Art by Aaron Sechrist, courtesy of NMAI

Racist Stereotypes in Sports to be Discussed at NMAI Thursday

ICTMN Staff
2/6/13

On Thursday, February 7, the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC will host "Racist Stereotypes and Cultural Appropriation in American Sports"—a symposium that promises to prove interesting given the current debate over the name of the city's NFL franchise.

The all-day event will feature some opening remarks by Kevin Gover, director of the NMAI, and three panel discussions: "Mascot Origin Myths," "Case Studies," and "A Community Conversation About the Washington NFL Team Name." For that last chat, sportswriters from the Washington Post and USA Today will join Robert I. Holden, Deputy Director of the National Congress of American Indians, and author and professor Philip J. Deloria, who will moderate.

Overall, the roster of participants is drawn heavily from academia. Suzan Shown Harjo will moderate the "Case Studies" discussion, and one of the panelists is former U.S. Senator Ben Nighthhorse Campbell.

Growing up in Norman, Oklahoma, where the University of Oklahoma is located, Gover experienced the Native-mascot phenomenon early in the form of Little Red. He told the Smithsonian blog that he was puzzled by the character (played by a student in costume). “I couldn’t quite understand why an Indian would get up and dance when the Sooners scored a touchdown.," he said. Gover added that mascot issues are "a much more loaded proposition" than they might seem at first glance, but that "the mood is changing ... and I have no doubt that in a decade or two, these mascots will all be gone.”

The symposium begins at 10:15 and will be webcast at nmai.si.edu/multimedia/webcasts. The full schedule and list of participants is as follows:

Welcome 10:15 a.m.

Hon. Kevin Gover, Esq., Director, National Museum of the American Indian

Mascot Origin Myths 10:30 a.m.

Dr. Manley A. Begay, Jr., Moderator. Associate Social Scientist/Senior Lecturer, American Indian Studies Program, The University of Arizona; and Co-Director, Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

Dr. E. Newton Jackson, Associate Provost and Professor of Sport Management, University of North Florida

Dr. C. Richard King, Co-Editor, Team Spirits, Native Athletes in Sport and Society, and Encyclopedia of Native Americans in Sports; and Professor and Chair, Department of Critical Gender & Race Studies, Washington State University

Dr. Ellen Staurowsky, Professor, Department of Sport Management, Goodwin School of Professional Studies, Drexel University

Ms. Linda M. Waggoner, Author, Fire Light: The Life of Angel De Cora, Winnebago Artist and “Playing Indian, Dreaming Indian: The Trial of William ‘Lone Star’ Dietz” (Montana: The History Magazine, Spring 2013); and lecturer, Multicultural Studies, Sonoma State University

Case Studies 1:30 p.m.

Dr. Suzan Shown Harjo, Moderator. President, The Morning Star Institute; Past Executive Director, National Congress of American Indians; and a Founding Trustee, National Museum of the American Indian

Dr. Lee Hester, Associate Professor and Director of American Indian Studies and Director of the Meredith Indigenous Humanities Center, The University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

Ms. Lois J. Risling, Educator and Land Specialist for the Hoopa Valley Tribes; and Retired Director, Center for Indian Community Development, Humboldt State University

N. Bruce Duthu, Esq., Chair and Professor, Native American Studies, Dartmouth College

Delise O’Meally, Esq., Director of Governance and International Affairs, National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)

Hon. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Council of Chiefs, Northern Cheyenne Tribe; President, Nighthorse Consultants; Trustee, National Museum of the American Indian; Award-winning Artist/Jeweler; U.S. Representative of Colorado (1987-1993); and U.S. Senator of Colorado (1992-2005)

A Community Conversation About the Washington NFL Team Name 3:45 p.m.

Dr. Philip J. Deloria, Moderator. Author, Playing Indian and Indians in Unexpected Places; Professor, History and American Studies, and Associate Dean, Undergraduate Education, College of Literature, Science and the Arts, University of Michigan

Hon. Judith Bartnoff, Esq., Deputy Presiding Judge, Civil Division, District of Columbia Superior Court

Mr. Erik Brady, Sports Reporter, USA Today

Rev. Graylan Hagler, Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ, and Immediate Past President, Ministers for Racial, Social and Economic Justice

Mr. Robert I. Holden, Deputy Director, National Congress of American Indians

Mr. Mike Wise, Sports Columnist, The Washington Post
 

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John Rugar's picture
John Rugar
Submitted by John Rugar on
until Native Americans and native people worldwide are in positions of power,be it head of corporations,,high political offices,etc. or control those in power positions, it will be a hard fight to win. When these racists feel repercussions by ticket sales,getting hurt in their pocketbook,things will change.You don't see Mel Gibson working too much these days because of the Jewish influenced movie industry and businesses.You will not see "n****r" in a team name,because people know it's harmful,and there are many high profile African American lawyers and business owners and just by using that word in an assault escalates the charges to a hate crime. Many people,believe it or not do not realize that "r*****n" is an offensive word.Once they are educated to know how harmful this word is, descent people would stop using it bigots would not.Those that were prejudiced towards Jews and African Americans I would guess still are,but society has altered the way these racists act ,talk or carry on business in public as the majority of people find them offensive. I hope I am wrong and that the loving spirit of humans prevails,but I'm not holding my breath.

John Rugar's picture
John Rugar
Submitted by John Rugar on
until Native Americans and native people worldwide are in positions of power,be it head of corporations,,high political offices,etc. or control those in power positions, it will be a hard fight to win. When these racists feel repercussions by ticket sales,getting hurt in their pocketbook,things will change.You don't see Mel Gibson working too much these days because of the Jewish influenced movie industry and businesses.You will not see "n****r" in a team name,because people know it's harmful,and there are many high profile African American lawyers and business owners and just by using that word in an assault escalates the charges to a hate crime. Many people,believe it or not do not realize that "r*****n" is an offensive word.Once they are educated to know how harmful this word is, descent people would stop using it bigots would not.Those that were prejudiced towards Jews and African Americans I would guess still are,but society has altered the way these racists act ,talk or carry on business in public as the majority of people find them offensive. I hope I am wrong and that the loving spirit of humans prevails,but I'm not holding my breath.

Lady !Kona's picture
Lady !Kona
Submitted by Lady !Kona on
For the love of all that is descent and human. I'm glad there is a conversation. I'm unclear about te expected outcome. My real question is whether there is anyone who has power to affect change that will be listening.

ROBERTA BARQUET's picture
ROBERTA BARQUET
Submitted by ROBERTA BARQUET on
I AM A FULL BLOODED NATIVE, FROM LUMMI NATION IN BELLINGHAM, WA. I MYSELF DON'T FIND IT OFFENSIVE THAT THERE IS THE CLEVELAND INDIANS, CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS, WASHINGTON REDSKINS ECT, ECT. I AM OK WITH HAVING SOME ACKNOWLEDGMENTS OF OUR CULTURE ON THESE NATIONAL SPORTS TEAMS. AS A MATTER OF FACT, I WOULD SPEND MY MONEY ON THESE JERSEYS, THROWBACKS, T-SHIRTS & HATS, BECAUSE OF THE SYMBOL THAT IS ON IT. SOMEWHAT OFF THE SUBJECT, WHAT I DO FIND OFFENSIVE...THAT WE AS NATIVE PEOPLE, AREN'T RECOGNIZED AS A RACE TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC, UNTIL ELECTION TIME. THEN WE ARE ACKNOWLEDGED SOMEWHAT SOMETIMES. OR, WHEN THE GENERAL PUBLIC IS COMPLAINING ABOUT OUR CASINO'S, AND OUR HUNTING & FISHING RIGHTS.
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