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Sports and the North American Native

I suppose I should have wrote this yesterday, when I was thinking about it again, it had crossed my mind before, and I was geared up for it. But you know how it is…you think about something and think it’d be a good read but life has other plans for you at the time, so you jot down a couple lines to jog your memory later, and by the time you have the time to go back to it most of what you were thinking at the time has long since past and all you have left is a couple of quickly jotted notes. But…we’ll have a go at this anyways…

a few years back…

you might remember the controversy over the use of the word ‘ Redskins ‘, and other terms in sports that a group of natives found demeaning. I should note here that a poll done in 2004 found that 91% of American Indians did not find it offensive.

And why would they?  Why would anyone call a sports team something that was intentionally degrading to anyone? Sports teams call themselves names that inspire them, encourage them ( exceptions apply, like the Ducks );

strong names like the Tornadoes, the Hurricanes, the Bears, the Stallions, the Jets, the Lightning, the Vikings, the Conquistadors, the Hawks, the Eagles…

and despite the history…

most Americans and Canadians have always had a certain respect and admiration for North American Natives. We admire their determination, their strength, their courage, their will…even in the face of overwhelming and insurmountable odds…

and that respect is reflected in how often they are used as symbols for sports teams. The words  Blackhawks, Indians, Redskins, Braves, Tomahawks, Seminoles, Warriors, Chiefs, Eskimos, Mohicans, Mohawks, etc are used in terms of admiration and respect. No one calls their sports team the pansies, the chickenshits, or the bedwetters. ..again the Ducks is the exception.

I remember as a kid playing Cowboy and Indians, most kids wanted to be Indians and kick some Cowboy ass. Everyone loves the underdog. And as I mentioned earlier…we admire their determination, their strength, their courage, their will…even, and especially so, in the face of overwhelming and insurmountable odds.

Of all the people, cultures, that exist in North America…none inspire a sports team and their fans more than the courage and determination of the North American Native.

And it’s a love affair that will never end as long as we remember the Pride and Courage in which the North American Native lived, fought, and died to maintain.

 

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