What’s In A Name?
The issue of removing Native American terms as sports mascots hit the city of Marion yesterday, as it was learned that the nickname 'Indians' will end in 2021. The uproar was predictable. The school district, which my children go to, sent out a survey some weeks ago asking our thoughts on the fact that the school still used the nickname 'Indians'. I stated that I personally felt that the district used the name in a respectful manner. There was no Indian mascot or head dress used on sidelines. An arrowhead was the only thing I can remember appearing on Marion apparel.
In a letter by the Marion Schools superintendent, it was revealed that the school board received a letter from the Meskwaki Nation asking the school to no longer use the term Indian as it's school mascot. As soon as I heard that fact, I was O.K. with the name change. I had some lively discussions yesterday with friends on social media. Some who reached out were of Indian descent. They stated they were not offended by the nickname Indians. While I appreciated their honesty and believe that many Native Americans feel the same way, there are still many that don't. While I certainly don't think the nickname Indians is along the lines of mascots like Savages, or the recently retired Redskins logo in Washington, it still raises this question for me. What other ethnic group or nationality is still subjected to being a sports mascot? I personally don't feel like Native Americans are asking a lot.
And in the end, we're arguing about a sports mascot. I had a person online tell me the history of the Marion Indian nickname and all the great players who wore the uniform. Their records still stand! No one is erasing their accomplishments because of a name on their jersey. And perhaps we should all be more concerned about the other name of that jersey. Marion. Represent your city well. In 20 years you won't care if the name of your school was Indians, Ducks, or like mine was, the Raiders. You'll care more about where you are from. Represent you school with pride. Represent yourself with pride. Respect the wishes of others. Learn from your mistakes. That is the 'Marion Way' my kids have been taught in school. It never had anything to do with 'being an Indian.'