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Entries in Mascot Issue (2)

Wednesday
Apr232014

Let's Dance!

As the largest of the college powwows, and one of the top 10 in the nation, Stanford University sees 10,000 visitors a day and 250 dancers for the annual Mother’s Day weekend event. This is the university’s 43rd year hosting the event and it is entirely run by students who are part of the Stanford American Indian Organization, which was created in 1972 to abolish the “Stanford Indian” mascot.

The Powwow will be held in the Eucalyptus Grove at Galvez and Campus Drives.  All events are open to the public and overnight camping spaces are available. Donations for parking are welcome.

The Stanford Powwow begins on Friday, May 9 at 7:00 PM with the first Grand Entry of dancers and continues until 10:00 PM.  On Saturday, May 10, the 18th Annual Stanford Powwow Run, a 5K race and 1 mile youth run, will begin at 8:00 AM.  Registration for the run ends at 7:40 AM. Dancing will continue from noon until 10:00 PM.  On Sunday, May 11, dancing will continue from noon until 6:00 PM.  Also open throughout the three-day event are more than 100 arts and crafts, souvenir, information, and food booths.

As a proud alumnus of Stanford's Native American Cultural Center, I look forward to this annual event and hope to see you there!

Update: Postcards from 05/11/2014


Sunday
Feb022014

Proud to Be

As a fan, it’s nice when both teams in the Super Bowl are among those you support. Since I’ve moved to San Francisco I’ve been a 49ers Fan, but my roots in Montana remind me of the days when you picked your favorite team based on geography, and thus the equidistant Mile High and Emerald cities were both boyhood favorites.

What’s been interesting to me this season is all the activity off-the-field regarding the American Indian mascot issue, most notably the Change the Mascot and #NotYourMascot campaigns. As a member of the National Congress of American Indians, I recommend reading the policy paper, Ending the Legacy of Racism in Sports and the Era of Harmful ‘Indian’ Sports Mascots, released in October 2013. It provides a comprehensive overview of the issue with helpful resources.

The above video, Proud to Be, is a tasteful reminder that American Indian people call themselves many things, but not “Redskins” like the Washington, D.C. team.

However, the other Washington team, the Seattle Seahawks, are an example of appropriate and artistic nod to American Indians, not as mascots, but influential in the mascot choice and representation. These positive associations include the mascot animal, Taima the Hawk, and the team logo. 

Mascot Animal: The Seahawk’s official mascot is Blitz, an Osprey (Pandion haliaetus), which is a large raptor also known as a thunderbird, a legendary creature in the history and culture of various North American indigenous peoples. It is considered a supernatural bird of power and strength. It is especially important, and frequently depicted, in the art, songs, and oral histories of many Pacific Northwest Coast cultures, and is found in various forms among the peoples of the American SouthwestGreat Lakes, and Great Plains.

Tiama the Hawk: Since 2007, Taima has been the first to emerge from the tunnel leading the team onto the field before each home game. Tiama is an Augur Hawk (Buteo augur) named after an American Indian word for “thunder” that was chosen by fans.

Logo: The team’s logo based on tribal art and presented in a stylish, respectful manner typical of Haida and Kwakiutl coastal nations in the Pacific Northwest. 

Congratulations to the Seattle Seahawks!