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Letter to the Editor: Dishonoring Native Americans

Monday, September 12, 2011

"Indian" mascots, logos and nicknames are a stereotype of a particular race. When the schools support the use of these mascots it's racism. People can be proud of their schools and sports teams, but it dishonors the Native American people when tradition and traditional dress are depicted inaccurately. The school can say that it is honoring the Native American people, but we don't feel that way. They don't understand that the symbols used such as the head dress, drum and face painting have a sacred meaning to us and to see another culture using these things outside of a sacred ceremony is appalling.

Even the use of the word "Indian" is offensive; it is not what we call ourselves. The term came from an explorer who was lost and looking for India. We are known by the nation we come from -- Cherokee, Chippewa, etc. The use of these mascots hurts our culture even though there was no intent to do so in the beginning. When it persists, then it becomes intentional. Most schools have rules about cultural sensitivity and contradict their own policy when these mascots are used. Until the logos are removed, things will remain as hypocritical rhetoric.

FRANK CRUSE, Cape Girardeau