Racist Stereotypes and Cultural Appropriation in American Sports

Racist Stereotypes and Cultural Appropriation in American Sports

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February 24, 2013

racism is sports

On February 7, 2013, the National Museum of the American Indian hosted a day-long symposium on Racist Stereotypes and Cultural Appropriation in American Sports.

This day-long symposium brought together an array of sports writers, scholars, authors, and representatives from sports organizations to explore the mythology and psychology of sports stereotypes and mascots, and examine the retirement of “Native American” sports references and collegiate efforts to revive them despite the NCAA’s policy against “hostile and abusive” nicknames and symbols.

The entire event, which you can find below in three segments, was streamed live from the Rasmuson Theater at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC.

Part 1: Introduction; Panel: Mascot Origin Myths

In this first session Kevin Gover, Director of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, gives an introduction to the symposium. Following his talk, a panel explores the origins of mascots in American sports. The panelists for this session are:

Dr. Manley A. Begay, Jr., Moderator. Associate Social Scientist/Senior Lecturer, American Indian Studies Program, The University of Arizona; and Co-Director, Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

Dr. E. Newton Jackson, Associate Provost and Professor of Sport Management, University of North Florida

Dr. C. Richard King, Co-Editor, “Team Spirits, Native Athletes in Sport and Society” and “Encyclopedia of Native Americans in Sports” and Professor and Chair, Department of Critical Gender & Race Studies, Washington State University

Dr. Ellen Staurowsky, Professor, Department of Sport Management, Goodwin School of Professional Studies, Drexel University

Ms. Linda M. Waggoner, Author, “Fire Light: The Life of Angel De Cora, Winnebago Artist” and “Playing Indian, Dreaming Indian: The Trial of William ‘Lone Star’ Dietz” (Montana: The History Magazine, Spring 2013); and lecturer, Multicultural Studies, Sonoma State University

Part 2: Case Studies

In this second session of the symposium, panelist talk about specific American Indian mascots and the efforts to get sports teams to change them. The panelists for this session are:

Dr. Suzan Shown Harjo, Moderator. President, The Morning Star Institute; Past Executive Director, National Congress of American Indians; and a Founding Trustee, National Museum of the American Indian

Dr. Lee Hester, Associate Professor and Director of American Indian Studies and Director of the Meredith Indigenous Humanities Center, The University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

Ms. Lois J. Risling, Educator and Land Specialist for the Hoopa Valley Tribes; and Retired Director, Center for Indian Community Development, Humboldt State University

N. Bruce Duthu, Esq., Chair and Professor, Native American Studies, Dartmouth College

Delise O’Meally, Esq., Director of Governance and International Affairs, National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)

Hon. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Council of Chiefs, Northern Cheyenne Tribe; President, Nighthorse Consultants; Trustee, National Museum of the American Indian; Award-winning Artist/Jeweler; U.S. Representative of Colorado (1987-1993); and U.S. Senator of Colorado (1992-2005)

Part 3: A Community Conversation About the Washington NFL Team Name

For this final session of the symposium, the panel engages the audience in a spirited community conversation about the name and logo of the Washington, D.C. professional football team. The panelists for this session are:

Dr. Philip J. Deloria, Moderator. Author, “Playing Indian and Indians in Unexpected Places”; Professor, History and American Studies, and Associate Dean, Undergraduate Education, College of Literature, Science and the Arts, University of Michigan

Hon. Judith Bartnoff, Esq., Deputy Presiding Judge, Civil Division, District of Columbia Superior Court

Mr. Erik Brady, Sports Reporter, USA Today

Rev. Graylan Hagler, Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ, and Immediate Past President, Ministers for Racial, Social and Economic Justice

Mr. Robert I. Holden, Deputy Director, National Congress of American Indians

Mr. Mike Wise, Sports Columnist, The Washington Post

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