If some people have their way, mainstream society will just have to erase any reference to American Indian names, images or lore.
What a horrible shame such a purge would be. It is only because cities, counties and other things are named after tribes and tribal members that we know of them today.
Every now and then – as in every fall – the use of Indian references in team names becomes an issue again. Every year, another team drops an Indian logo or mascot.
The hot thing right now is to go after the professional Washington Redskins football team name. President Obama gave the debate further steam by suggesting the name should be changed, as has NBC broadcaster Bob Costas.
We don’t buy that this is a huge issue with most folks. But it must be said that, of all the Indian team nicknames left out there, “Redskins” is easily the most likely to offend.
In most other cases, however, we’d hate to see Indian names and references dropped willy-nilly at the first sign of politically correct pressure.
Fact is, American Indian heritage can be honored and furthered, and the colorful, romantic images can still be of use to sports teams. Florida State’s teams, known as the Seminoles, are a prime example. The school and tribe have such a good relationship that even the NCAA had to swallow its politically correct instincts and get out of the way.
Other schools and teams with Indian mascots and names should follow the example in Tallahassee and reach out – to make sure that their attempts to honor Indian culture are seen as such, and not as insults.