Lloyd E. Elling of Ocean View takes it upon himself to speak for all those of Native American descent in calling for the Indian River School District to ditch any Indian (Native) logos, mascots, names, etc. Now, yours truly recognizes that this is a delicate subject; however, Elling makes it seem as if Native Americans as a whole are uniformly opposed to such logos, etc. This is not the case. Indeed, it is highly possible that opposition is more a figment of elitist liberal "we know better" political correctness rather than popular Native American opinion. Gee, isn't it possible that [quite a few] Natives just might think that such logos and mascots are a tribute to their culture? A tribute to Native American strength and bravery (among other attributes)? A poll in 2002 by Sports Illustrated found that
81% of American Indian respondents do not think high school and college teams should stop using Indian nicknames. As for professional athletics, 83% of Native American respondents said teams should not stop using Indian nicknames, mascots, characters and symbols.
What's more, Elling includes the name Bartolome de Las Casas in his letter as if he was some paragon of virtue via his advocacy for the Indians in the face of Spanish mistreatment. But Las Casas was a prominent advocate for African slavery to replace that of the Natives. (In his waning years of life, it is said he regretted this position. Well gee, don't we all have last moment regrets?) In addition, many historians point out that Las Casas either exaggerated or simply was ignorant of the effects of Spanish violence and war against the Natives, at least when it comes to figuring the population decrease of that group as a result of conquest and colonization. It is now widely established that European diseases were responsible for the vast majority of Indian deaths during the colonial era, accounting for upwards of 90% mortality.
I certainly concur with Elling that our history shouldn't be whitewashed. But it also shouldn't be "cleansed" in the other direction -- the PC direction -- which lionizes certain figures who don't necessarily deserve it, ignores facts which may be "uncomfortable," and this history shouldn't be "spoken for" by folks who want to make themselves feel good, most especially if it contradicts the opinion of those for whom they're supposedly advocating.Posted by Hube at June 10, 2012 11:34 AM | TrackBack