“Honoring Native Americans” Not So Honorably
On March 15, 2022, despite Disney’s new policy disallowing imitation Native headdresses in the Magic Kingdom, a Texas school drill team — the Port Neches-Groves “Indianettes” — chanted derogatory cheers while dressed in stereotypical “Native American” garb, including faux feathers and all.
This is not and has never been acceptable. Please take action and help flood Port Neches-Groves’ superintendent, Dr. Mike Gonzales, with emails. Tell the schools to change their nickname, mascot, and gear and stop with the offensive and harmful Native stereotypes!
Racism and Stereotypes Strike Again
Children and their parents chanting “Scalp ‘em!” together should come as no surprise from this Texas community. Port Neches-Groves High School has a long history of perpetuating racism.
Built on the foundations of a plantation, near the site of a former confederate fort, the only traditions this school and its campus uphold are attempting to create a hostile sporting atmosphere based around horrifying stereotypes. This is not a joke: Indian Stadium — also known as “The Reservation” is known as the home of the frightening theme song, “Cherokee.”
In recent years, of course, a sporting world just a little wider than that in Southeast Texas has seen monumental shifts around the narrative for Indigenous Peoples. National sports mascot and nickname changes have, at long last, addressed and changed harmful stereotypes that affect Native populations — particularly children.
Under pressure from Native activists, accomplices, and allies, both the Washington NFL team and the Cleveland Major League Baseball team switched gears after decades of steadfastly refusing to change their offensive branding.
In 2015, Adidas offered funding to Port Neches-Groves (and other schools) to change their offensive branding. They flatly declined, saying, "Changing it would be tapering down to political correctness of leftist extremists and we're not going to do that here." (This paragraph was previously linked, but in a sign of the success we're having with the district, they quickly pulled the news story from their site.)
Now, it’s time to change their minds. Children must begin learning real history and understand the costs of degrading cultures and communities that don’t look their own. They must not be taught that it’s OK to continue the same abusive, genocidal patterns Native people have faced for centuries for even one more, single day.
Tell Port Neches-Groves to change its branding, its fight song, and its attire. Tell the superintendent to respect our past and help create a better future for all. No more harmful Native stereotypes! #NotYourMascot