Enduring Legacies Native Case Studies



New!The Aftermath of Redskins Indian Mascot Decisions: What’s Next?

Author:Gary Arthur

For decades Indian mascot names have been generally regarded as stereotypical and racist. Because of the divisive nature of Native American mascots, school systems from middle school through college level have in the past and are now coming to terms with changing these names. The “Redskins” mascot name is particularly offensive. A number of high schools have dropped the Redskin mascot name, but the decisions, procedures, judgments, and residual effects of change within these school systems and communities differ. What happens after a mascot change and how this impacts communities who for many decades used these names in their school systems is an area that can be as critical as the decision to change itself.

New!What should be displayed? Native arts in museums and on the runways

Author:Melanie King

This case study considers questions of how, what, and where Indigenous arts should be displayed and the responsibility museums and other public institutions have in representing other cultures. This case will also address cultural appropriation seen in popular culture as an extension of the issues created in part by collectors of Native arts in the public and private spheres and the result of divorcing Native objects from their original context. Additionally this case will explore how objections have been met and what this indicates about changing attitudes and values.

New!Is diversity a mask or a bridge? The Indian mascot debate

Author:By Gary Arthur

For decades the Indian Mascot issue has fostered controversy across the land. Middle schools, high schools, colleges and universities and professional athletic organizations have wrestled with the issue. Port Townsend High School in Washington State is one of the schools coming to grips with its mascot name “the Redskins.” The community is in conflict about retaining or retiring the mascot name. Newly appointed Superintendent David Engle is no stranger to the conflict, having seen the same issue in the Edmonds School District where his children attended school. The Port Townsend School Board is determined to create “a fair, mature and respectful process for dealing with the sensitive issue.” This three part case explores the process of attempting to move the discussion of this issue from black and white, toward a deeper understanding of all sides. The case can be used as an interrupted case where each part is read and discussed separately or as a single session case.

The Twilight Saga and the Quileute Indian Tribe: Opportunity or Cultural Exploitation?

Author:Barbara Leigh Smith

This case explores the impact of a blockbuster series of books and films, “The Twilight Saga,” on the Quileute Indian Tribe and the small town of Forks, Washington. The Quileute Indian Reservation and the town of Forks are the setting for the “Twilight” series. Twilight is a story of teenage love between Bella Swan, and a vampire, Edward Cullen. The character, Jacob Black, portrayed as a member of the Quileute Tribe and a werewolf, is also vying for Bella’s affection. Numerous fan clubs have organized around Club Jacob and Club Edward. The case raises questions about the impact of popular culture and the dynamics of community economic development. The case also raises the question about whether this is a story of opportunity or cultural exploitation?

Should Indian Sports Mascots Be Repealed?

Author:Gary Arthur

Concerns about racism, a lack of sensitivity to diversity, stereotyping, sexism, oppression, and lack of Native American entitlement make up a partial list of issues raised in connection with the use of Native American mascots. Those who support mascot use contend that these mascots praise the traditions and culture of the Native Americans. Language supporting the monitoring or banishment of Native American (NA) mascot use has been introduced in the courts, in school districts, and in at least one national athletic association. Besides the list of concerns voiced by those who oppose the use of NA mascots, the issue of indigenous peoples being entitled to identify for themselves how symbols of their culture are interpreted seems to be pivotal in dealing with this conflict, and may even be the focal point at which groups can begin to reach some type of understanding or agreement.

Since Time Immemorial: Developing Tribal Sovereignty Curriculum for Washington’s Schools

Author:Barbara Leigh Smith, Shana Brown and Magda Costantino

This case tells the story of the attempts to implement House Bill 1495 which passed the Washington State Legislature in 2005. This bill recommended inclusion of tribal history, culture, and government in the social studies curriculum in the K-12 education system. This bill was intended to address perceived widespread misunderstanding of American Indians’ heritage, history, and contributions to society. The bill passed but did not include any funding for implementation. This case discusses the efforts to secure funding for curriculum and staff development and the approaches that were used to develop a tribal sovereignty curriculum. The tribal sovereignty curriculum project occurred as a reform effort within larger reform efforts as the State attempted to improve the K-12 education system and comply with rising federal standards and expectations. The case raises a myriad of larger questions about making change as well as questions about educational innovation, policy implementation and educational equity. This case can be taught as an interrupted case with discussion at the end of each section or as a single case with discussion at the end of the case.

TRIBAL TV: Is it Worth the Effort?

Author:Frank H. Tyro, PhD, Salish Kootenai College

There is a need for American Indian people to be in control of the production and distribution of information due to the long history of being passive consumers of what the dominant society considers important, but tribally controlled broadcast facilities are rare and the communication business is rapidly changing. KSKC Public TV is housed at Salish Kootenai College, which holds its licenses. Since its launch in 1987, the television station has expanded service area, attracted national interest, and become a model for other tribes and tribal colleges. With recent budget shortfalls, the College has said it can no longer afford to fully support the local public television station. In 2007, a donation was requested from the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, which enabled support of the station at $100,000 for that year. For the following year, the tribes continued to support the station. These donations are continuing but the tribe recently decreased the donation by 25%. This case raises questions about the importance of tribally controlled media and how a tribally owned and operated television station might be retained.

Luna / Tsu-xiit the “Whale”: Governance Across (Political and Cultural) Borders

Author:Emma S. Norman, Ph.D., Northwest Indian College

This case examines the multiple discourses (identities) created around Luna, a lone juvenile orca (or killer whale, Orcinus orca) in the remote waters off of the northwest coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. This case illustrates the complexities associated with managing “resources” that transcend both political borders (in this case, the Canada-U.S. border) and cultural borders (Western - non-Western). The case compares the experiences of the Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation, which recognizes Luna (or, in the perception and language of the Mowachaht/Muchalaht, Tsu-xiit) as its chief incarnate, with those of governmental employees (Fisheries and Oceans Canada, or DFO) who are charged with the task of protecting marine life and habitat. The case illustrates how a single living being can hold multiple meanings to multiple people. In so doing, the story of Luna brings to light two main points: Modern conceptions of nature are constructed socially, and governance of shared resources requires an acceptance of diverse worldviews – particularly in the case Native and Western belief systems.