Tribal names aren't an honor to all
- Carol Craig
- Portland Tribune - Opinion
My View • Stop exploiting cultural traditions that are not yours
Some say using tribal depictions as logos and mascots is a tradition. But this is a tribal tradition, not your tradition.
It is disrespectful for anyone to depict a tribal warrior without understanding the cultural significance. You do not take a culture and do what you have seen in old Hollywood movies without even understanding what you are doing (What's in a nickname?, May 31).
What sport teams and others have as a mascot is supposed to build a sense of identity, pride and community. Then you should ask: "Is it positive or negative when people hear about it?"
In most cases, people say they don't mean anything racist by it, but that still doesn't make it acceptable. The problem with the name "Indians" for a sports team is that it perpetuates the crippling myth that tribal people, their lands, their culture, their sovereign powers, their very existence, are relics of the past.
By using tribal depictions for sports teams, tribal logos on products and tribal symbols as trademarks, the non-tribal public disgraces the dead, silent, noble tribal person of the past.
You do not see any of today's reservation tribal members on any sports logo or product.
The "race" problem is essentially a non-tribal problem in that it is non-tribal people who have developed it by using sport team names, logos and products, perpetuate it by not wanting to change it, and have the power to resolve the issue by having tribal people directly involved, as the very few who have done so.
I question if the non-tribal public ever wonder how tribal people have been able to continue to exist in the ongoing process of extermination; they don't spend much time thinking about it -- after all, it seems to be a dead subject.
So many sports teams are named after tribal people that other groups are being discriminated against because they don't receive the same "honor." So the Cleveland Warriors could become the Cleveland Wops with a mob kingpin waving a machine gun for a mascot.
Let's call the Aloha Warriors the Aloha Spics. A catchy slogan for them would be, "We steal home and everything else, too."
The Washington Redskins could become the Washington Chinks, with a slant-eyed half-naked sumo wrestler running around the stadium waving a samurai sword. Fans could do the Samurai Slash.
We have cars named after the sacred Lakota symbol of the Thunderbird, so let's develop the Mercury Crucifix, the Lincoln Menorah and the Ford Ankh.
Let's hear it for equal opportunity racism. It's not fair to just offend and exploit tribal people -- we need to get everyone in on the action.
Carol Craig of Southeast Portland is a Yakama Tribal member.