When Christopher Columbus reached North American land, he was welcomed by the Native Americans. Colonies were formed and after the revolutionary war Americans moved west. During the rise of America, the formation of a nation began, Native Americans were pushed away from the native land and cleared of their culture by the American people. Hundreds of years later, Americans still do not value the Native American culture instead value stereotypes the American society created toward Native Americans.
In the past history of our country our founding fathers described the Native Americans as “savages”. John Adams, the sixth president of the United States, pushed the Native Americans further and futher away into the west. He negotiated land with tribes and never fullfilled their agreement. Native Americans were forced out of there sacred land to eventually leave the country or live in camps that segragated the Native Americans and the general public of the US. Native Americans today to not look up to John Adams or Christopher Columbus like school teaches us to do. In the “One Word-Christopher Columbus” video shows a women from the Native American culture and says that “Christopher Columbus labelled us as Indians because he thought he was in India. These names were created by people we are taught to thank and remember them as heros of American history.
Fast foward into the prime time of film making. Films bring art and media together to show a story. There is always a main character and a sidekick. In the article “I Hate Tonto(Still Do)” shares obseravtion the author did growing up watching movies that had Native American characters, specifically the sidekick. These Native American characters were actually never played by Native Americans but rather white actors. The white actors dressed as Native Americans were always followed by ominous music. This picture the media portrayed of the Native American people also made Native Americans to believe the stereotypes in the films like the “Lone Ranger”. Native Americans almost believe that there own ancestors were “savage” like John Adams thought. The Native Americans settle for what they see on the media and what they are deemed on because they think ‘well at least they have a Native American on the screen’ while they watch Johnny Depp, a filthy rich white actor, play Tonto in the Disney version of the “Lone Ranger”.
Football, America’s favorite sport. Every sunday, everyone gets together to have beers and greasy finger foods. Those who go to the game are tailgating and cheering on their favorite team even before the game starts. For Native Americans it is different, they do not think of the Maryland NFL team when they hear “Red Skins”. For years football teams have used offensive terms and mascots that affect the Native American people. In the film “In Whos Honor?” follows a Native American mother, a University of Illinois alumni, explain to the film makers why she protests against using Native American aspects as sports mascots. The film explores the use of a Native American Mascot, Chief Illiniwek, at the University of Illinois. Chief Illiniwek has been used by the community to bring crowds together and has become a real icon. The mascot wears a feather head dress and clothes that an “indian” would wear. The mascot dances before every game a “native dance” and is usually danced by a white student. In the movie, staff from the University calls the Chief “inspirational to everyone who comes to see the game”. The whole idea of using culture that you are not apart of as you own is just a bad idea to start from … especially if you are a white American. The white American already wins at life here in the United States. Now let me paint this picture. A white man is dressing up as an “indian”, what he is wearing might be similar to what you wear at home that also carries meaning to your people. The white man probably has no clue what the face paint on his body mean to your parents , to your family , or to you. He dances like he thinks is what Native Americans dance like. The drumming might not even he apart of your culture… just a stereotype. He calls himself a Chief, but his white family probably roots back (somehow) to the white leaders who killed, and raped your ancestors. Sports mascots are the same as painting blackface on yourself , it is the same as wearing a mustache and calling yourself Mexican, and it is the same as saying all Asians are smart. The best way to wrap up the issue of Native American Mascots is a quote from the film “Native Americans are not mascots they are human”.
Its 2016 and the picture rendered for us that shows Native Americans are still the same. The sad part of all this is that the Native American people actually start to believe these things are true. White America are just really ignorant bastards and think everything is theirs to claims. Feather head dresses are not yours white America, it belongs to all the people you killed, betrayed, pushed away, and raped. You continue to step all over the last thing they still have-culture.