The echo of haunting chant intensifies as the vision of a face-painted warrior, holding an ornamental flaming spear, dances uncharacteristically, but emphatically, into the football stadium. With an established reputation the supposed honorable representation of Indian culture arrives. A similar entrance occurs with teams in a variety of sports, at multiple levels of competition, each claiming to possess a mascot. It is this character that represents the competitive spirit and team identity, motivating players and fans alike. Does the symbol chosen have any impact on whether a team wins or loses? Unlikely. But the choice of a Native American mascot continues to ignite debate and controversy among athletes, fans and alumni, as well as
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What Native Americans say about Indian mascots is compelling because the voice is echoed by the group themselves. This populous occupies a privileged position with respect to providing a moral evaluation of stereotypic caricatures. And the stance is that culminating actions employing total elimination of Indian mascots not only offers the greatest good for Native Americans, but each and every moral being as a whole.
Proponents believe tribal symbols display honor and respect towards the Native American people. They cheer that the inclusion of this iconography in the athletic arena serves to pay admiration and ongoing tribute to the identity of the Native American culture. They believe that rather than extinguishing Native American mascots as a symbolic reference for schools and sports teams, the choice to sensitively use such imagery should be without sanction.
In a majority of cases, this view is even endorsed by the tribes themselves (Morrison). They argue that the restriction and ultimate elimination of the Native American mascot would also abolish the nation’s historic view of this cultural entity as characters of strength, determination, boldness, resourcefulness and courage. They contend that these same positive attributes are not only required by athletes, but are held