Buncombe County Native American Intertribal Association
Mascot Education Action Group

PO Box 18640

Asheville, North Carolina 28814

828-669-6677 wncceib@buncombe.main.nc.us

April 12, 2001 Re: Information Packet on American Indian sport mascots


Our thanks to the Principals and Administrators who attended our workshop "Why Educators Can't Ignore Indian Mascots" at the DPI's 'Closing the Gap' conference in Greensboro last month. Also thanks to the Principals who could not attend but contacted us with updated information about their schools' mascots or other information.

What we learned at the 'Closing the Gap' conference is that there are many factors affecting student performance and, thus, it is important to address each and every factor in order to chip away at any achievement gap that may exist. We learned from the presentation of the N.C. Advisory Council on Indian Education that the 18,000 American Indian students in our state's public schools have the highest drop-out rate of any minority group. Moreover, while there are improvements being made, EOG scores are significantly below the state average.

It became even more clear to us that, while the sport mascot issue may not be the be-all and end-all of problems facing American Indian students, at the margin, retiring Indian sport mascots is one action that we as a community can take, now, to improve the curriculum and learning atmosphere of our schools. These stereotypes and, at times, derogatory images often derive not only from the schools with the Indian mascots but also from the 'school spirit' of opposing teams. "Relocate the Warriors," "Massacre the Warriors," and "Scalp the Warriors" are just a few banners that we have seen. With the many permutations of games and opponents, we conclude that the impact of American Indian sport mascots is pervasive throughout the state. Moreover, the impact on young children in the many elementary schools with Indian mascots is equally significant. In short, Indian sport mascots affect the overall curriculum of our North Carolina pubic schools.

Enclosed is the information packet we distributed at the Greensboro conference. We think that it will be time well-invested if you make time from busy schedule to review the materials. The information ranges from a map of NC Indian mascot schools to educational articles about the issue by prominent Indian educators to observations by State Superintendent Mike Ward and former Governor James Hunt. There are also lists of education resources, web sites, videos, and other materials which can be ordered should your school desire to explore the issue in more depth.

Another important document in the packet is a copy of the N.C. Commission of Indian Affairs resolution that calls on public schools in the state to eliminate Indian mascots, logos, and imagery by June of 2003. We hope you will share all of this information with interested faculty and students.

Thank you for your attention to this important educational issue, and we hope you will take the time to share with us your thoughts on the materials and whether you would like to receive more information. Also, please let us know if any corrections are needed in names or addresses .


Don Merzlak BCNAIA Elder
Monroe Gilmour, MEAG Coordinator

attachment: Asheville Citizen-Times article about biggest boys camp in southeast retiring Indian theme

enclosure: Workshop information packet

Back to Indian Mascot Index Page