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Gordy Entertainment
Charlotte Ear, Eye, Nose & Throat
Published Monday, February 26, 2001
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Observer Forum: Letters to the Editor

Indian mascots painful to American Indians

The question in your headline "Indian mascots secure for now?" (Feb. 17) reminds me of what I heard the mother of five Indian children once say. She was responding to a non-Indian after a program about Indian mascots.

The questioner was saying how ashamed she felt, that she had not understood the full implications of the issue.

My friend, the mother, calmly said, "I can understand that you didn't know, and I don't hold you responsible." Then after a pause, she added, "But from this point on, if you encourage Indian mascots, I consider it racism."

Kudos to the N.C. Commission of Indian Affairs in calling for the elimination of Indian mascots from N.C. public schools by 2003. Maybe in the process, we will all learn more about the issue and why those mascots are so painful to American Indians and harmful to Indian student achievement.


Black Mountain

Stereotypes hinder educational excellence

Your story on the removal of Native American mascots from our schools successfully spotlighted the ignorance that even school administrators bring to the debate. We hear words such as "respect" and "honor" to defend the use of offensive imagery, but never do we hear of officials asking Native Americans if they, in fact, feel such respect and honor. I can see how difficult it must be to educate our children when the men and women charged with that task don't do their own homework.

North Carolina will never achieve educational excellence as long a single person feels belittled or a single stereotype is allowed. Certainly, the least we can expect from educators is the willingness to act as a moral force for all peoples without being compelled by law or public pressure.

Moving ahead to remove Indian mascots from our schools by 2003 is not about debating; it's about decency.




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