Pillars of the Movement
The first pillar of the movement are the political activists and their allies. The big 3 Indian activist organizations have enlisted the aid of several anti-American organizations to include radical Muslim groups, Gay/Lesbian groups, anti-Semitic groups, BLM groups, Feminists groups, and Socialist/Marxist groups among others. Sadly, they have been able to indoctrinate college student groups to increase the size of their protests. The “Not Your Mascot Decolonization” movement has reached near religious status among radical leftists in academia. Progressives in government and media have also joined the bandwagon in recent years. As media often does, they cater to the progressive minority view. As there are tens of thousands of American Indians expressing their view of support for names and images through videos and other resources, they have mostly been hidden from the public. For the few Indians who stand in opposition to Indian names and images, the progressive media is more than willing to post these views everywhere to create the impression they represent majority sentiment. Add to this, many in tribal government who are under political and financial pressure to conform. United, they claim to speak for Native Americans on this topic, however there is one glaring problem. Four independent and highly reputable national surveys of random Indian people have been conducted since 2002, ALL showing the overwhelming majority of Native Americans do not want the names and images removed, culminating in a 2016 Washington Post poll citing 91% who hold this opinion. Anecdotally, go to any reservation in the country and you will see everywhere, Indian people wearing shirts and caps displaying the logos of the Redskins, Blackhawks, Fighting Sioux, and so on. Indian people love it!
This all proves the enormous disconnect between the political activists versus the Indian people, many of whom are liberal, but oppose this radical political agenda. In the only tribal vote ever conducted on this issue on a reservation, nearly 70% of the tribal members on the North Dakota Spirit Lake Tribe voted in 2010 to keep the Fighting Sioux name and logo. The North Dakota Standing Rock tribal chairman refused to allow membership a vote on the issue, stating in public, “ even if 100% of tribal members sign a petition in support of the names and image, i will roll it up and throw it in the garbage.” Interestingly enough, this same tribal chairman built himself an extravagant estate shortly after this confrontation, leaving many reservation people wondering where he got the money. Sadly, this same attitude prevails among many in tribal government who know that if membership is allowed a vote on the issue, they will vote in support of the names and images.
The second pillar of the movement are highly biased American Psychological Association (APA) studies which suffer from professionally published critiques citing significant methodological and conceptual construction flaws. The Indian students used in these studies were from a single reservation in Arizona thus contributing to the “generalization” flaws in these studies.Through leading statements and the display of only the most extreme imagery examples, the students were effectively “primed” to elicit the desired responses, a tactic frowned upon in social sciences. While the APA president at the time, who was not a psychologist, promoted the work as the cornerstone of the movement, a follow up study by another APA president, Stanford psychologist, Dr. Phil Zimbardo calls out the tactic and claims it may be responsible for developing a damaging condition he calls a “past negative mindset”, a condition highly detrimental to our youth. Zimbardo’s research project reveals how these so called unbiased conclusions were achieved through manipulations rather than fact finding. He concludes the negative mindset, the type promoted by the “Not Your Mascot Decolonization” movement, is most likely to undercut attempts at peaceful reconciliation as- their logic demands- new generations are obligated to to avenge the crimes against prior generations. Zimbardo’s experiments demonstrate that those who operate from a negative mindset are more likely to want revenge and will operate from a vendetta based mentality.
You see this vendetta playing out all over the country as Native themed schools are being intimidated to conform by the changer activists with cries of cultural misappropriation and racism. This manufactured hysteria has surfaced even at tribal schools. In 2014, Amanda Blackhorse led a protest at a football game in Red Mesa, Arizona, a majority Native American school, who proudly calls their teams the Redskins. Many of the students said they were taunted by the protesters. Andre Billeaudeaux, a Phil Zimbardo Award Winner, published the results of his longitudinal study on the negative effects of name change campaigns in 2017, concluding that these campaigns are hurting students and their communities. The negative effects of these campaigns often include high anxiety, post traumatic stress syndrome, and even death threats. Beyond vengeance and vendettas, what may also be driving these name change campaigns is a “self-serving moral outrage”. This general concept is the conclusion of Bowdoin psychology professor Zachary Rothschild and University of Southern Mississippi psychology professor Lucas A. Keefer in a 2017 edition of “Motivation and Emotion.” The findings of their study suggest that feelings of moral outrage, long thought to be grounded solely in concerns with maintaining justice, may sometimes reflect efforts to maintain a moral identity. Hense, those who fall victim to the negative mindset promoted by the changers may additionally act out of a desire to feel morally superior, when in fact their actions unwittingly serve to promote the cause of cultural genocide being perpetrated on Indian people who have had so much taken away from them already. This is why the vast majority of American Indians support the continued use of the names and likeness. Indians love and respect their ancestors, and do not wish to be erased from history. The true Indian way is to walk the Red Road of respect and honor. Contrast the disruptive, name calling, intimidation tactics of the “Not Your Mascot Decolonization” movement with the “Native Code of Ethics.”
- Respect: Respect means “to feel or show honor or esteem for someone or something: to consider the well being of, or to treat someone or something with deference or courtesy.” Showing respect is a basic law of life. No person should be made to feel “put down” by you; avoid hurting other hearts as you would avoid a deadly poison. Speak in a soft voice, especially when you are in the presence of Elders, strangers or others to whom special respect is due. Listen with courtesy to what others say, even if you feel what they are saying is worthless. Listen with your heart.
- Receive strangers and outsiders with a loving heart and as members of the human family. All races and tribes in the world are like the different colored flowers of one meadow. All are beautiful. As children of the Creator they must all be respected.