Should Native American team names/mascots be banned?
Debate Rounds (3)
Team names show honor and respect. Also, they sometimes reflect the history of the area where they play. For example, the Florida State Seminoles believe their name signifies the importance of Native Americans in our history. The Seminoles chose to welcome the team name and mascot instead of oppose it. "We Seminoles embrace that mascot," Chief James Billie, the tribe's chairman, said. "They honor us."(Tierney). The Seminole chief had approved the use of Native American symbols and traditions during Florida State football games. It is true that the Seminoles are one of the smaller Native American tribes, but they are one of the only tribes to speak up. Another organization that has shed light on the subject is the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI).
Team chants and traditions help bring pride to the Native Americans. Every team has a story. They all have something that they pride themselves in. For the Washington Redskins, it is where they play their football games. FedExField sits on what used to be a Navajo reservation. The land was taken away from the Navajos in 1863. Just like the Florida State Seminoles, there were disputes on whether or not to change the team name. To help keep the team name, the Redskins agreed to show Navajo pride during games. They did this by creating a touchdown chant. Every time the Redskins scored, the fans yell "Hail to the Redskins." The Navajo Indians represent most of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI). The president of the Navajo Nation, Ben Shelly, has agreed to support the Washington Redskins. These chants helped win support from the Native Americans, just like the pre-game tradition in Florida State. As a service of gratitude, Ben Shelly was invited to sit alongside the Washington Redskins team owner, Dan Snyder, at a Redskins football game. "I beamed with pride as the Redskins fight song played and I heard every single fan yell "Hail to the Redskins" in unison," Ben Shelly told the Washington Times. (Boyer). Many may think that one person does not represent the thoughts of all Navajo Indians, however more than 75% of the Navajo population agreed to let the Redskins keep their team name.
Team names and mascots are supported by Native Americans. The Seminoles, the Navajos, and the NCAI have all showed their support to the organizations and schools. They believe that the chants bring honor to their culture. Teams are willing to do anything when it comes to tradition. The Washington Redskins have had their name since 1933, while the Florida State Seminoles have had their logo since 1976. Native American organizations are showing respect for these teams. "It's a relationship of considerable mutual respect and honor," Dr. Eric Barron, the university president, said in an interview. (Brady). The Seminoles and the Navajo have continued their support for these two teams. They have also convinced other Native American tribes to join in.
Native American team names and mascots should not be prohibited. Team names show respect, honor, and give Americans a sense of culture. It shows the importance of events in our history. Teams are willing to go through great lengths in order to keep old traditions. These traditions are what make the team unique and they should not be taken away. For these reasons, several Native American organizations and tribes have shown their support. They have realized that through these team names and mascots they are stressing the importance of the history in the area. The relationship between the Natives and the teams have enabled the team to bring honor to the Native Americans and show respect for their history. The world should recognize the importance of the bond between Americans and Native Americans through sports.
Con - Argues Native American team names/mascots should not be banned.
Pro - I will argue for cases in which team names/mascots should be banned.
Definition - Racial Slur: a derogatory or disrespectful nickname for a racial group, used without restraint.
The Indian Country Today states, " 'Redskins' Is Officially a Dictionary-Defined Racial Slur"in All Cases"
Con states, " the Redskins agreed to show Navajo pride during games". Con uses this statement to denote that a majority of Native American Tribes support the use of the derogatory term "Redskin".
An article in the Great Falls Tribune states, "In lawsuits before the U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, plaintiffs representing the National Congress of American Indians have repeatedly asserted that the word redskin "had its origins in the practice of presenting bloody red skins and scalps as proof of Indian kill for bounty payments'."
The derogatory term "Redskins" refers to numerous Nations of Native Americans, not just the Navajo Nation. The racial slur "Redskins" is found by many Native Americans to be an extremely offensive and an inappropriate name for a professional sports team.
Sunday NFL games are broadcast over public television airwaves. These airwaves are public domain, meaning, "we the people" as voters own the airwaves that are often airing "Redskins" football games. Therefore, the racial slur "Redskins" is being broadcast on public air without the consent of much of the public, including many Native Americans.
The following article states, "FCC Considers Banning "Redskins" From Public Airwaves".
Many sports teams use a comical, exaggerated depiction of Native Americans, overemphasizing a hook-nose, dressing Natives in inaccurate attire. " Some teams and supporters display counterfeit Indigenous paraphernalia, including tomahawks, feathers, facial paints, symbolic drums and pipes, as well as mock-Indigenous behaviors, such as the "tomahawk chop," dances, chants, drumbeating, war-whooping and symbolic scalping."
The following article explains the adverse effects these stereotypical images have on the moral and self-esteem of Native American children and the negative effects on their education. A statement in this USA Today article, " "There are real impacts that we see in Native youth around the country. They have lower self esteem because of these mascots. And they have the worst education outcomes in the nation. It all points to the need to retire these mascots across the board."
I argue that there are indeed cases in which Native American team names/mascots should be banned.
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