Commentary: Controversy over 'Indian' mascots

"Let’s take a look at some of the controversy surrounding college nicknames including logos and mascots used to convey a certain image:

Toss The Crusaders – A Massachusetts Christian college has decided that using a Crusader as a mascot can send out a wrong message, especially when they’re trying to convey God’s love and mercy to the student body. East Nazarene College in Quincy realized that so-called “crusaders” who operated under the guise of the Catholic Church to restore order centuries ago, choose to pillage, rape and destroy as they made their way across Europe. Now, the colleges nickname is Lions to reflect the Lion of Judah, Jesus Christ.

Losing The Fighting Sioux – The University of North Dakota has long gone by “Fighting Sioux” which includes the nickname as well as the college mascot. Recently, the school decided to retire both in deference to local tribes who have long objected to its usage. However, the school, which hasn’t selected a replacement name/mascot yet, will continue with the nickname if representatives from the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and the Spirit Lake Sioux tribe agree to allow the school to continue to use the name. That isn’t likely to happen as both tribes have been battling the school for three decades to make the switch which comes as the school is trying to reform its image to please members of the Summit League who oppose the school’s unauthorized use of the nickname.

Keeping the ‘Noles – Some colleges have learned that working with American tribes can go a long way toward building understanding, even allowing the school to continue using the name. Florida State University has proudly used the Seminole nickname, mascot and logo, but back in 1978 they realized that obtaining the official sanction of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, Inc. and the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma would go a long way in promoting respect. Today, the Seminole tribes have continued to support Florida State University with the women of the tribe making the regalia worn by Chief Osceola, a mascot based on the victorious Seminole leader."

Get the Story:
Matthew C. Keegan: Is Your School Mascot Politically Correct? (Say Campus Life 5/21)