Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Why I Got Into Protesting Native Mascotry



My name is Ramone Romero. I grew up near Washington DC as a fan of the Washington football team, and never thought twice about the name and image. I didn't know any Native Americans, but in the last few years all that has changed for me. (You can read about how that change happened for me here at The Good Men Project.)

I started the "Christians Against Native Mascotry" (CANM) pages on Facebook and on Twitter because I can't reconcile Native mascotry with the teachings of Jesus Christ. He said,
"Whatever you have done to the least of these brothers and sisters of Mine, you have also done to Me."
(Matthew 25:40
Like those courageous Christians who marched with Martin Luther King, Jr., Christians today need to say "No more!" to caricaturing races of people for our own amusement.

Can you imagine if German schools and professional sports teams used "Jews" as mascots? That's exactly what America has done with Natives, even as they are still dealing with the ongoing effects of the North American genocide (which, by the way, inspired Hitler).

The sad reality is that many Christians allied themselves *against* the Civil Rights movement, and Hitler had the support of the majority of German Christians. Likewise in America many if not most of the perpetrators of genocide against Natives also called themselves "Christians." They believed in "Manifest Destiny" and the "Doctrine of Discovery." They helped the government run Indian Boarding Schools where students were forced to convert to Christianity, were beaten for speaking their native languages, and were often abused in many horrifying ways. And more. Every atrocity perpetrated against Native Americans has had the overwhelming support of a majority of Christians in North America.

What Dixon D. White recently said about whites in America needing to own and take responsibility for America's history of white supremacy rings true for Christians:

We have to own what our brothers, sisters, and forefathers did to Native Americans. We have to take responsibility for it—for all of it.

The boarding schools.
The adoption program.
Land theft.
Broken treaties.
Bounties.
Removals.
Allotment.
Massacres.
Cultural genocide.
Religious oppression.
Impoverishing.
And so much more.

The mascot issue is a symptom, a fruit that comes out of the root of white supremacy, Manifest Destiny, the Doctrine of Discovery, greed, and our departure from following the commands and teachings of Jesus Christ.

Look what happens today when Natives stand up and protest mascotry: they hear cries of, "Get over it," Go back to the reservation," and worse. Although this is by no means the worst thing done against Natives, somehow merely challenging mascotry brings out the ugliness of America's ongoing abusive attitudes toward Natives. It brings out our belief in the myths of our national righteousness, and the belief that God ordained for us to take the land from its indigenous peoples.

We need to repent. And we need to bear fruit in keeping with repentance.

This page is my small effort to do that, to take ownership of what my Christian brothers, sisters, and forefathers have done to Native Americans. It is a cry for us to respect them and for us to repent.

Will you join me?

Native Americans are created in the image of God—the Creator. It's time we stop debasing His image. It's time we do the right thing and truly honor them. It's long overdue.

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#ChangetheName #ChangetheMascot #NoHonorInRacism #NotYourMascot #ManifestDestiny #DoctrineofDiscovery #ChristiansAgainstNativeMascotry

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