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Stereotype of the Month Entry
(3/10/04)


Another Stereotype of the Month entry:

From the Native American Times:

Tulsa student Christian group draws fire from mascot opponents
"Redskins for Christ" not going over well

TULSA OK
Sam Lewin 3/10/2004

A Tulsa-area high school student group has managed to offend both civil rights activists and religious leaders. The school owned website has provided space for a page called "Redskins for Christ."

Union High School has come under fire for their mascot, "Redskins." Local Native American organizations, joined by members of Tulsa's Christian and Jewish communities, staged a concerted effort to stop the school from using the name but were rebuffed by the school board.

Now, students from the school have formed a pro-Christian group called, "Redskins for Christ."

"I am a non-Christian myself, but I try to take good from every religion. I think Christ would be very disappointed in this," said Cindy Martin, Choctaw/Lakota, and one of the leaders in the movement to get Union to drop the mascot. "The school is aware of the meaning of the word and they go ahead and do something like this. It's hypocritical. It goes outside of their own beliefs."

Members of the group did not respond to a request Wednesday from the Native American Times for comment. School officials have maintained they do not consider the "Redskins" moniker to be offensive, but a compliment.

Even those not caught up in the mascot controversy think there is something wrong with the name of the group.

Dr. Chief Swift Eagle is with the Pasadena, California-based Keepers of Creation Church. He says he isn't a major opponent of school mascots, not really bothered by it, but "Redskins for Christ" took him aback. He initially thought it was a religious organization formed by Native Americans.

"Wow. Its a little bit of a racial slur-it has a negative connotation. But it's not the type of thing you can control. I'm not really happy about it," Swift Eagle, Cherokee, told the Native American Times.

It is unclear if Union is starting a trend; if so, using mascots in support of religion could have jarring results. Were Wake Forest University to do the same thing, the name would be Demon Deacons for Christ. A similar movement at Duke University could lead to Blue Devils for Christ.

That aside, the Union group has enraged Dawn Pratt, an Episcopalian who is Osage and Cherokee.

"I'm appalled. As a Christian, I would say that unfortunately people have used faith to do horrific things. That name [redskin] does not present an image of Christ. Christ stood against bigotry and for compassion."

Related links
RedĚskin n.  Dated, offensive, taboo
Team names and mascots


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