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Controversy Over HS Girls Basketball Team's American Indian Themed Poster


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Girls’ basketball team unveils offensive Indian-themed poster - NY Daily News

 

ow tone deaf can you possibly be?

 

The Clarke High School girls’ basketball team is under fire after their Indian-themed poster design for the season was released.

 

The Iowa Commission on Native American Affairs told news station KCCI the school doesn’t understand their culture and considered it unwelcome.

 

“The poster misused symbols representing a Native culture and spirituality in a disrespectful way. This is a young team that probably did not intentionally mean to be disrespectful; they may not realize that portraying a racial minority group in a stereotypical manner is not appropriate,” the organization said.

 

“We hope that the school and other individuals recognize that this poster reinforces and perpetuates offensive imagery and stereotypes of our culture.”

 

Each girl on the poster is dressed up, wearing a headdress and face paint while there’s also a shot of the team tribal dancing in a circle. The poster also features a totem pole that’s been converted into a basketball hoop.

 

Shirk Photography was the company responsible for the photo shoot and the owner, Ben Shirk, told Deadspin his company was responsible for the idea and not the high school. The school asked Shirk to come up with a design that made use of their Indian mascot.

 

Shirk said the final poster was actually “less inflammatory” than other ideas that were pitched. He doesn’t see anything racist or offensive about the girls’ basketball poster.

 

“The school mascots are selected by their honor and basically pride that it brings the school,” Shirk said. “If I was a Native American—I feel there was no disrespect intended. It was done to be a unique and fun poster.”

 

Fun? Only Daniel Snyder, owner of the NFL team in Washington, would find it amusing.

 

KCCI reported that none of the girls depicted are of Native American descent.

 

Clarke Community Schools Superintendent Steve Seid echoed Shirk’s belief that the postet is supposed to be in honor of Native American culture.

 

“Really out of total respect for not just the community, but the entire state in general with a Native American background,” Seid said. “No negativity intended at all. Just respecting a rich culture.”

 

The poster has not yet been distributed because it is in the process of being reviewed by the district, who possess the power to have it altered.

 

Students of the school aren’t waiting to hear the results of the review, many see nothing wrong with having pride for the schools Indians mascot.

 

indian.jpg

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Seems a Native American Tribe would be proud to be depicted like this.

Lets say they dress up like Pocahontas for Halloween, what is the difference?

 

I've never asked any full blood Native Americans but I imagine they don't like people dressing up like Indians on Halloween either. If we're being honest our country pays very little attention to the complaints of Native Americans.

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What negative stereotype is being portrayed...Head Dress? Dancing? A Totem Pole?

 

What is negative about it?

 

That it's white people on the poster or to be more fair people that are not native. Nothing more, nothing less. They don't want what looks like the people that put them on reservations to imitate them. I understand it.

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What negative stereotype is being portrayed...Head Dress? Dancing? A Totem Pole?

 

What is negative about it?

 

The article could have done a better job of explaining. When talking to those Native Americans the obvious question/comment is "educate us on what is offensive." To leave us wondering does a disservice to all.

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That it's white people on the poster or to be more fair people that are not native. Nothing more, nothing less. They don't want what looks like the people that put them on reservations to imitate them. I understand it.

 

To put it even more simply, it's cultural appropriation. Kind of like Peter Griffin when he started wearing a dashiki. Or minstrels performing in blackface.

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