Charles Robinson: Indian mascots offer learning opportunity

Charles Robinson, the executive director of The Red Road, discusses the controversy over Indian mascots:
n an effort to find a compromise between the two sides — keeping in mind many Natives are not offended by tribal mascots — I suggest the following: each school or sports team must get approval from the tribe whose land or region in which they reside. For example, if the school or team is located in eastern Tennessee, they would need approval from the Eastern Band of Cherokee to use a Native mascot.

Working together, the tribe and the school would develop a curriculum to educate the students on specific tribal history specific to their region. Additionally, the tribe would provide a showcase of tribal items to be put on display within the school. Lastly, the school or team will give a percentage of all proceeds from merchandise sales to the tribe to be used for tribal educational needs. The “mascot” would be approved by the tribe, so that it will be historically accurate with regards to clothing, weapons, appearance, etc.

If, however, the tribe chooses to not allow the school or team to use it’s likeness, then it should not be used! I’ve heard people say “it’s our school’s heritage. We’ve been the Indians for 83 years.” Well, guess what, we’ve been a tribe for thousands of years. The end.

Get the Story:
Charles Robinson: Tribal mascots offer opportunity for education (The Tennessean 10/28)

Join the Conversation