In 2018 there are still over 2000 schools and professional sports teams with Native mascots, despite decades of activism and academic research demonstrating the harms of these images. Today Matika and Adrienne are in conversation with Amanda Blackhorse, Navajo social worker and mother, who was the lead plaintiff in the supreme court case against the Washington Redsk*ns, and Stephanie Fryberg, who is the top psychological researcher on these issues and has demonstrated through lab experiments and surveys how harmful these mascots are to Native youth and how they reinforce negative stereotypes.
Dr. Stephanie Fryberg is a member of the Tulalip Tribes, and an expert on the psychological and educational affects of social representations of race, class, and culture. She got her PhD in Psychology at Stanford University, where she is a member of the Multicultural Hall of Fame. Just last month, she was appointed as a Gerberding University Professor at the University of Washington, recognizing her exceptional research, contributions, and accomplishments in the field of American Indian Studies and Psychology. Dr. Fryberg’s research on stereotypes, race, class and psychological development led her to testify in front of the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs on the impact of racist stereotypes on Indigenous people. My favorite title of a recent paper would be hands down: “We’re honoring you dude: Myths, Mascots and American Indians.” She is also one of the hardest workers I have ever known, and one of my most influential thought leaders.
Amanda Blackhorse is from Big Mountain on the Navajo reservation, and is a Dine’ a social worker, activist, and mother. She was the lead plaintiff in Blackhorse vs. Pro Football Inc, a 2012 case which sought to revoke trademark protection of the term Washington R*dsk*ns. She attended haskell and received her Bachelor’s degree in social work at the University of Kansas and her Master’s degree at Washington University in St. Louis. While her training and work history includes focuses on substance abuse treatment, health care, and adult mental health in the Native communities, she has fiercely fought against the use of Native American imagery and stereotypes as sports team mascots. After filing her case against Pro Football Inc., Amanda founded Arizona to Rally Against Native American Mascots, and later launched the website NoMoreNativeMascots.org. Both entities are dedicated to spreading education, organizing protests, and working towards the elimination of sports mascots based on Native American imagery. She is a badass warrior woman, and this week was standing on top of a car in Arizona protesting Native Halloween costumes.
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