North American sports teams are rife with Native American themed nicknames, mascots and logos. Many Americans don’t think twice about this fact. For many others, these team names and associated imagery are an added insult in the cruel history and present struggles of our continent’s indigenous people. On September 16, 2016, The Robert Zicklin Center for Corporate Integrity hosted a group of experts for a program entitled “Native American Imagery in North American Sports: Fair or Foul?” to examine this very topic. Opinion was divided as to what – if any – changes should be made.
Fast forward nearly four years and there appears to be a strong sentiment toward a complete reexamining the use of Native American culture in sports. What accounts for the apparent shift in opinion in recent weeks? What changes are in the works for pro-sports? What work remains to be done? How can Native Americans impact the future use of their cultural heritage going forward?
On Wednesday, August 12, 2020, we will reconvene several members of our expert panel in a search for answers to these and other related questions. If you are interested civil rights, freedom of expression or the role of sports in current political activism, please consider joining us.