of the main excuses given for using Indian people as mascots is that the
offending parties true intent is to 'honor' our people in their portrayals.
An often overlooked aspect of this debate was made clear last year when
Ponca City High School (the wildcats) played one of the many schools in
Oklahoma which 'honor' us by 'mascoting' us. All week long our school
bristled with signs and posters calling on all true wildcat fans to; "scratch,
scalp, tomahawk, kill, burn and murder the Indians". Of course they
were not meant to hurt the many Ponca Tribal children who attend Ponca
City schools. They were aimed at the enemy school whose mascot was an
Indian. Caricatures and racist pictures abounded, all derived from the
'honoring' picture of a Native Chief in a headress of eagle feathers.
No matter if the mascot or logo is benign or even beautiful, the "Indians"
are the enemy to the opposing side in every game and must be vanquished,
dishonored and defeated. It is for this reason sports mascots cannot 'honor'
our people, at every game they play the opposing side must try to defeat
the Indians. Each School has over a hundred games a year in which opposing
teams are invited by their very name to hurl epithets at the 'redskins'
or 'Indians'. But these epithets cannot be pointed only at a rivals mascot,
their barbs penetrate and hurt our children like stray bullets. Deadly,
no matter the intent of the shooter. The one and only way to stop opposing
teams from using racist portrayals of Indian people is to stop the use
of Indian people as mascots.
Camp, Ponca Nation