Letter to the Editor

No other race used as mascots

Friday, June 4, 2004

To the editor:

The NCAA strongly supports the elimination of Indian names and mascots as symbols in college athletics. No other race of people in America is used for mascots or nicknames for sports teams. Interchange the name of any race with the word "Indians," and it immediately becomes clear.

Some people find it difficult to grasp a different cultural perspective. They fail to understand that things that are not offensive to themselves might be offensive or harmful to someone from a Native American culture. This lack of understanding does not minimize its importance to Native Americans. Native Americans see no honor when Indian symbolism is used by sports teams.

From the 1920s until 1978 it was illegal for Native Americans to wear sacred dress and symbols and practice their religion. However, is was OK for white people to use these same sacred objects in mimicking the Indians at sporting events.

No other race appears as a mascot name, because no other race of people was hunted. People hang animal heads in their dens and Indian heads in the gymnasiums.

For the people who speak of tradition at Southeast Missouri State University, where has the tradition been for the last 19 or so years? Thousands of people have graduated from Southeast since then (including myself) who have not experienced the magic so many of you speak about. Times change. Stop living in the past.

VANCE PAWIELSKI

Cape Girardeau