Native American Non-Profit Organization Commends Goshen School Board Decision To Change School Mascot

Not Your Mascots, Inc.

Goshen, Indiana – Not Your Mascots, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to addressing the misappropriation of Indigenous identity and imagery perpetuated by Native mascots, commends Goshen Community School Board for voting to change Goshen High School team name and mascot (R*dskins). In a 5-2 vote, Goshen Community School Board voted to discontinue use of its anti-Native racial slur team name and for recognizing the importance of the harm that Native mascots do to young children.

We believe it is important to foster healthy learning environments free from racist stereotypes, especially for indigenous youth who are still growing and forming a sense of identity and belonging. Native American imagery is constantly misappropriated and portrayed as an inhuman mascot and/or cartoon. This is dehumanizing and humiliating and has been statistically proven to negatively affect Native children. Children should be able to participate in sporting events and not have to see racist depictions of Native people. In addition, students and staff deserve to be able to participate in school activities and not have to worry about the harmful backlash that may come from speaking out about anti-Native American stereotypes.

The American Psychological Association issued a Resolution in 2005 calling for the immediate retirement of all Native Mascots​ because they are damaging to the self-esteem and mental health of Native people and importantly, our youth. ​ In addition, the National Congress of American Indians, the largest and oldest organization representing Native people, issued a resolution against Native mascots and racist team names in the 1960’s. The American Counseling Association as well as hundreds of civil rights and American Indian organizations have all issued resolutions against Native American Mascots. These include but are not limited to: NAACP, ADL, National Indian Education Association, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, MALDEF, and many more. These groups understand the harms of negative stereotyping on the self-esteem of Native American people, a group that suffers from disproportionately high rates of mental illness and suicide.

We, as​ N​ative peoples ​and individual citizens of tribal Nations​, have unique and varying experiences and opinions, and we believe Native mascotry falsely homogenizes indigenous people, thus ignoring the humanity and uniqueness of our peoples. The negative imagery and mocking behaviors that occur at school events is detrimental and offensive to Natives and non-Natives alike, and perpetuates racism and discrimination. Unchecked racism towards Natives continues to remain largely unheard of and invisible. We are proud that Goshen has recognized this and has changed its team name and mascot.

Not Your Mascots, Inc. recognizes that Goshen High School has taken a positive step forward to be on the right side of history and has joined in efforts to help end harmful systemic stereotypes, racism and redface mascotry towards Native Americans by discontinuing the use of a dictionary defined racial slur as a team name. We stand in solidarity with your school in moving forward to maintain a safe learning environment for all students.