Native American Mascot Controversy Takes Center Stage at the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian

Oct 22, 2012, 14:33 ET from The Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian

Commentators and Community Members Discuss Stereotypes in Sports

WASHINGTON, Oct. 22, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian presents "Racist Stereotypes and Cultural Appropriation in American Sports," a symposium and community conversation Thursday, Nov. 1, from 10 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. in the museum's Rasmuson Theater in Washington, D.C. 

"What better place to address this issue than the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian on the National Mall," said Kevin Gover (Pawnee), director of the museum. "The Smithsonian Institution is the ideal forum to bring people together to ask tough questions."  

The series of panel discussions will feature scholars, commentators, authors and representatives from Indian nations and the NCAA. Panelists will explore the mythology and psychology of stereotypes in sports, the history of ethnic "identity theft" and recent efforts to retire and revive "Native American" sports references at the University of Oklahoma, Stanford University, Dartmouth College and Syracuse University. The symposium advances a movement endorsed by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in 2001 and addressed last year by the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs.

The program will also feature a lively community conversation about the Washington, D.C., professional football organization's name and logo with Mike Wise, a sports columnist at The Washington Post; Erik Brady, a sports reporter for USA Today; Rev. Graylan Hagler of the Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ and the former president of Ministers for Racial, Social and Economic Justice; Robert I. Holden (Choctaw/Chickasaw), deputy director of the National Congress of American Indians; and Judith Bartnoff, deputy presiding judge of the District of Columbia Superior Court's Civil Division. Philip J. Deloria (Standing Rock Sioux), author of Playing Indian and Indians in Unexpected Places, and the associate dean of Undergraduate Education at the University of Michigan's College of Literature, Science and the Arts, will moderate the conversation.

The symposium will be webcast live here. Webcast viewers are encouraged to participate via Facebook and Twitter by using the hashtag #RacistSportsLogos. A reception will follow in the museum's Potomac Atrium. For more information, visit the museum's website at

Full press release and high-res illustration:

Media only: Eileen Maxwell (202) 633-6615;
Leonda Levchuk (202) 633-6613;

SOURCE The Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian