Monday, November 15, 2010

Am I a bad Indian?

Okay, confession time - I don't find the term "American Indian" offensive.

As someone who can claim full heritage in more than two first nation tribes in the United States, I know I should probably care more about the argument over the political correctness of this name, but I just don't. And while I'm confessing here, I'll just go ahead and come clean that I also don't find any of this country's sports teams with Native American-themed mascots offensive either. These are shameful opinions for the daughter of two prominent AIM activists to have and share with the world.
I think it's sort of ridiculous that the NCAA has spent an enormous amount of time and money implementing their 2005 rule that colleges can't have Native American mascots; or that several colleges have wasted even more time and money choosing to fight this rule in court. The University of North Dakota is the latest school to lose their case for keeping their "Fighting Sioux" mascot. They were the last of the colleges to still be fighting the regulation (their case has been going on for almost 2 years). They have to come up with a new mascot and officially get rid of everything with the Sioux figure head and logo by next June.
Of the two Dakota Sioux tribes, the Spirit Lake tribal council has been overwhelmingly supportive of the university keeping the "Fighting" mascot; it's the Standing Rock tribe that opposes it and refused to budge. UND officials were hoping that they'd get to be grandfathered in with an exception like Florida State was when the Seminole nation (including my card-carrying AIM activist father) voted unanimously to allow FSU to keep its mascot and logo.
Redskins, Indians, Warriors. People wearing wigs and headdresses, or braiding their hair into a pig-tail on each side of their head and wearing a headband.
Young men wearing fringed outfits as they jump around on their playing fields and cheer their teams. Plastic tomahawks. Fake war cries, with people slapping the palms of their hands against their mouths and making aiyee ahh sounds. NONE of this bothers me. Does that make me a horrible person?
Do you think even less of me when I tell you that I just ordered a University of North Dakota "Fighting Sioux" hoodie while they're still available?

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