By Miv Evans
This emotionally charged documentary tells a tale that started 800 years ago. At this time, the citizens of 500 Indian nations were the only ones who called the US home. When their sovereignty was stolen, so their fight began. And they have been fighting ever since.
One of the many organizations doing battle is The Fight Against American Mascoting Their goal is to stop sports clubs using the names and mascots of tribes to which they have no affiliation. Not only is this exploitation, but their derisory presentations cast a slur on indigenous culture. But when wealthy organizations were informed that they were insulting their countrymen, they made it clear they didn’t care.
An appalling example of this is when, in 2000, the Cleveland baseball team was asked to cease use of their cartoonish ‘chief’ logo. Despite widespread racial justice protests, they kept it until 2018. An even more contentious battle was fought with the Washington ‘Redskins.’ They would undoubtedly still be using the ‘R’ word had Fedex not threatened to remove their sponsorship if they didn’t comply.
There are a lot more confounding stories like this, many with less successful endings. And as disappointing as these disclosures are, is it really a surprise? With America so unashamedly entrenched in capitalism, an extra kick at morality’s soul is par for the course. But what is truly shocking is that thousands of schools swim in the same pool as Big Sport. Like the clubs, they’re fully aware they’re causing offense, but they carry on regardless. Are these really the kind of people who should be guiding young Americans into adulthood?
Fortunately, however, not all hope is lost. There’s a heartwarming interview with a young schoolgirl who didn’t find out until she was a teenager that the name of her school was ‘politically incorrect.’ And when she discovered it was causing distress to millions, she was horrified. She lobbied her school board and succeeded where some very expensive lawyers failed. She got the name of her school changed. Perhaps this budding activist should spend less time in the classroom and more time on the road, explaining to unenlightened educators that all lives matter.
The fact that so many people have been fighting their cause for so long opens the door to a very big question. Why hasn’t the ‘greatest nation in the world’ made the abuse of Indigenous Culture a form of hate crime? It’s a dramatic step but if millions of Americans really think the name of their sports team is more important than the dignity of an entire race, the law has to explain that it’s not.