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Resources and Issues

Research on Mascots

Facts and Resources

The WVU Native American Studies Program provides the following list of resources for informational purposes only, and not as a commercial or institutional endorsement for any non-WVU entity.

On this page: 

Video & Documentaries

Some of the following videos are available as full length films online.

  • “More Than A Word,” 
    A film focused on the history of the “R_dsk_ns” team and opposition to the mascot
  • "Imagining the Indian: The Fight Against Native American Mascoting," This film is a comprehensive examination of the movement to eradicate the words, images, and gestures that many Native Americans and their allies find demeaning and offensive. Imagining the Indian is Produced by the Ciesla Foundation, Co-Directed and Co-Produced by Aviva Kempner and Ben West (Cheyenne), and Co-Produced by Kevin Blackstone, Yancey Burns, and Sam Bradley. "America is famous for its sports franchises and rabid fans at both the pro and collegiate levels. However, there is one group of Americans for whom sports are a painful memory. On a daily basis, they are reminded of their people's tragic history. These are the original Americans, the Native Americans. Some people are trying to put an end to the last vestiges of racial stereotyping and denigration in US sports. This documentary takes a closer look at the Native American mascot debate and the use of racist mascots in sports."
  • "We Are the Warriors,"  A film about a small Maine town that decides the fate of its American Indian mascot after facing public allegations of racist behavior at a high school football game.
  • " Fighting Indians ,"   On May 16, 2019, the state of Maine made history by passing LD 944 An Act to Ban Native American Mascots in All Public Schools, the first legislation of its kind in the country. Fighting Indians chronicles the last and most contentious holdout in that struggle, the homogeneously white Skowhegan High School, known for decades as "The Home of the Indians."
  • " Not Your Mascot: Native Americans and Team Mascots," Professor Anton Treuer (Ojibwe) provides perspective and the movement to end so-called Indian mascots.
  • “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
  • “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
  • Charlene Teters (Spokane Tribe), on why "Indian" sports mascots should be eliminated
    University of Michigan Martin Luther King symposium speaker
  • “Racist Stereotypes and Cultural Appropriation in American Sports” 
    PART 1 and  PART 2 
    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
  • “Proud to Be” , video and  #Proud to Be (not your mascot)
    National Congress of American Indians (NCAI)
  • “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


Scholarly Research

Additional SCHOLARLY RESEARCH showing support for eliminating “Indian” mascots:

Websites and Projects

Statements and Resolutions 

Lessons and Guides for Teachers

Morgantown High School Mascot Issue

It is common to find variations of both historical and contemporary spellings of a tribe's name because such names were translated phonetically into the English language. Thus one could assume the names "Mohegan," "Mohican," and "Mohigan" (the MHS team name) are all references to the same tribe. In fact, the Mohicans and Mohegans link their origins to the Lenape (Delaware) Indians of the Northeast. The Stockbridge Munsee Mohicans' tribal website details a   complex history of displacement and removal to present-day Wisconsin from their ancestral lands in the Northeast, where the citizens of the Mohegan Tribe still live. 

More information on the history of these two tribes is available at the following links:

Morgantown High School history and advocates for retaining the mascot suggest the team name "Mohigan" (pronounced  Moheegan, just like "Mohegan"), is a fictional term. It was apparently first used as the name of the annual yearbook, composed of the first letters in the words "  Morgantown  HigAnnual." Subsequently, "Mohigan" was adopted as the school's team name, incorporating stereotypical Native American imagery such as a large feather headdress associated not with the Eastern Woodlands tribes, but appropriated from Plains Indians traditions.

Both the Stockbridge Munsee Mohicans and the Mohegan Tribe, along with innumerable other federally-recognized tribes and Native American organizations such as the National Congress of American Indians, as well as the NAACP, NCAA, American Psychological Association, various national religious organizations such as the United Methodist Church, et al.,  all oppose the continuation of such Native American mascots. 

Official statements from the Mohegan Tribe and the Stockbridge Munsee Community

Page 1 Screenshot of the Stockbridge Munsee Community Band of Mohicans Resolution Page 2 Screenshot of the Stockbridge Munsee Community Band of Mohicans Resolution
Stockbridge Munsee Community Band of Mohicans, Tribal Council Offices
September 3, 2019 
No. 067-19

WHEREAS, the Stockbridge-Munsee Community, Band of Mohican Indians, is a Federally recognized Indian Tribe and the Stockbridge-Munsee Tribal Council is the recognized governmental body of this community, and 

WHEREAS, the Stockbridge-Munsee Tribal Council recognizes the need to eliminate race-­based Indian logos, mascots, names, and images, and WHEREAS, the Stockbridge-Munsee Tribal Council has consistently and continuously expressed opposition to the use of race-based Indian logos, mascots, names, and images by educational institutions, sports teams and other institutions, and 

WHEREAS, the Stockbridge-Munsee Tribal Council identifies that race-based Indian logos, mascots, names, and images leads to stereotyping, and 

WHEREAS, the Stockbridge-Munsee Tribal Council certifies that stereotyping has repercussions in physiological and cognitive performance domains, and 

WHEREAS, the Stockbridge-Munsee Tribal Council asserts that it is unfortunate in this day of enlightenment and advances in society and government that race-based Indian logos, mascots, names, and images continue to appear in education, sports and other institutions in light of the knowledge that those race-based Indian logos, mascots, names, and images are offensive and derogatory, and sends a negative image and demoralizes the self-awareness of children, adults, parents, and communities with strong, positive and enduring cultures and histories, and 

WHEREAS, the Stockbridge-Munsee Tribal Council continues to assert that race-based Indian logos, mascots, names, and images deliberately, and in a derisive manner, portray Native American Tribes, Tribal governments and Tribal cultures and should be rejected on all occasions and in all uses, so NOW 

THERFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Stockbridge-Munsee Tribal Council does hereby approves the elimination of race-based Indian logos, mascots, names, and images for the well-being of the greater community and respect for tribal sovereignty, and 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Stockbridge-Munsee Tribal Council does hereby reaffirm its stand in opposition to all uses of race-based Indian logos, mascots, names, and images as being derogatory and derisive and harmful to Native Americans, Tribes and tribal governments. 


I, the undersigned, as secretary of the Stockbridge-Munsee Tribal Council, hereby certify that the Tribal Council is composed of 7 members, of whom 7, constituting a quorum, were present at a meeting duly called, noticed and convened on the 3rd day of September; 2019, that the foregoing resolution was adopted by a vote of 4 members for, 2 members against, and 0 members abstaining; and that said resolution was not rescinded or amended in any way. 

Shannon Holsey, President and Jerilyn Johnson, Secretary

Stockbridge-Munsee Tribal Council

P.O. BOX 70 • N8476 MOH HE CON NUCK ROAD • BOWLER, WI 54416 • (715) 793-4111 • FAX (715) 793-1307 

Mohegan tribe statement on mascots

Official Statement on Mascots issued from: Mohegan Tribal Council, Council of Elders, and Tribal Chief

(The Mohegan Tribe is in Uncasville, CT)

In 1965 when Montville High School was built, the school leaders decided to name the high school teams "The Indians" and indeed the sign on the prope1ty at the school says "Montville High School, Home of the Indians". During that time period, it was a way to recognize the history of the Tribe and the town that now occupies fo1mer Mohegan lands. Tribal citizens have always lived in what is now known Montville and over time, came to live side by side with their non-native neighbors. This shared history is one of cooperation and mutual respect. Throughout the town many place names are tribal names, again in recognition of the first peoples of this town:

  • Uncasville (a section of the town) named after Chief Uncas
  • Uncasville School
  • Mohegan (a section of the town which remains the traditional homelands of the Tribe)
  • Mohegan School, built on traditional homelands and named after the Tribe.
  • Fort Shantok named after the Tribe's traditional village.
  • Street names named after tribal citizens: Occum Lane, Teecomwas Drive, Fielding Terrace, Fielding Drive
  • (named after Chief Matagha), Fowler Drive (named after Chief Fowler)

Montville High School has worked with its student body and its educators to protect against the name of the school and the mascot being used in a derogatory fashion. The term Indians in and of itself is not derogatory or inflammatory. In this instance it is simply recognition of the first inhabitants of this land. There has been open dialogue between the Mohegan Tribe and school administrators intermittently to protect against the too easy conversion to hurtful behavior.

Despite this long history, it is the position of the Mohegan Tribe that the use of American Indian mascots and American Indian named teams be discontinued. While the stated intent may be to "honor" American Indians, there is a great potential for less than respectful behaviors to occur in conjunction with these mascots. Additionally, people should not be considered mascots. It is demeaning to be relegated to a stereotyping of a people. This should not be allowed to continue. It is a bit ironic that during the formulation of the United States, native people were forced to assimilate, not allowed to practice their traditional dress or way of life and yet cultural appropriation continues to occur with regard to sports teams and their mascots.