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Why minor in Native American Studies?

WVU Native American Studies minors have applied their NAS education in a variety of successful professional roles, serving as educators, artists, researchers, interpreters at historical sites, engineers, legal consultants, in health care, and other meaningful careers. 

The Medicine Wheel

Medicine Wheel

The iconic NAS medicine wheel was designed by the late WVU Professor Emeritus Urban Couch (of Cherokee descent), a longstanding member of the NAS Committee.

The four points of the medicine wheel represent the cardinal directions and the four Great Powers of the wheel; the wheel represents universal harmony.

Professor Couch, former Chair of WVU’s Division of Art, was an award-winning visual artist, curator, and educator.


Click here for information on the local mascot discussion & read the official statements on "Indian" sports mascots from the MOHEGAN TRIBE & STOCKBRIDGE MUNSEE MOHICAN TRIBE

Seek Out Indigenous Information Sources Such as Those Listed in the Sampling Below to Learn More about Mascot Issues, Policy Priorities, Histories, and Cultures of the 570+ Sovereign Native Nations in the U.S.

Expert input on the psychological impact of "Indian" mascots from a respected Indigenous scholar:

2020 Native Mascots Fact Sheet, from IllumiNative*, Crystal Echohawk (Pawnee), Founder


“More Than A Word,” (A film focused on the history of the “R_dsk_ns” team and opposition to the mascot), free to view online through July 2020

“The Time is Now: National Native Town Hall on Mascots, Native Rights, and Justice,” video archive from  Facebook live stream (might take a minute or two to load), July 10, 2020, specifically, panelists focus on the mascot issue from 20:00 – 51:00, but the whole Town Hall is excellent):


Topic-relevant Programs aired on “Native American Calling,” live call-in radio/internet program, carried on 70 public, community, and tribal radio stations in the U.S. and Canada, produced by Native-Operated Koahnic Broadcast Corp., Anchorage, AK:

“Mascots, Myths, Monuments, and Memory,” One segment of a 13-video archived symposium from the National Museum of the American Indian, held in collaboration with the National Museum of African American History and Culture, March 2018:


“Racist Stereotypes and Cultural Appropriation in American Sports” National Museum of the American Indian, February 2013.




“My Culture is Not a Costume [“we must move beyond the headdress symbol”…“’squaw’ is a word meaning vagina”],” Jayden Lim (Pomo), Tribal Youth Ambassador, California Indian Museum & Cultural Center:


Olympic gold medalist Billy Mills (Lakota) commentary on mascot names:


Additional SCHOLARLY RESEARCH Showing Support for Eliminating “Indian” Mascots:

"Of Warrior Chiefs and Indian Princesses: The Psychological Consequences of American Indian Mascots" by Dr. Stephanie Fryberg:

 "The Harmful Psychological Effects of the Washington Football Mascot" by Dr. Michael A. Friedman (incl. extensive bibliography)

"Symbols of pride or prejudice? Examining the impact of Native American sports amscots on stereotype application," by Melissa Berkley, et al. and related articles

American Psychological Assoc.  Statement:

APA Resolution with Extensive Bibliography:

United South & Eastern Tribes (USET) resolution:  

Native Women Speak out on use of "Indian" Mascots as Connected to Issues of health, safety, equity, youth self-esteem & suicide:

“In Whose Honor?” An older film from 1997, but quite powerful in its overall message, centering around the activist story of University of Illinois graduate student Charlene Teters (Spokane) and the efforts leading up to the successful removal of the fictitious “Chief Illiniwek” mascot character at the University of Illinois:


*Reclaiming Native Truth: A Project to Dispel America’s Myths and Misconceptions:


Reclaiming Native Truth: Changing the Narrative About Native Americans, a guide for allies (see in particular, pg. 18, re: the results of information and education in attitude formation):


U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Statement on Native American Images and Nicknames as Sports Symbols:

Native People Speak out About Native Mascots:

The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI):  and...

NCAI video, “Proud to Be” :

#Proud to Be (not your mascot):


The Native American Rights Fund:


The Native American and Indigenous Studies Association:


National Indian Education Association:

from the NCAA's Champion Magazine, "Where Pride Meets Prejudice"

Native American Journalists Association

Extensive list of tribal resolutions and organizations' statements opposing "Indian" mascots: 

American Indian College Fund Solidarity Statement by AICF President & CEO Cheryl Crazy Bull (Sicangu Lakota):

University of Michigan Martin Luther King symposium speaker, Charlene Teters (Spokane Tribe), on why "Indian" sports mascots should be eliminated:

Global Sport Matters article with Dr. James Riding In (Pawnee), ASU Professor and editor editor of Wicazo Sa Review: A Journal of Native American Studies

American Indian Movement (AIM) -- National Coalition on Racism in Sorts and Media:

National Coalition Against Racism in Sports & Media:



“A Conversation with Native Americans on Race” YouTube video:

American Indian curriculum resources for teachers:

National Indian Youth Council Lessons: "Stereotypes, Prejudice & Discrimination: Native American Mascot Controversies & Sociological Perspectives"

Regarding the MORGANTOWN HIGH SCHOOL MASCOT ISSUE: Statements from Stockbridge-Munsee Community, Band of Mohican Indians (in Wisconsin) and Mohegan Tribe (in Connecticut) opposing "Indian" sports mascots...

pg 1 2 stockbridge munsee mohican statement on mascots

Mohegan tribe statement on mascots
Stockbridge-Munsee Mohican History 
Mohegan Tribe Virtual Exhibit
STATEMENT Reasserting our
NAS Program's Commitment to Confront and Condemn Racism


We who serve on the Native American Studies Program Committee declare our solidarity with our Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color (BIPOC) community members seeking justice. We are mindful of the fact that the officer charged with brutally murdering George Floyd on May 25, 2020 was involved in multiple incidents in which officers used lethal force, including one involving the shooting of a Native American man.[1] Our country is reckoning with racism, police brutality, and other societal factors that make BIPOC disproportionately vulnerable to violence, racial profiling, and discriminatory treatment.

Through education we seek to help eradicate racism—in its myriad forms—with a particular, though not exclusive, focus on justice for Native Americans, advocating for human and civil rights, safety and well-being. We are guided in our mission by the words of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly."[2]

(statement adopted summer, 2020) [1] ; , et al

[2] From Dr. King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” penned April 16, 1963 while in solitary confinement after his arrest for defying an Alabama injunction prohibiting demonstrations in Birmingham.

News on our 2020 Peace Tree events will be shared as details are finalized after the start of fall classes.
WVU programming involving guest of honor MERV TANO, J.D. has been postponed to 2021.

Mr. Merv Tano, 2020 Peace Tree Guest of Honor
President, International Institute for Indigenous Resource Management
and adjunct faculty, Haskell Indian Nations University

The Peace Tree is located between Martin Hall & E. Moore Hall. The annual Peace Tree events are free and open to the public.

peace tree bald eagle


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