Jump to content

Indian Mascots


Specializes in Med-Surg, Geriatric, Behavioral Health. Has 32 years experience.

pagandeva2000, LPN

Specializes in Community Health, Med-Surg, Home Health.

I would be offended, also. Very offended...


Specializes in midwifery, ophthalmics, general practice.

ugh. that is offensive..

VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN

Specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych. Has 20 years experience.

This stuff makes me cringe...........

Bree124, BSN, RN

Specializes in L&D.

I attended college at a state university with an Indian mascot. I was an editor of the school newspaper, and we worked hard the entire time I was there to keep this issue in the limelight, and lobbied for a mascot change. Many years later, the debate there is still going strong. The Other Side always manages to find one or two Native Americans to speak out on their behalf, about how it's an "honor." No matter that many tribes tell them over and over that it's offensive and not even remotely honorable...

Unfortunately, for many people $$ is the driving force.

racing-mom4, BSN, RN

Specializes in ICU/ER.

My kids attend a school whose mascott is an Indian, so I have actually seen some of the outfits(chief sitting bull and the full headress) in the above add. I guess I can not understand how this mascot makes some cringe. Maybe because when I saw them they were worn with true team spirit, not to be mocked. When the kid who has the sitting bull outfit enters the student section the students go wild! We really are proud of our teams. The school pride my kids have is outstanding, we have T-shirts that read "once a brave always a brave" I guess I couldnt imagine my kids being so proud to be the tigers, or the lions.

In our school braves means many things "loyality-commitment-unity-bravery" We have pictures of Indians all through out our school and our town.

We refer to the boys teams as the braves and the girls teams as the squaws.

We are blessed to live in a state that is rich in native american history--our kids attend Native American camp as 3rd graders, every fall the KDG has a Native American feast. I really feel by the time our kids get into the High School they really do feel honored to be "one of the braves".

I had a sign in my yard this year that read "home of a brave" during football season.

I will add that the costumes on the 2nd row are more cartoonish and I would take those as offensive.

Elvish, BSN, DNP, RN, NP

Specializes in Community, OB, Nursery.

Ugh. I would be offended were any of those caricatures my team's mascot.

Bree124, BSN, RN

Specializes in L&D.

Our main football rival made t-shirts of our mascot (a Sioux Indian) performing indecent acts on their school mascot (a bison). They were told they had to turn them inside out, but many refused and had to be forcibly removed from the premises (which of course was all over the news, along with descriptions of these acts).

At many games, the (usually drunk) rivals would chant "Sioux Suck," over and over. Try being a member of a Sioux tribe sitting with your children at the game - how do you explain that? How can that be interpreted as honor?

There is also the issue that this team is not just the Sioux but the Fighting Sioux. This perpetuates the myth that Native Americans are and always have been violent.

These are just a few examples - I could give many more from the four years I attended this university.

Members of the Sioux Nation have repeatedly asked for the mascot to be retired. The continued use of the mascot by this college cannot be deemed an honor when the group they are attempting to honor has openly said that it is offensive and they want it to stop. Using a race or an ethnicity as a mascot is never an honor, in my opinion. I understand that there is dissent about this, and that many people have no problem with it (and I am guessing that a middle/high school has less of the problems that I mentioned above), but I really believe that it is a practice that should be ended. There is NO other race that could be made into a mascot without public leaders throwing a huge fit - why is it okay to have native mascots?

Edited by Bree124

racing-mom4, BSN, RN

Specializes in ICU/ER.

Ugh. I would be offended were any of those caricatures my team's mascot.

I knew this thread would get very passionate either you are for it or against it. I know I will not change any ones mind. I just want to state that not ALL Indian mascots are how someone described of slaying the buffalo. Our mascot is an elder Indian man somber face full of wrinkles and a full head dress on. That image is what is through out our school and on our t-shirt/sweatshirts/hats. The girls team also has an image and is that is of a young squaw with a long braid over her shoulder. Our chant is "we are the braves" and we say it with pride.

Each and every one of my kids at some point or another has dressed up like a little Indian for Halloween. Does that image offend you, a 6 year old happy to be a pretend Indian?


Specializes in Education, FP, LNC, Forensics, ED, OB. Has 30 years experience.

Does that image offend you, a 6 year old happy to be a pretend Indian?

No, it does not. It brings about happy images. Personally, it makes me smile.

image and is that is of a young squaw with a long braid over her shoulder.

This, however, makes me extremely sad. The word, "squaw", is objectionable to Indian...

racing-mom4, BSN, RN

Specializes in ICU/ER.

This, however, makes me extremely sad. The word, "squaw", is objectionable to Indian...

See I did not know this, ignorance they say is bliss. I will have to look up "squaw" and see what the alternatives would be. Thank You


Specializes in Education, FP, LNC, Forensics, ED, OB. Has 30 years experience.

Wah doe (thank you), racing-mom4

Nuh wah doe he yaw duh go he you he........ (With peace and respect)..........


racing-mom4, BSN, RN

Specializes in ICU/ER.

thanks for encouraging me to educate myself--i did do just a quick search and i did find this interesting web site:


below is just a portion of what i read but i found it to be informative. i did learn how squaw used in the wrong context can be and has been insulting, but its true and orginal definition is not an insult.

my mother in law is a shaman so even though i was not raised with indian culture, my children have had some native american influence in thier lives--there is alot i do not understand or know but am always eager to learn more. here is an exerpt from the article i read.

kwai kwai. greetings. i write to you as an alnobaskwa, an abenaki woman, questioning the motion to gut our original language in the name of political correctness. over the past few decades, in my travels as a traditional storyteller and historical consultant, i have met many indigenous speakers and elders who are concerned at the efforts of otherwise well-meaning people to remove the word "squaw" from the english language.

squaw means the totality of being female

squaw is not an english word. it is a phoenetic rendering of an algonkian word that does not translate to "a woman's private parts." the word "squaw" - as "esqua," "squa," "skwa," "skwe" and other variants - traditionally means the totality of being female, not just the female anatomy. the word has been interpreted by modern activists as a slanderous assault against native american women. but traditional algonkian speakers, in both indian and english, still say words like "nidobaskwa" = a female friend, "manigebeskwa" = woman of the woods, or "squaw sachem" = female chief. when abenaki people sing the birth song, they address "nuncksquassis" = "little woman baby."

during the contact period, northeastern american indian people taught the colonists the word "squaw," and whites incorporated it into their speech. english observers described women's medicinal plants such as "squaw vine" and "squaw root," among many others. there are rumors about the word's usage as an insult by french fur traders among western tribes who were not algonkian speakers. but the insult was in the usage, not in the original word.

any word can hurt when used as a weapon. banning the word will not erase the past, and will only give the oppressors power to define our language. what words will be next? pappoose? sachem? pow wow? if we accept the slander, and internalize the insult, we discredit our female ancestors who felt no shame at hearing the word spoken. to ban indigenous words discriminates against native people and their languages. are we to be condemned to speaking only the "king's english?" what about all the words from other native american languages?

let me tell you a story. a good friend, a revered new england algonkian elder, gave her granddaughter a traditional name that ended in "-skwa" meaning "powerful little woman." that poor girl came home from school in tears one day, asking, "why did you name me such a horrible name? all my teachers told me it's a dirty word." when our languages are perceived as dirty words, we and our grandchildren are in grave danger of losing our self-respect. that school is now being taught that squaw is not a dirty word, but an indigenous term that has been misused and misunderstood, and that it is an appropriate, traditional, and honorable part of this girl's name.

some american indian activists have written to me saying, "well, you can use the word if you want, but we consider it obscene." this labeling of my indigenous language as obscene is a racist statement. it makes no sense for native people to cling to and accept a wrong translation. we must stop now and educate, rather than tolerate the loss of our language due to ignorance.


Specializes in Education, FP, LNC, Forensics, ED, OB. Has 30 years experience.

Same author of above link:

Out of respect, we can cease using "squaw" as a generic term for Native women, just as we can cease using "brave" as a generic term for Native men. We can educate the general public to understand the marvellous diversity of our histories, languages, homelands and cultures, instead of stereotyping all Indians as western Plains warriors in feather headdresses.

It is my fervent hope that our dialogues about the details of history will result in better understanding, and respect for, the diversity of Native Nations, the diversity of responses to the colonial invasion, and the diversity of processes for recovering indigenous histories, rather than further insult.


Just a few other educative links:



JBudd, MSN

Specializes in Trauma, Teaching. Has 40 years experience.

Growing up I never saw a problem with mascots, but reading these articles and reactions are changing my mind. Yes, change is possible.

The boarding school for kids from resevervations here name themselves the Braves.

This topic is now closed to further replies.