Cheyenne Mountain High School near Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado Springs where I grew up has a mascot, or did. Since, well, forever, they were the “Cheyenne Mountain Indians.” The mascot’s depiction is a respectful image that could have come out of an Edward Curtis lithograph. It’s not a caricature.
The wokerati recently demanded that the Indian mascot be changed and that the word “Indian” be canceled. They have not demanded that the Indian tribe “Cheyenne” be canceled. Yet.
Over the objections of at least 2,000 alumni and other petitioners who asked that the Indian stay, the school board gave in to the bullies and expelled the Indian. They’re changing the mascot.
What next, will the bullying PC crowd shake down the school board for their lunch money?
The bullies were vague about their “reasoning.” The mascot is racist because the depiction is bad, they imply. Or maybe it constitutes cultural appropriation because the depiction is good, they simultaneously imply. The only thing they said directly was, stop asking why and just do what we say.
Since the bullies won’t discuss this, I will. First, let’s consider racism. Is there something racist about a respectful depiction of indigenous Americans? If so, those beautiful Edward Curtis lithographs celebrated in the Smithsonian are all racist. So too are photographs of Arabs in traditional garb, Scots wearing kilts, Japanese in kimonos and Los Angelenos in leisure suits.
Perhaps it’s the word “Indian” that is racist. I recognize that the preferred label is now “Native American.” If they liked to be called “Indian” about 50 years ago, and like to be called “Native American” now for whatever reason, I’ll abide by that.
But changing the mascot from “Indian” to “Native American” does not satisfy the bullies. It’s not just the word “Indian” to which they object, it’s any word or phrase that is associated with indigenous Americans.
By the way, why are they “indigenous” or “native” Americans? They weren’t always here. They migrated here from Asia across a land bridge at the Bering Strait during the last ice age about 14,000 years ago and probably, to a lesser extent, over the Atlantic and Pacific oceans before and after then. A better label would be “pre-Columbian Americans” but that’s not exactly right either because the European Vikings were here before Columbus.
The most accurate term to describe the group we call “Native Americans” would be “Prehistoric Migratory Asian-Americans.” I know that’s not very catchy.
Let’s go on to cultural appropriation. The argument goes, I suppose, that “Indian” is a word to describe a people and their culture, and that other cultures are prohibited from copying a culture that is not theirs, even if they do it respectfully and well.
But cultures mimic other cultures all the time. Culture is like love in that it increases, not decreases, when shared. Borrowing from a culture doesn’t lessen that culture. European pagans copied Mideastern Judaism and Christianity. Asians adopted western business attire. Indigenous Americans are glad to use Northeastern American culture by accepting minority-reserved scholarships to Harvard.
And what about the word “American” in the phrase “Native American”? That term honors an Italian mapmaker named Amerigo Vespucci who correctly theorized that the lands Columbus sailed to were not Asia, but an continent previously unknown to Europeans (other than those intrepid Vikings). For Indigenous Americans to call themselves “Americans” is to culturally appropriate southern Europeans. How is that OK?
Of course, we all know how that’s OK. It’s because it’s OK to appropriate white stuff. White guys appropriating black jazz music is now verboten, but black jazz musicians appropriating white trumpets, saxophones and keyboards is OK. People of color can do white stuff but white people aren’t allowed to do POC stuff.
OK, that’s the rule. But why? Besides, don’t you have a hunch that if we failed to copy their culture a little, they’d complain about that too?
And where’s the consistency? For example, we’ve been busy re-naming white stuff to honor Indigenous American names. “Mount McKinley” is now “Denali.” But isn’t that an appropriation of the Indigenous American name “Denali”?
The rule seems to be that white people cannot appropriate an Indigenous American name unless the Indigenous Americans demand that they do. And then white people can appropriate it only until the Indigenous Americans demand that they don’t, at which point white people have to stop until the Indigenous Americans demand that they start again.
So what’s really going on here? It’s inconceivable that even the most delicate snowflake is feeling butt hurt by the name Cheyenne Mountain Indians.
What’s going on is that bullies are bullying. It’s what they do. Bullies shaking kids down for their lunch money aren’t really after a few coins. They’re after power. They get it by humiliating others.
The school board giving in to them is bad for them, bad for us and bad for schools.
Excellent article again Mr. Beaton. The only thing I might add is that the Romans copied the Greeks.
You think that’s bad? Try “Johnny’s Navajo Hogan” in Colorado Springs!
I am often criticized for calling them First Migrants.
Having grown up in a state where most places without “Indian” names (Manhattan, Canarsie, Montauk, Oneida, Allegany, Adirondack, Erie, etc.) were named after ancient Mediterranean places (Rome, Carthage, Ithaca,Troy, Syracuse, Utica, etc.), and living next to a state with towns named Bethlehem, Sharon, and Goshen, I’d have to day that America is ALL “cultural appropriation” and that this is the sincerest form of flattery. What the hell is the Wokeratti’s problem?
As for Los Angelenos in leisure suits, that DOES represent something over which “white” culture should repent.
Indeed. My hometown is Schenectady, next to the Mohawk River. I went to Iriquois Middle School, Niskayuna High School & went to college in Ithaca. I also loved going to Saratoga. There’s also Skeneatilies, Geneseo, Oswego, Otego & Owego. There’s going to have to be a lot of renaming going on there.
Don’t worry. The commies will come.
yea….except the rest of the people that we tried to eliminate are still living and thriving and practicing their culture and religion to this day. they are telling you its not flattering and your response is that they are wrong? how is that allowed?
I’ve been saying it for years – the SCHOOL COMMITTEE is the most powerful entity in government. These little tyrants determine what your kids will be taught, who will teach them, what sports they’ll play and yes – even a hike in your property taxes!
We don’t give enough thought to the people we elect to the SCHOOL board ever; – but notice who’s running year in and year out and ask why they’re on board when their kids are grown?!!
I’d suggest term limits for all school committee members AND strip a lot of that power from them. Now.
Once you bend the knee they will never let you stand up again.
}}} the school board gave in to the bullies and expelled the Indian.
Time to cancel that school board.
I’d scalp em
}}} Let’s go on to cultural appropriation.
No, let’s not. Cultures grow by adding to themselves. Adding from other cultures increases their similarities, and offers touchpoints for them to connect with each other on. It’s like having a friend who likes the same hobbies. They’re a better friend than some random person whom you have nothing in common with.
And AMERICAN culture in particular does this. We are a MELTING POT culture because we invite everyone in and adopt whatever we, as a group, decide are the best parts of that culture.
“Appropriation” is a sick, demented and inherently divisive notion that suggests you are “demeaning” a culture by … imitating it? WTF kind of zero-logic idiocy comes up with that? You don’t imitate something because you don’t like it, you imitate it because you DO LIKE IT.
Final aspect: Sports Team Names.
Look, as implied by the above comment about “appropriation”, this notion that sports team names are demeaning is just so far beyond ignorantly retarded that everyone should be laughing at these morons instead of taking them seriously.
LOOK at other sports-teams that are not “human groups”. Tigers. Lions. Bears. All fierce, dangerous creatures whose existence and presence around you demands attention and respect.
Even some of the less obvious ones — The Owls. The Beavers. The Golden Gophers — all of these reflect some notion worthy of respect — wisdom, industriousness — qualities which are also desirable.
There would never ever have been a team, the Nashville N****s, because that word is a PEJORATIVE, and thus actually IS an insulting thing. No one would have named their team that name. No, they select other words, which reflect POSITIVE, DESIRABLE QUALITIES.
Q effin E effin D.: The terms “Redskin”, “Chief”, “Indian”, “Blackhawk”, etc., as applied to sports teams, are not pejorative, have never been pejorative (as applied), and never thought of as pejorative terms (as applied). In any regard whatsoever.
They were clearly meant to reflect the idea of fierce warriors, opponents who should be feared and respected.
This is freaking DUH.
Huh. It’s almost like they are TRYING to be offended…..
I saw the new Washington logo. Sad. Pathetic. I was glad to see Alex Smith back, but they still lost. . . again. I’m sure every football team in the country quivers in fear as they take the field against the “W’s”. First time any team has ever named themselves the wussies.
Are you allowed to say “quiver”? Isn’t that another Indian word?
no, it is not. thankfully
*Sad, very sad.*
Could it be that the other points of contention that the libs/lefties/”progressives”/moral relativists/subjectivists/atheists/humanists/secilarists/Democrat jackasses realize that most of those other points of contention simply are not convincing Americans and that they are grabbing at straws, so the libs/lefties/etc are desperate to find something that will bring Americans over to their insane side?
…OR its not about politics and IS about Indigenous people asking to be treated like living human beings instead of caricatures..(hint….thats what it is)
Stop being bullied-you enable bullies.
What “exactly” is cultural appropriation? Technically speaking if you didn’t sleep in a mud hut and hunt your dinner with a stick….thank a white guy.
no. appropriation is taking a headdress that is used in religious ceremonies and putting it on a white kid to run around at a football game. you are thinking of calvinism which created the idea that white people culture is the only progressive culture.
Polls consistently show that actual Native Americans (aka Indians) support the use of Indian names as school/team names, and often have good relationships with the schools. In some cases such as the Cleveland Indians and Carlisle Indians, the name comes from actual Indian stars (Louis Francis Sockalexis, Jim Thorpe) who played on the team and is certainly a sign of respect and admiration.
On the other hand, 99% of the those who are upset and insist that Indian names be banned from sports teams and schools are white females or feminist males who probably got cut from a team when they were in Jr. High and have never forgiven or forgotten the slight. Unfortunately, these white college “educated” idiots with their social justice degrees have a far bigger presence on social media and the mainstream media than actual Native Americans, and the squeaky wheel (literally and figuratively) gets the name change they desire.
hey the polls you are talking about are skewed and don’t represent the NA community. this was proven a couple of years ago. the reality is the questions were written in a bias manner or they spoke to Indigenous people who are only descendants…not connected to their tribal community. In fact, the NCAI which is the largest gathering of tribes in the continent has put out extensive asks on this front. In fact, almost every federally recognized tribe has a statement asking for the removal…all you have to do is Google a tribe and “mascot” for this malarkey to be discredited. what you state about who is making this fight is completely untrue. the people who are asking for the change are the Indigenous people. you afe right. there are loud white people who are pushing for it in their communities….but do you know the percentage of those communities who are Indigenous? well in CMHS right now for example its .3 percent. I wonder what the percentage was when ol’ Bigotiana Jones over here graduated……we weren’t listening to Indigenous people. now we are.
I would suggest that the term “Aboriginal American” is the most accurate way to refer to the first human inhabitants of the New World. My English namesake arrived in America nearly 400 years ago, so I reject the dogma that I shouldn’t call myself a “Native American,” though I would prefer that all residents here would opt for plain old “American.”
hey, you sound like an absolute fool in this “article.” there is nothing of fact here, and nothing you say comes from any type of real understanding of what is going on. I am a person working with the Indigenous community to get this change, and your insistence on ignoring what they Indigenous community is asking…..what they have BEEN asking since the 60s is absolutely abhorrent. I get that you are a conservative and that means now that you come up with all these crazy conspiratorial explanations for why something you don’t like is happening, but you have gone too far with this one. There is scientific study, and personal experience of Indigenous people, as well as people of OTHER colors who have grown up going to the school you went to (the one we share) that proves that this indian mascot ( which has been the mascot since the 1940s…hardly forever) is an inappropriate relic of a time when we didn’t know what actions like these did to people, and when we didn’t ask the RACE OF PEOPLE that we were making into a mascot what they thought about that. WE KNOW BETTER NOW. So we are aiming to do better now. ….and while we are correcting your info, let’s get one thing straight. appropriation in this case is RAMPANT. headdress, ceremonies, war paint, the regalia we use willy nilly…..tbose are a part of this race of peoples CULTURE AND RELIGION. those things have meaning and importance and to use them in a high school sports ball game is absolutely inappropriate and an act we don’t push on any other marginalized group of people.
WHY do you and people like you insist on continuing to force people of color and specifically Indigenous people to continue to be uncomfortable in the place they go to school ? Why do you think you can just spew untrue bullshit all over however you want, and use inappropriate and hurtful language while you do it?
if anyone wants real knowledge or understanding about the issues this (and all) Native mascots create, from the REAL people asking for the change (the Indigenous community) please look at us on fb @ not our mascot-cmhs.
oh and by the way….yall got almost 2500 signatures……we have almost 7500.. http://www.tinyurl.com/notourmascot
have a great day. please try to learn mor fact in the future before you open your mouth.
I’m not going to get into a cafeteria food fight with you, but I’m curious about one thing: Why are you commenting anonymously?
When I publish political commentary, I put my name on it — even though it frequently makes me the object of hate mail, vandalism and death threats. I think it’s meaningless and not particularly noble to take a stand anonymously — especially when that stand is largely just pot-shots at people you disagree with.
because my people have spent enough time trying to explain to your people with our real faces and names. and not even that is enough. you put your face and name on blathering bullshit that doesn’t come from any fact? wow. admirable.
I am speaking on behalf of the group which I am working with to get this change. this isnt about me. its about Indigenous people being heard. its about your ignorance being snuffed out
OK, I’ve let you have your say, though it’s mainly just potshots and hate at people who see the world differently than you do, and it’s unsupported by any data or links.
But there’s a limit to how much I’ll permit you to just pee all over the thread. You’ve now reached and exceeded that limit.