Editorial: Tribal approval of mascots not enough

"All claims of deference and honor to indigenous populations aside, there are few things in sports more offensive than the caricatures of American Indians that populate a surprising number of college and professional logos.

There is of course a spectrum of disrespect, ranging from the extreme—such as the Cleveland Indians’ giant-toothed, red-faced cartoon character or the University of Illinois’ former dancing Illini chief—to the relatively restrained. But regardless of just how culturally insensitive each individual mascot happens to be, the fundamental idea of co-opting native identity and slapping pictures on football helmets, baseball hats and hockey jerseys remains indicative of race-based oppression, and, in some cases, a refusal to view American Indians fully as people.

Teams such as the Brewers and Packers—whose mascots were and in a sense still are fat, sausage-eating Germans—and the Vikings, who feature a bearded barbarian with horns on his head, have also used negative stereotypes in sports.

But there is a difference, namely that hundreds of thousands of Germans and Scandinavians were not chased, murdered and scalped across the country for hundreds of years before then being used as logos in a spirit akin to naming a team after an extinct animal. UW should address that problem before it pats itself on the back for not letting Chief Illiniwek into the Kohl Center."

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Tribe approval of mascots not enough (The Daily Cardinal 11/14)