February 27th, 2013
Many high schools and some professional sports teams continue to use offensive and even racist mascots that demean American Indians. I believe that the NCAA and colleges have fully addressed this issue and even the University of North Dakota State has now abandoned its "Fighting Sioux" mascot http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_North_Dakota_athletics
The Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian on the mall in Washington D.C. recently held an informative conference on this continuing issue. http://www.indianz.com/News/2013/008442.asp
Interestingly, a Syracuse NY newspaper reported on Feb. 22 that Oneida Indian Nation leader Ray Halbritter says the Oneida and other tribes are creating a fund to buy new uniforms for schools that drop nicknames that are offensive to Indians.
Halbritter has already offered to help buy new uniforms for Cooperstown High School (NY) after the students recently voted to banish the "Redskins" nickname.
"In fact, to address this pervasive problem, the Oneida Nation is now working with Native American media outlets and other Indian nations to establish a fund that will help schools that follow in Cooperstown's footsteps to offset the cost of making similar transitions," Halbritter wrote in the New York Daily News.
Halbritter claims there are still 900 "ethnically insensitive" nicknames and mascots across the country at all levels of sport.
"The owners of professional sports franchises like the Cleveland Indians, the Atlanta Braves and the Washington Redskins continue to disrespect the heritage of Native American people with mascots and logos that insultingly portray aspects of our culture as a cheap cartoon — and nothing more," Halbritter wrote.