Enduring Legacies Native Case Studies

Theme

Racism and Prejudice


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!Whose Story Should Be Told

Author:Barbara Leigh Smith

This case tells the story of controversial murals in a prominent federal building in the historic Federal Triangle district in Washington D.C.  American Indian employees who work in the building, which is now headquarters of the Environmental Protection Agency, want the murals removed, saying they perpetuate inaccurate and demeaning stereotypes of Native Americans and create a hostile work environment.  The mural dispute raises issues about the connections between government and the arts and difficult questions about leadership, public policy, stereotypes, historical integrity, civil rights, and cultural politics.  These conflicts illustrate important issues of rights vs interests and the relationship between Native concerns and the so-called “national good.”

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.

Native Fishing Practices and Oxygen Depletion in Hood Canal

Author:Cole, Robert S.

This case examines the contribution of dumping chum salmon carcasses into Hood Canal to the lowering of dissolved oxygen in the Canal. A report by the Puget Sound Action Team and the Hood Canal Coordinating Council studied the contribution of different factors to low dissolved oxygen levels in Hood Canal. This report presented the Skokomish Tribal Nation with a potential public relations issue regarding their traditional practices of dumping the chum salmon carcasses into the Canal. Students are challenged to discuss recommendations about what actions the Skokomish Nation should take based upon the findings of the report, upon issues of economic impact on tribal fishers, and upon issues of equity in addressing environmental problems.

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.

skwadi’lic, Board Feet, and the Cedar Tree

Author:Kurt W. Russo, PhD

This case examines the way in which cultural frames of reference influence our perspective on what constitutes real and true knowledge of nature. The case provides a description of the aboriginal landscape of the Lummi Indians of Washington State that gave rise to and sustained their unique social imaginary and lifeway. The case then examines how the Lummi Indians have worked to protect the remaining old-forests that are integral to their cultural traditions. The case brings to light two main points: 1) how values and perceptions influence the interpretation of this information by land management agencies and 2) how values and perceptions are shaped—or marginalized—by culturally determined frames of references.

Confronting Racism: Treaty Beer Comes to Washington State

Author:Michelle Aguilar-Wells and Barbara Leigh Smith

This case tells the story of disputes and organizing efforts over Indian treaty rights in Wisconsin and Washington state and an attempt to sell a beer in Washington State in the late 1980’s that came to be labeled as “hate in a can.” Dean Crist, a pizza parlor operator from Minocqua, Wisconsin came to Washington with a campaign to stop what he called treaty abuses by American Indians by introducing “Treaty Beer.” This mobilized Indian and non-Indian groups and led to high level political discussions about what should be done. One of the authors of this case was the Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Indian Affairs at the time this event occurred.