Our neighbor, the Onondaga Nation, opposes to use of Indian mascots, calling them defamatory. Kandice L. Watson, Director of Education & Cultural Outreach of the Oneida Nation explains that “painting faces and doing that tomahawk chop while chanting some nonsensical chant is ridiculous and I don’t know how this could be honorable to anyone. I’ve seen teams in the Northeast who send in an ‘Indian’ on a horse. Usually he is wearing nothing but a breach cloth and a headdress and is carrying a spear or something. Everything about this is wrong.” She continues, “I think the bottom line is this: if your mascot is truly honoring the local Indian Nation, let it be a completely accurate depiction, respectful of that tribe’s traditions and culture and done with that tribe’s consent. Otherwise, I don’t see how it can be defended.” Ms. Watson would likely be appalled by our use of the nickname “Redskin,” a term which fails to accurately and respectfully depict any local Indian Nation and which we use without consent.
Thank you again for tackling this issue. Whether or not you fully understand how the current nickname hurts me and others, I appreciate your attention to the issue, and the compassion and respect demonstrated by your actions.