Ponca Tribe of Nebraska Issues Statement on Reviews of the Use of Native Americans as Sports Mascots

Statement comes as the Washington NFL team abandons its troubling use of a racial slur as a mascot

(NIOBRARA, Neb.) – The Tribal Council for the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska today released a statement regarding recent news that at least two professional sports franchises – the Cleveland Major League Baseball (MLB) team and the Washington, D.C. National Football League (NFL) team – review the use of Native American mascots and symbols for their respective teams. The statement comes as the Washington NFL team today announced that they’re retiring a racial slur that has been used as its mascot for decades.

“The Ponca Tribe of Nebraska is encouraged that this long-overdue moment has arrived, with one professional sports franchise abandoning a mascot that perpetuated a racial slur and another examining how Native American mascots are offensive and have no place in our society. Using Native Americans as sports mascots and our deeply meaningful symbols, including headdresses, is inappropriate. Advancing troubling stereotype in popular culture and society via sports mascots diminishes our personhood.

“The Ponca Tribe of Nebraska is hopeful that other sports franchises will make the right decision by ceasing their use of derogatory and offensive mascots, and thereby examining their own use of mascots, chants, symbols and themes that disparage our people.”

For more information on the harmful use of Native American mascots and the origins of certain derogatory terms, please visit the National Congress on American Indians’ informational website.