One of the cornerstones of the "Not Your Mascot" movement is the support of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI). Those who join NCAI most assuredly do so because of the legitimate work they do in dealing with treaty issues and like positive efforts, and not because of their political stance on names and images. They count as supporters of their position on this topic any and all who merely join their organization. The "Not Your Mascot" movement boasts over one thousand groups who support their stance on "Native mascots." To the extent that this claim is true, all have one thing in common-- they are all allied on the extreme political left. We have seen many instances where they add to the ranks of their supporters, groups that take no official stance on this issue, but have a single member from that group who supports their position. Additionally, many of these supposed organizations are merely offshoots of similar ones to give the appearance of mass support.
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/about/ 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? These elites presume to lump together all Native imagery used by athletic teams as "culturally appropriated" or "derived from stereotypical characterizations of Native populations" while exempting themselves from this charge when utilizing like imagery. This further illustrates the rank politics and hypocrisy behind such claims.
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. To illustrate the unreliability of relying on tribal politicians and organization leaders to be the arbiters concerning this issue, you need look no further than the Navajo Nation whose membership has consistently supported the Washington Redskins to the tune of 90%. Their four time President and WWII Code Talker, Peter McDonald, was part of an amicus brief in support of the Washington Redskins. A later Navajo Nation President, Ben Shelly, was an outspoken supporter of the Washington Redskins. Both men were in lock step with their people on this issue. The official position of the tribe now is in opposition to the Washington Redskins and all other sports related Native names/ imagery, simply because their current President, Jonathan Nez, personally opposes them yet the people continue to overwhelmingly stand in support.
Another example is in Killingly, Connecticut where the local Pequot Tribe had stated its neutrality about getting involved in local issues of Indian imagery, only to do an about face when political pressure surfaced. One final example is the American Indian Center of Chicago, who had long supported the Chicago Blackhawks. However, with the election of two new board members, the stance of the organization overnight went from one of support for the Blackhawks, to it now promoting racist, racial stereotypes. These examples are emblematic of the politics being played in communities across this nation and underscore why Native people themselves offer the purist, most honest barometer of Native opinion concerning this topic. Tribal members elect their leaders to govern and not to speak for them on matters of purely personal opinion; and Native names and imagery is a matter of opinion and not fact as they would like you to believe. Since this issue largely originated in radical academia, everything has been done to contextualize something that is a matter of common sense into the framework of academic intellectualism-- the territory in which they believe their Ph.D.'s and other academic credentials makes their manufactured "evidence" to be irrefutable.
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 by tribes. Non-Natives also fear retribution in the form of doxing and other intimidation tactics. In 2020, an attorney from Pennsylvania who was outspoken about his school's Native theme was the victim of such tactics, losing his job at his law firm after pressure from outsiders. 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.
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 and non-Native organizations 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. And for the rank and file Native people, this is not a partisan (Democrat vs Republican) issue, as a majority of Natives (especially on reservations) identify as politically liberal, but stand largely in support of respectful names and imagery.
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 dissertation paper 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.