Need Further Proof That We Shouldn’t Use Native Names and Images in Sports? Here It Is.

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About Joanna Schroeder

Joanna Schroeder is the type of working mom who opens her car door and junk spills out all over the ground. She serves as Executive Editor of The Good Men Project and is a freelance writer whose work has appeared on sites like xoJane,, and The Huffington Post. Joanna loves playing with her sons, skateboarding with her husband, and hanging out with friends. Her dream is to someday finish her almost-done novel and get some sleep. Follow her shenanigans on Twitter.


  1. JJ Vincent says:

    Oh, Alabama. Why must you continue to make the news for such things as this? Although I guarantee there are plenty of people here in North Alabama that think that the Trail of Tears is just an huge annual bike ride/rally and have no CLUE of the origins of the name or who/what the ride honors.

  2. I will try this again.It would seem logical, if we really were concerned about the plight of American Indians,that we should give them their land back that we stole and make good on the hundreds of treaties we violated.We need a Truth and Reconciliation Commission like South Africa,which was headed by Bishop Tutu. And we should issue an apology on the Senate floor and the UN.

    • That’s what’s so great about this crusade. We’re NOT really concerned, but agitating for the name change makes us feel better about our non-concern.

      It’s a win-win situation.

      • Joanna Schroeder says:

        I’m taking my concern from the NCAI. That’s where I take my lead in trying to be an ally.

        Extrapolating it out to “Well, we aren’t giving the land back, therefore why do anything?” is just an excuse to stop listening to people.

      • @ Paul It is funny how helping Indians,when there are real risks involved like people giving up something tangible like property rights, all of a sudden you can’t get a conversation about that.But when it is safe to help and the personal risks are low armchair activists rise to the task.Wounded knee,the last recent armed conflict between Indians and America,was fought over stolen land.I would hazard to guess if the NCAL thought getting their land returned plus compensation for the land that was stolen and exploited was possible they would take that over having names of sports teams changed.This happens to be one of safe,coffee table, protests issues so popular in modern culture.

  3. I attended grad school in Washington DC many many years ago. I love the town. I am a die hard Skins fan.

    But, the time has indeed arrived. The name must be changed.

  4. Great job Joanna! It’s sad when people want to hold on to something despite the fact that it is painful for another group.

  5. I hear you Joanna. I have a question. Why do we hear so little from the Native-American community on this issue. Yes, I’ve seen the rare apperance on CPAN by a minor few speaking up, but I would’ve thought that this community would speak much louder, and get more of the results they want if they did. On that same CSPAN viewing, they even brought up a Native-American high school team whose own mascot was an “Indian”. I simply don’t get it. Why so little voice for this issue by those most directly affected?

    • @David First and foremost,Indians have been complaining about their treatment for hundreds of years.While the media should take some responsibility for the general ignorance of the public on concerns Indians may have about how they have been treated,blaming the media exclusively is a distraction.This knowledge is easily accessed and there is no plausible reason why every American shouldn’t be competent in knowing their own history.

    • BobbyCanuck says:

      Maybe because Native Indians do not care? Maybe because they have been beaten down for so many years, the fight has been taken out of them. Maybe they do not find it as offensive as white people think.

      Maybe it is white people in a knot over this, because the have a bad case of ‘white man guilt’

      Perhaps a slow news day. bored media manufacturing news.

      There are so many names associated with Native Indians in America sport teams…some I like (Braves, Blackhawks) some need to ge gotten rid of yesterday (Indians)

      • Joanna Schroeder says:

        Bobby, feel free to read any of the links in the article regarding the NCAI’s (National Congress of American Indians) stance on Native images and iconography in sports. It’s very, very clear. Also feel free to check out the Native Appropriations blog and many, many other resources

  6. Sorry for the CSPAN typo. But to further my question, as you know, I’m a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, and it’s the reason why I’m so outspoken on the cause. That’s why I’m so perplexed as to why there’s not more outrage by the Native-American community on this…I think that’s why most other Americans pay little to no attention to it, because those most closely linked don’t “appear” to care. I’m curious to know your thoughts on this point.

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      There’s TONS of outrage from the Native American Indian community on this. But who is listening. That poster in the post is from more than 12 years ago. There is a LOT of speaking out on this, but it’s just not covered by the media. Google it, you’ll see sooooooo much info.

  7. wellokaythen says:

    Wow. Just….wow.

    I’m one of those people who tends to think there’s too much hair-trigger sensitivity about racism out there sometimes, but that sign is just way over the line. The line may be blurry sometimes, but some things are just on the other side of the blur.

    Realistically, though, when it comes to inspiring people to defeat human mascots, it’s really a question of how recent the events in question and how many of that group are left. As Johnny Carson used to say when the crowd booed his jokes about the Lincoln assassination: “Too soon?”

    It’s much better when the genocide is total, a long time ago, and at least somewhat mythical.

    We’re on much better ground calling on our team to defeat some team named “the Trojans,” who don’t exist anymore and who were wiped out about 3000 years ago. I’d be really impressed with our education system, and no one would be offended, if an upcoming game against “the Spartans” made a reference to the battle of Thermopylae. Any Spartans out there offended by the reference?

    • wellokaythen says:

      P.S. The Cherokee “Trail of Tears” actually refers to two different “removal” campaigns. It already had a “Round 2″ anyway, so “Trail of Tears Round 2″ is already nonsensical.

  8. Kirsten (in MT) says:

    Again, context counts. I would like to know why white Joanna Schroeder gets to tell schools whose constituents are entirely or primarily Native American that they should not use Native names or imagery.

    Schools like the St. Labre schools in Montana, primarily serving students from the Northern Cheyenne and Crow Tribes:

    Schools like Browning High School, serving students from the Blackfeet Nation, whose basketball team (the Browning Indians) proudly ran out onto the floor of one of their home games, wearing new headdress:

    Schools like the Lodge Grass Public Schools, serving a Montana community that is greater than 85% Native American:

    I’d like to see what response you’d get if you wrote them letters explaining that they should not be incorporating names and images from their own communities and traditions into their sports teams.

    • Kirsten (in MT) says:

      I don’t know why my other comment doesn’t seem to have been posted, but here it is again as best I remember it.

      Doesn’t it strike you as a little bit racist, Joanna, for a white woman to be telling Native Americans that they should not use their own language and imagery as they see fit? Doesn’t it seem racist to say that because white people will inevitably do some stupid things, NATIVE AMERICANS should eschew their OWN culture to avoid white people causing problems?

      • Joanna Schroeder says:

        Kristen, did you actually read the article?

        Not for a single second did I direct one word at Native people.

        The people I’m directing this toward are white people. Read the last paragraph. I am a white person, and I’m talking to white people. And I’m basing every argument I’m making up on the direction and tone of the National Congress of American Indians’ press releases and communications regarding non-Native teams using Native names and iconography.

        Next time you accuse me of racism, Kristen, you better make sure you have your facts straight. And read the whole article.

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      Read my other comment. There is a single word in that article that should have tipped you off: MAINSTREAM.

      The other words you could have read, had you cared to actually comment on what’s happening in this article: “White people”. It’s there. Read it again. If you’re having problems with reading the content that is actually on the page, feel free to use the command+F feature on your keyboard and search the word “white”

  9. wellokaythen says:

    I think I’ll try to revise the wikipedia entry about the Trail of Tears, to make it even more inclusive. The thousands of people forced to move westward included hundreds of African American slaves “owned” by Native American families, the vast majority owned by the Cherokee. Some of the “property” that the Cherokee were forced to leave behind were slaves who took the opportunity to escape from their native overseers. Other slaves were not so fortunate and were forced by their native masters to go on the overland journey with them. I’m guessing their mortality rate was even higher than that of their masters. (Many Cherokee in Oklahoma were dedicated enough to preserve slavery that they fought on the Confederate side in the Civil War.)

    The Cherokee in Georgia had every right to stay where they were. They made a very convincing, entirely valid protest that went all the way to the Supreme Court. One of their less respectable and more embarrassing protests was that it was unfair to send them to Oklahoma to live among the “savages” who were living there, that it was cruel to send civilized people to live in a place with such cruel inhabitants.

  10. Indian Mascots are in no way honoring any native, living or not, just blatant racism that needs to end. If we fight it on all fronts we will win, sign my petition for name change of the Pinson Valley Indians, it will be printed and delivered to the Board of Education, one battle at a time, we are not mascots! <>

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