Using Native American mascots could be very inappropriate and insulting to the natives.
First of all most of these schools are neither Native American schools nor do they have a majority of their students being native American hence their using of native American mascots without understanding their culture could only be hurtful to the natives as the message embodied with these mascots is liable to misinterpretation. According to the American psychological association, the use of Native American mascots undermines the spiritual beliefs of the natives (“summery of APA resolution”). One example which demonstrates the disregards of Native American mascots to Indian belief is the feathers worn on some Indian mascot costumes.
Feathers such as those from eagles have spiritual meanings to Native Americans because they serve as connections to the heavens, due to the ability of this bird to fly so high(Indians.org). Also because of the spirituality attributed to feathers, natives Americans do not allow feathers to fall on the ground, neither do they conceal it in a closet but wear it or place in visible areas with honor as it is regarded as a symbol from the heavens (Indians.
org). Observing how most native American mascots comport themselves when wearing these costumes with lots of feathers, not regarding whether the feathers fall when they dance nor are worn appropriately clearly disrespects and insults an aspect of a religion and culture of native Americans, which definitely makes the school environment not comfortable for them. Another insulting attribute of Native American mascots consist some hurtful slogans which arise due to the use o these mascots by sport teams. The author Roppolo describes a sporting scenario she witnessed which involved some dancing cheerleaders chanting words as “kill the Indians” which were meant to motivate their team when the players were running out into the field (187). Although sporting events enable students to develop skills in team work or a feeling of unity, competition and slogans which usually arise within games are mainly aimed at encourage one side and demoralizing the other during competitive encounters, some slogans which are a result of the usage of Native American mascots are potentially very insulting students of native descent . Slogans such as “kill the Indians”, stir up dark and painful memories of a history of mass killings which Native Americans have been undergoing since the time of colonialism hence does not make the school environment convenient for them.
Furthermore the choice of using Native American mascots by schools objectifies the Native American students. This is because that the population of native students is usually significantly smaller with respect to other racial groups and their various tribal believes and cultures are not popular practices in our society, hence some inappropriate features embodies in native American mascots such as a long nose native caricature disregards the values and integrity of native students which is insulting. Lastly, exploiting the Native American culture in mascots without regarding the values held by its owners is not only inappropriate and insulting but stirs up various forms of stereotypes.