By LISA JONES
Let us change our mascot to George Washington in his masonic apron and we could say our motto is the “Fighting Rednecks.” What kind of outrage do you think that would create?
How much attention would Haskell Indian Nations University receive if this were to happen? We hear regularly the controversy over people using “Redskins” and “Chiefs” as mascots, but Natives are not to be offended?
Xochitl Sandoval, an indigenous student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, contemplated killing herself this semester over her school mascot Chief Illiniwek.
Their mascot, Ivan Dozier Jr., dressed in full regalia, replied, “When I was little, I had a harrowing experience with animal crackers because I couldn’t decide whether they wanted to be eaten or not, and I couldn’t eat animal crackers, but we can’t ban animal crackers because of that,” after Xochitl’s threat of putting a gun to her head and pulling the trigger in front of the student union building.
This quote was reworded from M. Garlinda Burton’s book where she said, “When I was little I had a harrowing experience with Indians because John Wayne was always killing them and I wanted to also, but we can’t anymore because they’re supposedly human beings.”
Michael Madrid, commented after the story, “it’s much easier to trust an overt racist because you know exactly where they stand.”
Thomas Jefferson wrote in the United States Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be sacred & undeniable; that all men are created equal & independent, that from that equal creation they derive rights inherent & inalienable, among which are the preservation of life, liberty, & the pursuit of happiness; …”
If these truths are undeniable, where is the justice for the racial inequality? This has been occurring since the writing of this sacred scripture which our country is founded upon. When will the hypocrisy discontinue?
Xochitl feels this type of insult will never cease. The story of Xochitl ran in the Indian Country Today on April 4. The university had officially discontinued the mascot; however, Dozier Jr. is still seen at most college games, including high school and elementary, representing the university.
Jones is an indigenous and American Indian studies major at Haskell Indian Nations University as well as the president of the United Pueblo Club at the university.