Change the school's racist mascot! Respect Native Americans. Winnsboro ISD Texas

Change the school's racist mascot! Respect Native Americans. Winnsboro ISD Texas

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Change the mascot Winnsboro ISD. It's racist. Write to Superintendent of Winnsboro ISD        Smorton@winnsboroisd.org          207 E. Pine St., Winnsboro, TX 75494 for change. https://www.winnsboroisd.org/ 

This petition has been created to advocate for the Superintendent of Winnsboro ISD to change the mascot at all Wisd Schools, located in Winnsboro, TX. We are asking that the school stop the cultural racism and discriminatory educational practices towards Native American 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 “Winnsboro Indians”, having “raiders” 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.

Many Native American Indian communities and organizations have been fighting against racism in sports and media for over 40 years. The National Coalition on Racism in Sports and Media was established in October of 1991. This coalition exists to fight the powerful influence of major media who choose to promulgate messages of oppression. NCRSM, while best known for its front-line demonstrations outside sports stadiums across America, has been responsible for an educational effort which has made the issue of racial stereotyping a household discussion. NCRSM takes a long-term view of the struggle against learned hatred and disrespect. We are in a fight for the very soul of the United States against long ingrained willful and self-serving ignorance. Components of major media which from public and government opinion includes: film video, sports entertainment, and educational institutions, publications, news organization, television, cable satellite, and the internet, retail practices and merchandising, marketing and radio.” This mission statement falls in line with discriminatory educational practices that have and are obviously being taught at “Winnsboro High School” and perhaps other schools in the WISD where there is less than 1percent of Native American Indian children attending these schools.

            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, we respectfully request that you remove Winnsboro Schools' 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 our people.

"In 2018, no other people of color must confront the harm & ridicule levied by a sports team whose name refers to the color of their skin.” NCAI & 8 leading civil rights & racial justice orgs announce opposition to Washington NFL team name

Watch: Speak Out About Native Mascots – a video by the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI)

National Indian Education Association Re

2013-07: Support for Elimination of Race-Based Native Logos, Mascots and Names – click here to read

The Dine Medicine Men’s Assocition, Inc. of the Navajo Nation have passed a Resolution urging President Obama and Congress to act to eliminate racist stereotypes related to sports Mascots in professional sports – click here to read