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The New War Against American Indians

May 2, 2016

There was a time when “the white man,” as movies and textbooks put it, despised American Indians. Nineteenth Century Americans had innumerable battles and skirmishes with American Indians as the young nation’s borders and population expanded from coast to coast. Over the decades, through treaties, warfare, and forced marches, the dynamic changed:  gone was the bloodshed; next came reservations, and eventually poverty and alcoholism.
Today, there is a new war against American Indians. In this war, no blood is being shed or land is at stake. This war is being waged against the very memories of a collection of peoples. If average citizens are coaxed into forgetting,  American Indians will be only remembered in ways that teachers and professors want them to be remembered.
In Colorado, a state commission has recommended that public schools either partner with American Indian tribes in order to keep their mascots or drop the names entirely. Either keep current American Indians busy in a way approved by liberals or do not honor them at all:  that is the message. According to this commission, two-thirds of American schools have dropped their American Indian mascots since the 1970s, but the politically correct and tribal leaders fail to understand that this is the pathway to oblivion, not respect.
The NCAA has led this war at the university level, having banned all names and mascots that honor American Indians. No sense in young people uttering the names of tribes or peoples unless it is in a way approved by “educators”- the elite shaping the next generation.
When mascots are chosen, people choose either local or regional names that give pride to their area (Blue Jackets; Rockies;), evoke energetic images (Flames; Chargers;), or invoke images of meanness (Buccaneers; Pirates;) or toughness (Jaguars; Predators;). The last Super Bowl was not played between the Denver Sloths and the Carolina Dandelions. The Tigers, Bears, and Predators are major league mascots for a reason, just as the Chiefs, Braves, and Indians have chosen names to represent their respective teams with images of strength.
Only on certain university campuses, where stupidity is regarded as something to esteem, do they have mascots such as Banana Slugs or Hokies.
The ultimate team name? The Fighting Sioux. The Sioux instilled fear in whites and other Indian tribes. They were tough, brutal warriors. No one wanted to fight the Sioux. Perfect.
Recognizing that the Sioux were tough neither mocks nor disrespects them; it neither belittles them nor makes one forget who they were as a people. In fact, having the mascot is more likely to cause people to grow curious, search out information, and become more likely to become interested in other Indian tribes. The NCAA’s war against American Indians eventually was won, and the University of North Dakota changed their name to the Fighting Hawks.
Once the anti-American Indian activists get rid of the “Redskins,” they will come after the Chiefs, the Blackhawks, and other such teams who honor these peoples native to our shores. This is not a secret; it has been stated publicly by anti-American Indian organizers.
Many will decry framing activists as being opposed to American Indians. How else should we characterize those who would wipe away all memory of a large group of people? It is genocide of consciousness.
Political correctness has spread to teams that currently have no plans to change their names. Case in point:  the Chicago Blackhawks. Watch a game with their home announcers and the viewer will not even know the full team name. One will hear “Hawks” repeatedly. The word “Blackhawks” is rarely uttered, if at all. It is logical to assume that if the organization had respect for the tribe, they would instruct their announcers to utter the tribal name. To avoid the name is disrespect bordering on absurdity.
Once every state has rid every county and every street in every last town of American Indian names, then a team like the Kansas City Chiefs can change its name. Until then, travel across Oklahoma, Kansas, and Missouri, just to name three states of the Chiefs’ fan base, and see how it is ingrained in the people to honor the people many refer to as “Native Americans.”
Contrast all this with the Minnesota Vikings. Does the use of the term offend people of Scandinavian descent? Is the false portrayal of the horned helmet offensive? Chalk up the team name and mascot to regional pride, not mockery.
This apparent hatred of American Indians and their memories by liberals is easy to understand:  Liberalism needs people to be victims. Liberals want to eradicate the celebration of American Indians because to celebrate them as “tough” or “rugged” is to skew the liberal line. They serve the purpose of liberalism better if they are remembered as downtrodden, wronged people, who wished only to survive, to be left alone. Warriors are celebrated; the downtrodden are used- as props, as campaign issues, as voters.
American Indian leaders are playing an angle:  they want to partner with schools in order to educate people about their peoples’ histories, and they want logos and mascots to be respectful. Unfortunately, what seems reasonable plays into the hands of liberals. Their destiny is simply more victimhood.
When people need liberals, the cause of liberalism- more control, more money, thus more control of money- succeeds because “need” equals “votes.”
This leaves one unanswered question:  Surely present-day American Indian leaders do not hate their own pasts or their own people, so why fall in line? That is a question for tribal leaders. Where is the gain to erase the names of their tribes and their peoples? Is the gain political? Is it perceived? Is it simply twisted logic?
Present-day American Indians have greater concerns than the tomahawk chop of fans of the Kansas City Chiefs or the logo of the Cleveland Indians. Poverty and alcoholism should be high on that list. Being the puppets of modern-day liberals does not serve their needs. In a generation, name recognition will be something American Indian leaders will wish they still had.

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Brian W. Peterson has been a columnist for a mid-size California newspaper, is a veteran of political campaigns, and was a member of the publicly elected Republican Central Committee of Los Angeles County. His psychological thriller Dead Dreams and sci-fi adventure Children of the Sun are currently available through Amazon.com. You can follow Brian on Twitter @cybrpete.

Visit Brian W. Peterson's website at https://www.writtenbybwp.com/