Native Mascots and Imagery: An Ethical Discussion


The Adrian College Institute for Ethics, in Adrian, Michigan, will hold a forum titled Native American Mascots and Imagery: An Ethical Discussion today, April 23, at 7:00 p.m. in Dawson Auditorium on the campus of the college.

Recently, two area school districts were named in a recent Michigan Department of Civil Rights suit regarding Native American mascot and imagery usage. The action raises the stakes of the controversy beyond the local communities. According to a press release, the forum is intended to encourage discussion and clarify this challenging issue. Panelists on both sides of the discussion will be represented. Invited panelists include a representative from the Michigan Civil Rights Department, the Leh-Nah-Weh Native American Organization, the NAACP and community members from both Tecumseh and Clinton, Michigan, home to the school districts named in the Department of Civil Right's suit.

This moderated forum will focus on open, free and honest discussion of the ethical dimensions of the issue. Topics include: What defines discrimination? What is the relationship to usage of mascots/imagery with county identity? What does it mean to “honor” Native Americans?  In what way do mascots/imagery honor or dishonor them? There will be time after the discussion for questions from the audience.

This forum will be co-sponsored by the Institute for Ethics and the Adrian College Institute for Education. For additional information, contact Dr. Fritz Detwiler at

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Christine roberts's picture
Christine roberts
Submitted by Christine roberts on
I am First Nations just think of it this way would you call a team The fighting Jews The japs Fighting whites

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous on
Quite a few of us feel that the mascots are merely a part of a character-based theme and nothing more ... usually adopting the likeness of Strong characters such as Minnesota did with 'Vikings' (descendants of vikings aren't upset) . We really got to pick our battles.

Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Submitted by Michael Madrid on
How quaint of White men to create a forum discussing their racism. To put this into perspective, it would be like southern plantation owners gathering to discuss what exactly defines discrimination: is it the selling of humans, our adverse reaction to the color of their skin, the way we treat them as less than human or all of the above. I've dealt with two types of racists in my lifetime. We're all familiar with the first type, the avowed racist with nothing to hide (White Supremicists, Neo-Nazis, skinheads, etc.), but the most dangerous racists (in my opinion) are those who don't even realize they're racist. They're the ones who insist that a stereotypical caricature of an Indian somehow "honors" Native People. They're the ones who have to form groups to discuss their racism. All they're really doing is finding a concensus among their racist peers that what they're doing ISN'T racist. Ask them if the Frito Bandito was racist, then invite them to explain how Chief Wahoo is any different.

Jim's picture
Submitted by Jim on
How about the Notre Dame Fighting Irish? The Boston Celtics? The New England Patriots? The Minnesota Vikings? The Oakland Raiders? Why no opposition to these uses of people as mascots?

Jakreiree's picture
Submitted by Jakreiree on
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