The Native American Mascot Controversy

A Handbook

Edited by C. Richard King

Publication date:

11 October 2010

Length of book:

290 pages


Scarecrow Press

ISBN-13: 9780810867314

Sports mascots have been a tradition for decades. Along with the usual lions and tigers, many schools are represented by Native American images. Once considered a benign practice, numerous studies have proved just the opposite: that the use of Native American mascots in educational institutions has perpetuated a shameful history of racial insensitivity. The Native American Mascot Controversy provides an overview of the issues that have been associated with this topic for the past 40 years.

The book provides a comprehensive and critical account of the issues surrounding the controversy, explicating the importance of anti-Indian racism in education and how it might be challenged. A collection of important primary documents and an extensive list of resources for further study are also included. Expounding the dangers and damages associated with their continued use,
The Native American Mascot Controversy is a useful guide for anyone with an interest in race relations.
The contributors link the history and significance of Native American mascots to ongoing struggles for social justice. Rejecting the idea that mascots are limited to sporting events, the authors persuasively argue that they are instead representative of dominant attitudes that both distance and dehumanize Native people. Hardly seeing mascots as an "honor," the authors trace how Native American mascots are based on an idea of a savage male opponent that will be vilified and humiliated by opposing teams. The book is aimed squarely at those working in higher education, for a school that endorses inaccurate, ahistorical images of Native Americans is hardly a safe space for Native students. The text compiles speeches, articles, policies, and resolutions that have been previously published, usually for a specific targeted audience. The value of this text is that it details both the scope and diversity of the opposition to Native American sports mascots. Oriented toward directing action on the part of readers to both educate and resist, the book can be viewed as a supplement to other sources, such as the Jay Rosenstein film In Whose Honor? (1997). Summing Up: Recommended. All levels/libraries.