Coastal Post Online

May 2001

Commission Wants To End Indian Team Names

A statement last month by the United States Commission on Civil Rights is affirmation that American Indian derived symbols and mascots are inappropriate. The message to schools, professional sports and entertainment entities is clear: abolish these race-based symbols. "These images and mascots of American Indian people should have gone by the way side with black-faced minstrels, lawn jockeys, Frito Bandito, Little Black Sambo and other racially motivated caricatures. Now maybe they will," stated Vernon Bellecourt, President, NCRSM referring to today's landmark statement by the United States Commission on Civil Rights.

While not carrying the force of law USCCR's action takes the burden of proof and places it where it has always belonged: on the Atlanta Braves, Cleveland Indians, Universities of Illinois, North Dakota and Florida State, on the school board of Onteora County, New York or Erwin High School in North Carolina.

"This is a great day for Indian people. Finally, there is Federal acknowledgment of what American Indians have been saying, "These Indian mascots promote a racially hostile and culturally unenlightened society where Indian people do not equally participate, develop, receive equal treatment, raise healthy children or govern," said Charlene Teters, VP Board of Directors, NCRSM.

"Everywhere from Kansas to Michigan to California to North Carolina, indeed around the globe where mass media and merchandising have spread the seeds of racism toward American Indians, the mandate for an immediate end to these practices is clear. We hope that the change will come without litigation against professional sports leagues, teams or public educational institutions. The end to racial injustice towards Native Americans must begin now," Teters added.

For further information contact Vernon Bellecourt, President, NCRSM, 612-721-3914



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