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« It's Not Just Another Day | Main | I give up »

August 17, 2005

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Nils

When I moved to Prince Edward Island, the team name for my daughter's high school (well, the high school she eventually got to) was the Redmen. And yes, they had a stylized, grinning native as a mascot. And when the local MiqMaq Nation objected, there was a huge uproar.

The main objection, wonderfully articulated by the Chief of the MiqMaq Nation, was this: "You have subjugated our people, cheated our people, discriminated against our people and kept us in poverty. Respect is not delivered by words or symbols - it is conveyed by actions. In the absence of actions that show respect to us, the appropriation of a MiqMaq image is just as offensive as if you were to have a grinning Black Sambo mascot. If that is unthinkable, how can this not be?"

I think his point is well taken. It also speaks to the Cleveland Indian mascot and others in professional and college sport.

BUT ... the FSU team is not "The Redmen" - it is nicknamed "The Seminoles". And while that is appropriation of a proud name, it feels less offensive to me than "Redmen". And I'm not sure about the mascot himself - is there a stylized, caricatured Native American image or is it what we see in the picture here - an actual Indian on horseback. Still appropriation, but less offensive again.

These are not easy issues, and the least satisfactory solution is to have them decided by middle aged white men, either in Tallahassee or Indiana.

Ask the Seminole nation. If they say it's offansive, then maybe it's worth looking at. If not ... play ball and stop wasting everybody's time.

FTS

Wow. I just read on another blog that the school district in her area was abolishing the Honor Society because it made the poor kids who didn't make the roll feel bad. From that to this. School mascots? What's next, the Washington Redskins? Maybe the real cowboys are offended by the wannabes playing in Dallas. Has anybody polled the dolphin population to see if they take offense to Miami players wearing images of them on their helmets?

Good grief...

Laura

Nils, the Seminole Tribe of Florida has endorsed FSU's use of their Chief as Mascot for years. As I said earlier, they were impressed enough with Chief Osceola to vote him their mascot of choice in 1947.
It depends on how the mascot is portrayed... as heroic figure or something else entirely.

Nils

See ... that removes any hint that it's offensive. So I agree, the NCAA or whomever should bugger off and stick to making rule changes that would make the games more interesting, like making the field a decent size, adding a twelfth man and instituting three downs instead of that pussy four-down rule ...

Robin

I agree with you Laura. I actually couldn't believe it when I found myself agreeing with what Gov. Bush was saying regarding this whole mascot mess. In short, he feels that the NCAA calling the Seminole mascot racist is basically assuming that the entire Seminole nation is too daft to understand what it represents. What's next? A call by the NCAA to all alligators to rise up against the oppressors at UF?

GO Gators, Go SEC!! :-)

psst, Laura - don't hold my M.S. from FSU against me, PLEASE! :-)

poopie

Well let's consider the Volunteer. Where the hell did that come from???

Monique

Agreed completely! (Well, except about being a Gator fan. I went to school out of state, but my husband and his family are big time Seminoles fans).

Thanks for stopping by my blog today! I appreciate the nice comment you left.

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