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The Issue of American Indian Mascots


We are encouraged that you are interested in the issue of American Indian Mascots. We offer the following information as a tool for your use in addressing stereotypes about American Indians and the generational psychological impact of the use of mascots in our schools and society.

Please use these resources to guide your discussion and study of stereotypes and use of mascots.

-- North Carolina State Advisory Council on Indian Education

North Carolina State Board of Education’s Resolution:
Recommends that the North Carolina Public Schools study the impact of American Indian sports mascots and logos and review policies and procedures on this issue. Results of activities will be reported to the State Board of Education as part of the annual report of the State Advisory Council on Indian Education.
State of the American Indian Mascots in North Carolina According to DPI Data

  • “In 2002, 73 North Carolina schools in 43 districts had American Indian mascots or imagery. In 2012, 43 schools in 20 districts used Indian sports mascots, logos or nicknames. To date, 55 percent of North Carolina public schools with Indian mascots have chosen to retire and eliminate them.”-Dr. Cunningham-Brown from January 9, 2013 Minutes of the North Carolina State Board of Education

  • In July 2017, a review of all NC Public School district websites, revealed that 22 school districts, with a total of 36 schools, in the state of North Carolina still have American Indian-themed mascots/logos /names. This includes 10 elementary schools, 1 K-8 school, 1 intermediate school, 10 middle schools, and 14 high schools. There are also a number of other schools that use terms such as Warriors and Braves but do not have an Indian-themed mascot/logo. Regarding this issue, Executive Director of the NC Commission of Indian Affairs Greg Richardson states, "Cultural sensitivity, along with Cultural Diversity should be a priority and part of the education process! American Indians should NOT be portrayed as Mascots."

  • American Indian Mascots Used by North Carolina Public Schools (pdf, 984kb)

Online Resources:

American Indian Sports Team Mascots
This link has various collections of websites and writings on resolutions recommending retirement of Native American Indian mascots including United States Commission Statements on Civil Rights on the use of Native American images and nicknames as sports symbols.

The Mascot Issue
This is a compilation of websites and articles on the issue of American Indian Mascots by Lisa Mitten, American Library Association, CHOICE Magazine, Social Sciences Editor.

Statement from the Society of Indian Psychologists of the Americas
This is a letter from members of the Society of Indian Psychologists of the Americas proposing why American Indian mascots should be retired.

The 2,128 Native American Mascots People Aren’t Talking About
This resource is from Nate Silver’s website that describes with data the prevalence of the use of American Indian mascots in varioius sports teams in K-16.

Why Educators Can't Ignore Indian Mascots By Dr. Cornel Pewewardy
Dr. Cornel Pewewardy is the foremost American Indian Scholar in the field of multicultural education and in this article he expounds on why education is the ultimate tool to eliminate the racism which the use of mascots perpetuates in this society.

Dispelling Stereotypes
The discussion of American Indian mascots is interlinked with the issue of stereotypes of Native people. The mascot issue exists because stereotypes of American Indians persist. These resources can be used as guides to evaluate and analyze classroom instruction and teaching materials and to promote meaningful discussions about stereotypes.

Online Resources:

Anthropology Outreach Office Smithsonian Institution’s Erasing Native American Stereotypes
This is the Anthropology Outreach Office of the Smithsonian Institution’s eleven recommendations to help teachers evaluate their own teaching and the criteria to evaluate the materials they use.

Stereotypes of Native Americans
This is an inexhaustive list of fiction and non-fiction resources that can be used inside and outside the classroom.

For more information, contact