Published on Jul 13, 2021
Statement from National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) President Fawn Sharp:
“On the one year anniversary of the Washington Football Team’s retirement of their racist mascot, we take a moment to recognize the grit and dedication of Tribal Nations, tribal leaders, citizens, advocates and allies who tirelessly helped in the mission to educate Americans on the immense harms Native-themed mascots and team names cause Native people.
Last year sparked a wave of momentum and in 2020 alone, a total of 70 schools voted to retire or alter their Native-themed mascots, with more than 30 schools following suit in 2021 thus far. On the state level, several states have fully or partially banned Native-themed or race-based mascots – including in my home state of Washington. This growing movement shows no signs of slowing down.
True respect for Native people and other people of color requires our country to rid itself of the symbols of racism and intolerance that have far too long been embedded in popular culture and which have marginalized and dehumanized us. These symbols and names have no place in American society, and our work is not yet done.
NCAI will not rest until all offensive Native-themed mascots and associated imagery are removed from popular culture and we call upon our partners and allies across the nation to join us in our resolve to push this positive momentum forward.”
In May 2020, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) launched a comprehensive national tracking database that tracks the more than two dozen different Native “themed” school mascots in use by K-12 public schools across the country and continues to actively engage and educate those schools deliberating the retirement of their mascots.
About the National Congress of American Indians:
Founded in 1944, the National Congress of American Indians is the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization in the country. NCAI advocates on behalf of tribal governments and communities, promoting strong tribal-federal government-to-government policies, and promoting a better understanding among the general public regarding American Indian and Alaska Native governments, people and rights. For more information, visit www.ncai.org.