The "Not Your Mascot" organized campaign relies upon lies, distortions, misinformation and intimidation to bully weak willed school boards into caving to their demands. One of the cornerstones of their argument is the support of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) for their position. NCAI was once a moderate organization but has become increasingly radicalized beginning in the 1990s. In 2015 they passed a resolution in support of the hate ideology known as "decolonization" and other Marxist agenda items. http://www.ncai.org/resolutions/2015-annual-resolutions Beyond this radical resolution, one need only visit this website https://unsettlingamerica.wordpress.com/ to learn the true motivations of these radical Marxists seeking to destroy America and it's cherished traditions.
This is the Indian "mascot" of NCAI. It is similar to those used by reservation schools to represent their athletic teams. Many tribal nations and Native organizations use very similar imagery. If this imagery is truly disrespectful and harmful to Native youth as is the claim of NCAI, then why aren't they removing their "mascot" and calling for Native schools and organizations to do the same? The corrupting influence of money and politics has not only infected NCAI, but many other activist Native organizations and tribal councils who speak over the people and not for them concerning this issue.
Many Indian people on reservations are afraid to speak out in support of these names and images for fear of retribution from their tribal councils. We have many documented cases where the loss of employment and/or other benefits have been threatened and in some instances, carried out. Non-Natives also fear retribution in the form of doxing. In 2020 an attorney from Pennsylvania who was outspoken about his school's Native theme was the victim of such tactics, losing his place at his law firm after pressure from the activist bullies. Supportive community members often report instances of name calling, death threats, and vandalism. Many business owners who likewise support their school's Native themes have been the victims of boycott efforts.
For any school board member reading this, ask yourself the following question. If I want to get the truthful unfiltered opinion of Native people concerning these sports names and images, should I rely on what activist organizations and tribal politicians say the people think about them or rely upon the opinion of the people themselves? Of course, it would be expected that any fair minded person would opt to listen to the people themselves, however in too many instances, school board members have ignored the voice of the people in favor of the powerful political elites who claim to speak for them.
The change activists rely upon the voices of those with whom they are politically allied to base their entire biased argument upon. They speak for only themselves and about 9% of Native people. NAGA on the other hand relies upon multiple surveys of INDIVIDUAL Native Americans conducted by INDEPENDENT organizations which all reveal 79-91% of Native people have no problem with the use of Native names and imagery in sports. A 2002 poll conducted by the Harris Research Group found 83% of Native American surveyed said sports teams should not stop using Indian references. A 2004 poll conducted by the Annenberg Public Policy Center revealed 90% of American Indians surveyed do not find the Washington Redskins name offensive. A 2013 poll conducted by the Associated Press GFK revealed 79% of Native Americans surveyed oppose the Washington Redskins changing their name. Finally, a 2016 Washington Post poll revealed 91% of American Indians have no opinion, have no problem with, or support the Washington Redskins name . The name change activists can only try to poke holes in the very sound methodology used by these well respected polling organizations.To counter these independent survey results which do not fit their narrative, the changers once again turned to their elitist allies--in this case, ultra liberal UC Berkeley to manufacture more favorable survey results.
Another question a school board member might ask is, have any tribal nations actually had a vote of the people concerning these names and images? The answer is yes. In the only vote of its kind to date, the members of the Spirit Lake Tribe of North Dakota voted by a margin of 67% in 2009 to keep the Fighting Sioux name and logo at the University of North Dakota. This figure exactly mirrors the results of the 2002 Harris Research Group survey of Native people living on reservations concerning these names and images.
Finally, a fair minded school board member might wonder if any independent judiciaries have heard both sides of the argument concerning these names and images and rendered any rulings. The answer again is yes. In federal court, the trademark lawsuit brought by activist Susan Harjo against the Washington Redskins was dismissed by the judge, citing that she had lived in the area too long to now claim offense. In response, Harjo recruited a much younger activist, Amanda Blackhorse to carry forward the lawsuit, which was ultimately dropped by the plaintiffs in 2017 as a result of the unanimous Supreme Court ruling in the "Slants" lawsuit. This case set an important new precedent for free speech constitutional guarantees prevailing over any claims of offense.
At the state level, the Human Relations Commission of Pennsylvania effectively ruled against themselves in a lawsuit they carried forward against the Neshaminy High School District Redskins. In a 3 year long legal battle, the fact based arguments of NAGA's expert witnesses was so overwhelming that the commission ruled the school could keep their Redskins name, modify their logo to something more regionally accurate per the recommendation of NAGA, and implement Native American education. In their ruling the commission even cited the NAGA motto--educate not eradicate. (<--Click link to view)
Anecdotally, go to virtually any Indian reservation in the country and you will find the people wearing apparel bearing the Native imagery of their favorite sports teams. The popularity of these Indian sports logos among the common sense, regular people in Indian country can best be summed by the following excerpts from a letter written by the former tribal Chief of the Delaware Tribe of Indians, Dee Ketchum and his wife Annette:
"Sometimes Indians laugh when we hear the foolishness going on over the names of elementary, high school, college, and professional athletic teams. I wore a Washington Redskins cap to elder nutrition lunches for weeks one summer. The comments were, 'where can I get a cap?, I like your hat!, that's my favorite team, go Redskins!'....I got big smiles, gestures of two thumbs up, yes head nods, and no negative remarks."
"I would challenge American Indian people to think about what is happening in America. We see radical people tearing down statues, burning and defacing the historic sites. What is the reason to erase the history of our nation? Who benefits if future generations do not know this continent is still inhabited by Indians if there is no evidence of it? We will stand up for history even though our Indian ancestors were dreadfully mistreated, killed, and repeatedly moved from our homes. No one can change the past, but we all learn from it."
As a result of the name change activists having neither the facts nor the majority of Native people on their side, they are forced to turn to their political allies to manufacture the appearance of majority support. They do this by organizing radical leftist Native organizations including NCAI as well as their friends in tribal government to speak as though they represent the people in Indian Country. At the end of the day, the changers can boast as many of these groups and tribal councils as they can cobble together and it does not negate the fact that they speak for only 9% of Indian people on this issue. Conversely, NAGA may be the only Native organization to support the respectful use of these names and images in sports and the mainstream, and that does not negate the fact that we represent 91% of Native people on this issue. NAGA was specifically formed to be the voice of the "silenced majority" of individual Indian people whose voices have been shut out of this debate.
The other key ally the name change activists rely on to fuel this fake controversy are those in the education system. In their "win at all cost" mentality, they knew an emotional argument focused upon Native youth would be their most powerful weapon. So once again they turned to their political allies in academia to conjure up a so-called "study" that would give them the end result they wanted. The 2005 Stephanie Fryberg study which was published by the American Psychological Association (APA) was highly criticized in the social science community for the tactic of effectively "priming" the participants to elicit a pre-desired outcome. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1uRQhNHJFm_4sPmcOPA9Y7J55YRgD-HEhxlJJIWUMrko/edit Several attempts have been made to find peer reviews of this study, and to date, none have been found. As a result of the blow back, Fryberg convened a more balanced study in 2008. On page 9 of the report, the final paragraph preceding the acknowledgments reads as follows:
" The only way to reduce the negative impact of these constraining American Indian mascot representations is to either eliminate them or to create, distribute, and institutionalize a broader array of social representations of American Indians. The latter option would communicate to both Natives and non-Natives that, beyond historically constituted roles as Indian princesses and warrior chiefs, there exist other viable and desirable ways to be American Indian in contemporary mainstream society."
The option to incorporate a broader array of social representations of American Indians is one embraced by NAGA as well as the Native American Design Project whose 2016 article makes the argument for greater incorporation of Native imagery in sports. https://www.neebin.com/nativedesign/?p=377
Beyond an objective review by NAGA representatives, sports teams using Native American logos need only compare their logos to those used by Indian community schools, NCAI, and any of a number of other Native American tribes and organizations to ascertain the appropriateness of their logos. The assertion that these names and images cause psychological harm to Native youth and can even lead to suicide is preposterous on its face. This premise is in and of itself a humiliating stereotyping of Native people as so psychologically weak and fragile that the mere viewing of an image could lead to such catastrophic ends. Furthermore, it only serves to distract from the very real causes of depression and suicide in Indian country which includes poverty, drug abuse, and alcoholism to name but a few. It is deeply offensive to stereotype Native people in such a shameful, negative light for the purposes of gaining a political advantage. The hate activists who terrorize these good and peaceful communities only further to stereotype Native Americans as a group of hateful, angry people thus leading to community division and a resentment of Native people.