11 September 2014

High school Native American mascots

I searched the database and found 2,129 sports teams that reference Braves, Chiefs, Indians, Orangemen, Raiders, Redmen, Reds, Redskins, Savages, Squaws, Tribe and Warriors, as well as tribe names such as Apaches, Arapahoe, Aztecs, Cherokees, Chickasaws, Chinooks, Chippewas, Choctaws, Comanches, Eskimos, Mohawks, Mohicans, Seminoles, Sioux and Utes. (Not all teams with the names “Raiders” and “Warriors” are referencing Native Americans, but we spot-checked 20 schools with each name and a majority of each did.) Some 92 percent of those 2,129 team names belong to high schools (the rest were college, semi-pro, pro and amateur league teams). Of all the active high schools in the database, 8.2 percent have Native American team names.
From FiveThirtyEightSports, where the information is discussed in detail.


  1. I grew up in Toledo, OH. My high school were called the Indians. It was built in 1905 atop, you guessed it, Indian burial grounds. The Maumee, actually.

    I think it is the case that when these schools were built, the older people that were making these decisions lived when there were native Americans around there, or shortly thereafter. In many cases, I think it was done with reverence for the people that first settled those areas. Ohio educational standards for history require as much time learning about our indigenous people as they do learning about George Washington.

  2. I don't believe "orangemen" is a common term for Native Americans.

  3. Orangemen usually refers to Irish protestants who support King William of Orange.

  4. All those poor offended white people...

  5. A couple of years ago our school district switched its team name from the Braves to the Titans. Some older alums complained for a couple of months, but it was ultimately not a big deal. Kids still have team spirit and they're no longer co-opting someone else's culture for fun.

    I once heard someone say, as a way of explaining why these names are so offensive, "you've never heard of a German soccer team called The Jews."

  6. Yeah, you need to look at the original native areas versus where they live today. I'm also from OH, and the Miami Indians were here. We have the Miami River, Miami Univ, etc.

  7. The school where I taught, Centennial High School in Compton, CA (yes, that Compton) chose the name Apaches. A delegation of students and teachers went to visit an Apache tribe, and learned the lore, the dance, the history, etc. This all happened long before I taught there, so I didn't learn about it until the furor about using Native American references for sports teams arose. The consensus was that as the name was chosen in admiration and hands-on research had been done, we had no need to change the name,.

  8. The problem with Native American mascots--even if you assume it was completely done out of respect, that the people at that school treat it with respect, that the local tribe okayed it, and that they weren't given anything to persuade them to say yes--is that the rival teams aren't going to be respectful about it. Like that guy who goes to Chicago Blackhawk games with a fake, bloody chief's head on a fake spearhead.
    Also, studies have been done that show when they're surrounded by depictions of them as mascots, self worth goes down in Native Americans. Even the ones who say they don't care, because tired apathy isn't the same as actually being okay with it.
    I recommend browsing through nativeappropriations.com The author is Native American and studies this stuff (she has links to the aforementioned studies).

    1. I should clarify that I don't mean none are actually okay with it, just that not all who say they are really truly feel that way, based on the results of those studies.

  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...