Friday, April 24, 2015

Perspective and Stolen Culture

I read some comments by people who were upset that their team had to change their Indian mascot, or that Natives were protesting their mascot. There were comments about how the team's name is "our heritage" and how political correctness was trying to "take away our identity" or "our traditions."

It was unbelievable. I was dumbfounded and didn't know what to say.

Then I thought of all the Native kids who were taken from their families, sent to far away boarding schools where their Indian clothes were taken and burned, where they were beaten for speaking their Native languages, where they were forced to convert to a different religion, where they were overworked and abused in countless ways...

And these people are upset about having their "heritage" taken away just because Natives protest their mascotry?

"But It's Our Tradition!"

Were their children's clothes
taken away and burned
so that you could wear
imitations at sports games?

Were their sacred eagle feathers
confiscated and destroyed
so that you could wear
chicken feathers on your head?

Were their little bodies beaten
for speaking their languages
so that you could whoop
and holler gobbledygook?

Were their songs and dances
suppressed and outlawed
so that you could mimic them
in fight songs and rallies?

Were their religions and
spiritualities forbidden
so that you could worship
your team and sports idols?

Were their parents and relatives
hunted, killed and scalped
so that you could joke about
how bad the other team will lose?

Were they discriminated against
and their names changed
so that you could claim their name
for your team and its fans?

Were their tribes terminated
and their identities destroyed
so that your team could be a "tribe"
and claim it as your "identity"?

Were their histories erased
and ancient claims ignored
so that you could point to
the long history of your team?

Were generations of their children
stripped of pride and tradition
so that you could teach your children
your team "pride" and "tradition"?

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