Change Port Neches-Groves High School's Mascot

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This petition is necessary because an ethnicity is NOT a mascot. A native headdress is not a logo, it is a sacred rite of Native American peoples earned by honorable warriors. A school cannot be "against racism" while actively promoting a generalized mimicry of an entire culture.

Does tradition really trump racism?? Whether or not you are personally offended, you have NO right to dismiss the anger and frustration of Native peoples who are tired of being nothing more than a trope while having no real representation.

We are simply asking that Port Neches-Groves High School stop the racist insensitivity toward Native Americans.

The following is from a petition by the Society of Native Nations against Keller High School, over the same mascot display of "Indians":

"There are several reasons why the Indigenous people of this land should not be made into caricatures or mascots but most importantly, “I am not your mascot”. “We are not your mascot” "No people, race, culture, religion or spirituality should not be a mascot". Native Americans are Human Beings that are alive today, whose Ancestors survived genocide and died to protect our traditional way of life. It is said that this mascot and others are to “Honor Us”. There are other ways to honor the Indigenous people of this continent, such as “Honoring our Treaties” or not bulldozing through our sacred sites. Perhaps starting scholarships to help our youth attend college as we have the highest rates of poverty in the nation. But making Native Americans "people" into mascots or caricatures are not honoring us. It is demeaning and does not properly represent who we are. It has been proven by the American Psychological Association that such mascots, actually harm our youth and teach non-native youth that cultural appropriation is socially acceptable. Furthermore, the use of headdresses within this high school is unacceptable and should not be mimicked as it disrespects what we know to be sacred.

No one's culture should be for sale, nor should it be available for just anyone to take and decide what is “honorable” or “noble” because someone assumes it is acceptable to appropriate a race of people culture and beliefs. The Indigenous people of this land have suffered, been knocked down to their knees, but we are still here and we DO EXIST. Our way of life, our ceremonies, our traditions, our language, our teachings all are very sacred to us and having such a mascot, like the “Keller Indians”, having “Indianettes” or their cheerleaders attempting to dress like we do, having students and supporters painting their faces to look like like Indians perpetuates stereotyping and undermines the true education a student may possibly receive but has been clouded by the school’s ill perception of what an Indigenous person is.

            We as Native people as well as Non-Native people have come together to address this issue because we are concerned and appalled that even in today’s time, some of our schools are still teaching our children racism and desensitizing them from racial stereotypes of Native American’s which leads to racist bullying, discrimination, depression, cultural issues, and low self-esteem issues among our children. Many Native American Indian children exposed to this type of cultural racism will grow to be ashamed of who they are and their cultural identity because of this abuse. Educational institutions and teachers have a professional responsibility to eliminate racism in all aspects of school life; schools and teachers should not ignore multicultural issues in school but rather address them to provide a more positive learning environment for all students.

Having the children play dress up in stereotypical cartoon character-like costumes beating a hand drum, carrying a play tomahawk, feather fans or headdresses, painting faces, doing the tomahawk chops, hand over the mouth yelling or putting their hand up in the air and saying “how” are examples of inauthentic representations of American Indian cultures. Many school officials claim they are honoring American Indians and insist that their school's sponsored activities are not offensive. We argue otherwise, and contend that these racist activities are forms of cultural violence in schools. Of course, many school administrators are all too familiar with the current legal and educational battles toward eliminating Indian mascots, logos, nicknames, and antics from school-related events. The US Commission on Civil Rights (CAR), the highest official governmental body of its kind, issued a strong statement in 2001 recommending that schools eliminate Indian images and nicknames as sports symbols.10 Grassroots efforts of thousands of American Indian parents nationwide prompted this decision among CAR members. Moreover, the critical mass of American Indian educational organizations and professionals supported the CAR too. Indian educators showed school officials that negative images, symbols, and behaviors play a crucial role in distorting and warping American Indian children’s' cultural perceptions of themselves as well as non-Indian children’s' negative attitudes toward and simplistic understanding about American Indian Peoples. Most of these proverbial stereotypes are manufactured racist images that prevent millions of school-age students from understanding the past and current authentic human experience of American Indians

 

As for those that have spoken up to say that they are Native American Indian and do not find this to be offensive.We say to you, IF you do not follow the spirituality of your ancestors, IF you do not follow the teachings of your people, IF you do not do the ceremonies of your people, IF you do not have a people and community you are accountable to that do follow and are connected to their spirituality and ancestors and or, if you follow a foreign religion or mindset, then you are NOT sincere to the ancestors, spirituality, and teachings of Native American Indian people. So you can NOT and should NOT speak for the Native American Indian community on whats best for them or what is offensive to them or not, because you will not understand if you do not know the history and or if you are not connected to the way of life and spirituality of Native American Indian communities that ARE telling you that this type cultural racism and discriminatory educational practices are bad for all people, especially children and must be stopped if we are to have a better future for all people to better understand and respect one another."

Superintendent and Board of Trustees of PNG ISD, we respectfully request that you remove Port Neches-Groves High School’s mascot. You would not approve of any other race or culture of people being used as a mascot, so please do not do it with Native Americans.