Tribes in Wisconsin have been faced with the issue of mascots.
The state Assembly will vote on a bill this week that targets race-based mascots and logos. An estimated 36 schools in Wisconsin use race-based mascots.
But the press reports that a great divide exists among native people on the topic of mascots. Some Wisconsin natives do not see honor behind the use of their sacred heritage as sports mascots and logos while others feel empowered by it.
Brad Skenandore, an Oneida tribal citizen and avid sports fan, said “In my opinion it’s an honor to have schools and teams have the mascots. I know some say its racism but, to go to a Redskins game and have a native running and pumping up a crowd is awesome.”
Many opponents of the proposed bill say the use of Native American mascots honors native peoples. Carl Parker, of Oneida, feels that native mascots represent courageous warriors and that the use of these mascots is a sign of respect for native culture.
Others strongly disagree: “I don’t like the use of native mascots,” Webster said. “The caricatures are ridiculous, exaggerated with the teeth, the nose and the mouth.”