It’s time to walk differently as Warriors
October 11, 2022
The paint they wear on their faces is not meaningless.
The headdress is a symbol of strength, the feathers meaning honor and respect.
Nothing about dressing up as Native American for a football game is respectful.
On Friday, August 27, 2022, the first Wando vs Lucy Beckham highschool football game occurred. As school tradition, seniors were to dress up as “warriors”.
In the long and twisted history of America, Native American people have witnessed their lands, their rights, their culture, stripped away from them. For them to have to see what they fought so long and hard for, flaunted in front of them for halloween costumes or a football game is not only inappropriate, but insensitive behavior.
At Wando, there is no thought before dressing up, no excuse for why we do it.
The school tradition is outdated and needs to be changed. While ignorance is not an excuse for the cruelty, when the mascot was installed, there wasn’t the same awareness about these harmful mascots that there is today. Now that students and some faculty know it’s wrong, something needs to be changed.
In the state of South Carolina, 19 schools have Native American Mascots. The National Congress of American Indians reports 1,927 schools in America still carry some sort of tribe or Native mascots.
When will they prioritize someone’s culture and identity over a football tradition?
“We’re people not mascots’ ‘ is a movement that started in 2005 and recognizes the common trend in American schools to have native mascots. This movement for equality says these schools inaccurately represent natives, and what these “mascots’ ‘ are supposed to stand for.
At the first football game, although less than expected, several students were dressed up in some sort of “Warrior” costume including feather headbands, brown dresses cut up to mock tribal dresses, painted hand prints all up arms and legs, facepaint placed in an almost mocking way.
At Wando, putting on an oversized brown shirt with fringe cut on it and placing painted handprints on does not represent the richness and depth of native culture; nor does it accurately represent what Wando should stand for.
There could be many alternatives for dressing up at football games, alternatives that don’t mock another culture. Warrior is a broad term, it wouldn’t be hard to do some research.