tex Hall said. "This is a big step in the right direction," he said on Friday. "We hope that in the future the uses of Indian mascots are discontinued in all sports arenas," he added.

Not everyone in Indian Country agreed with the changes, however. Joseph Sowmick, a spokesperson for the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe of Michigan, said the decision "is not acceptable" and was made without tribal consultation. The tribe backs the "Chippewas" of Central Michigan University.

"The rich relationship that the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe has with CMU cannot be determined by an outside entity without contacting the institution and the government involved," he said.

Leaders of the Seminole Tribe of Florida also criticized the move. In June, the tribal council passed a resolution in support of the "Seminoles" mascot of Florida State University, citing the long relationship between the two. The Seminole Nation of Oklahoma opposes the image, though.

Responses from the institutions themselves were largely negative. "I intend to pursue all legal avenues to ensure that this unacceptable decision is overturned, and that this university will forever be associated with the 'unconquered' spirit of the Seminole Tribe of Florida," said FSU President T.K. Wetherell.

The process began in November 2004, when the NCAA asked 33 schools to justify their use of Indian images. Some cited tribal support for the mascots while others simply argued that the symbols are not offensive to Native Americans.

David Gipp, the president of the United Tribes Technical College, wrote to the NCAA Subcommittee on Gender and Diversity last month to call for the removal of the "Fighting Sioux" nickname and logo at UND. All the Sioux tribes in the Plains have passed resolutions against the name.

"I believe there should be some consequences for essentially promoting a racially biased point of view by use of a derogatory stereotypical name for sports teams, and I also believe that the NCAA is in a position to do something about it," wrote Gipp, an alumnus of UND.

The NCAA backed that stance in its policy, which applies to 18 colleges and universities. With the exception of five schools, every school is located in the Eastern or Midwestern part of the country.

Another 14 schools had removed all Indian imagery or were deemed not to reference Indian culture, the NCAA said. One school, the College of William and Mary, was given an extension to review its "Tribe" mascot.

One school, the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, was excluded from the policy altogether. The NCAA determined that the "Braves" mascot was acceptable because the school was founded to serve members of the Lumbee Tribe. Native Americans make up 20 percent of the student body.

The following 18 schools are affected:
  • Alcorn State University (Braves)
  • Central Michigan University (Chippewas)
  • Catawba College (Indians)
  • Florida State University (Seminoles)
  • Midwestern State University (Indians)
  • University of Utah (Utes)
  • Indiana University-Pennsylvania (Indians)
  • Carthage College (Redmen)
  • Bradley University (Braves)
  • Arkansas State University (Indians)
  • Chowan College (Braves)
  • University of Illinois-Champaign (Illini)
  • University of Louisiana-Monroe (Indians)
  • McMurry University (Indians)
  • Mississippi College (Choctaws)
  • Newberry College (Indians)
  • University of North Dakota (Fighting Sioux)
  • Southeastern Oklahoma State University (Savages)

NCAA Announcement:
NCAA Executive Committee Issues Guidelines for Use of Native American Mascots at Championship Events (August 5, 2005)

Relevant Links:
NCAA Minority Opportunities and Interests Committee - http://www1.ncaa.org/eprise/main/
membership/governance/assoc-wide/moic/index.html

National Coalition on Racism in Sports and Media - http://www.aimovement.org/ncrsm

Related Stories:
NCAA committee to take up Indian mascots (8/3)
TV stations challenged on use of 'Redskins' name (07/22)
Giago: Seminole Tribe wrong on Indian mascots (07/19)
Appeals court keeps 'Redskins' lawsuit alive (07/18)
Opinion: Changing mascots is a waste of time (07/15)
Mascots not only an issue for Native Americans (7/14)
Opinion: It's time for racist mascots to go (7/14)
Seminole Tribe doesn't have problem with mascots (07/05)
NCAA committee won't call for ban on Indian mascots (6/28)
Seminole Nation opposes FSU's 'Seminoles' mascot (6/23)
Seminole Tribe supports FSU's 'Seminoles' mascot (6/21)
Editorial: Not all 'Indian' mascots are offensive (05/31)
Harjo: NCAA should ban all 'Native' imagery (5/27)
FSU defends use of 'Seminole' mascot in NCAA letter (05/17)
Schools defend Indian mascots in reports to NCAA (5/16)
Editorial: UND's 'Fighting Sioux' report not truthful (05/06)
FSU preparing report on use of 'Seminole' mascot (04/29)
Virginia tribe not offended by school's nickname (04/26)
Saginaw Chippewa Tribe supports CMU nickname (04/13)
Drunk Student: Chief Illiniwek is not offensive to Natives (04/07)
Group protests university's 'Fighting Sioux' name (03/28)
UNC-Pembroke stands by its 'Braves' nickname (03/09)
UND asked to study 'Fighting Sioux' name again (02/17)

Copyright 2000-2005 Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:

Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Tim Giago: Deaths of Native men in Rapid City remain unsolved (10/20)
Charles 'Chuck' Trimble: Let Crazy Horse's spirit rest in peace (10/20)
Mark Trahant: Races come down to turnout in three key states (10/20)
Native Sun News: Billy Mills wows youth at Black Hills Powwow (10/20)
Cedric Sunray: Tribes abandon traditional aspects of inclusion (10/20)
Dustina Gill: Vote for Rick Weiland to protect our sacred waters (10/20)
Ousted Project Runway contestant reaffirms Puyallup heritage (10/20)
Bryan Brewer: Park helps Oglala Sioux Tribe protect its culture (10/20)
Robert Porter: Don't let tribal issues fall prey to partisan politics (10/20)
Gabe Galanda: Abramoff's playbook still used in Indian Country (10/20)
Jay Daniels: Let BIA make changes to rights-of-way regulation (10/20)
Mike McBride: Sovereign goodwill at a low in tribal tax dispute (10/20)
Eastern Shawnee Tribe to open resort at ancestral site in Ohio (10/20)
Chukchansi Tribe sends layoff notices to most casino workers (10/20)
Rivals raise nearly $16M to block North Fork Rancheria casino (10/20)
Judge won't let BIA proceed with compact for Pojoaque Pueblo (10/20)
Candidates discuss Menominee Nation's off-reservation casino (10/20)
Opinion: Suckers help Chumash Tribe finance casino expansion (10/20)
Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux Tribe buckles to pressure on park (10/17)
Mark Trahant: Native vote could tip races in Idaho and Colorado (10/17)
Crystal Willcuts: Remembering the beauty that was my mother (10/17)
Blackfeet actress Misty Upham found dead after going missing (10/17)
Citizen Potawatomi Nation sues city over detachment petition (10/17)
Opinion: Politicians relying on Native voters in a close election (10/17)
Poarch Creeks donate another $500K to Democratic candidate (10/17)
Montana to transfer bison from Yellowstone to Fort Peck Tribes (10/17)
Opinion: Listen to Native Americans who oppose racist mascots (10/17)
Charges possible in dispute at Chukchansi Tribe's closed casino (10/17)
Oglala Sioux Tribe might open third casino under new compact (10/17)
Women dominate workforce at Northern Arapaho Tribe's casino (10/17)
Ho-Chunk Nation to shut down poker room after losing lawsuit (10/17)
Blog: What to know about Prop 48 and off-reservation gaming (10/17)
Native Sun News: Native vote plays key role in Senate matchup (10/16)
Dean Chavers: Calling out Ward Churchill and other wannabes (10/16)
Glenn Morris: A sorry spectacle at UN indigenous peoples meet (10/16)
Crosscut to present special award to late activist Billy Frank Jr. (10/16)
Editorial: Our schools can learn from success at tribal colleges (10/16)
Column: Language police want FCC to bar R-word on airwaves (10/16)
Navajo lawyer named chair of Washington gaming commission (10/16)
Judge won't allow factions of Chukchansi Tribe to reopen casino (10/16)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.