Document Type


Publication Date

January 2017



First Page



INTRODUCTION: For more than sixty years, Native American activists have been involved in discussions and protests over the appropriation and use of tribal references in sports names, logos, and mascots. During this same period, many of these uses have since been changed, driven by civil rights struggles and a growing awareness of the proven social harms and racism inherent in these references. Despite a gradual movement towards abolition and evolving signs of cultural understanding, many mascots invoking Native names and imagery persist today across professional, collegiate, and local school district sports. These mascots and team names, and the trademarks associated with them, are harmful not only because they reinforce negative stereotypes about Native peoples, but also, and perhaps more perniciously, because they misappropriate and commodify Native peoples' cultural identities and the subsequent depictions of those identities by others out in the world.