"Outrageous!" the pundits exclaim.
On one hand, I'm glad they're seeing it as outrageous. On the other hand, I'm going to pull on Floyd Red Crow Westerman's song, "Where Were You When":
Did you listen to it?
I wonder where Warren and all the pundits have been all this time? All these years when Native people have been fighting mascots.
At the University of Illinois, countless people came forward to say they were part Native, and that they like these mascots because they honor American Indians. With their "part Native" proclamation, they felt quite emboldened to attack Native people whose identity is part of our daily lives. By that, I mean Native people who are tribally enrolled or tribally connected to a Native Nation. In his excellent report on Brown and Warren in Indian Country Today, Mark Trahant includes a video clip in which Cherokee Nation Chief Baker said that he wishes "every Congressman and Senator in the U.S. had a... felt a kinship to the Cherokee Nation." Presumably, Baker thinks they would be allies of Native Nations and our needs. My experience at Illinois tells me that kinship of that kind works against us more than it does in support of us.
Warren is saying that if her staff had done what Scott Brown's staff did, there would be "serious consequences." She's telling him to DO something.
I'm asking HER to do something. This is a chance for her to regain support from people who have lost faith in her due to the way she is handling the identity issue.
Ms. Warren: Mascots and stereotyping have serious consequences for Native children and their nations. You're seeking a senate seat in a city that has a stereotypical mascot. Issue a statement condemning it.
Here's another suggestion: To help us displace the stereotypes planted in the minds of children, take a minute each day to highlight a book by a Native author who tell stories of our lives as-we-are, rather than the classics that stereotype us. I can help you select books to highlight.
This is an opportunity for you!