11/06/04 - 11:20 AM - 12 PM - Plains Tipis, Kitsch, and the Fashioning of American Identity

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Sun, 11/07/2004 - 06:04.

11/06/04 - 11:20 AM - 12 PM
Santina, University of North Texas
Tipis, Kitsch, and the Fashioning of American

This talk could have as easily been about
Chief Wahoo, Kitsch, and the Fashioning of American Identity, and if you were
an Indians supporter you should have been embarrassed during this session. I do
not support the racially insensitive iconography of Cleveland's baseball team
and I am ashamed of all people who are less sensitive. The presenter documented
the representation of the native American dwelling the tipi in Anglo American
media - from symbol of threatening murderous heathens, in the frontier days, to
nostalgic kitsch icon after the conquest and assimilation of our native people.
During the golden age of the automobile, tipi styled Wigwam Motels spring up
across the country, and even today there is a market for toy tipis, tipi lamps,
and other "indianish" kitsch, just as there is a market for
Wahoo-branded sports bric-a-brac.

It was pretty obvious there's a connection
between all these trashed symbols of these long suffering people, so it was
safe to assume the audience shared shame for ever brandishing an
"Indians" hat or Jacket, or shouting wahoo at Jacob's field. Equally
obvious conclusions - reject all disrespectful, racially insulting kitsch, including
Chief Wahoo. And send a message to the owners of the Indians... grow up, get
out of your tipis, and get real to the politically correct and culturally more
enlightened times in which we live, and the immense need for more socially
enlightened leadership and consciousness for the future - let Chief Wahoo lay
in rest and come up with a new name for our baseball team... perhaps then your
curse will be lifted.

Until then - Go Red Socks!


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Kansas City Star editor: "Chief Wahoo is a ridiculous, offensive

Interesting observation - in looking for an anti-chief wahoo logo for this posting I realized the extent of controversy surrounding this issue - there are many websites and forums dedicated to this disgrace, and newspapers are even refusing to print the logo - read on:

NAJA Affirms Newspaper's Decision to Drop Chief Wahoo

Minneapolis, MN--The Native American Journalists Association commends
Kansas City Star for its recent decision to stop using the Cleveland
mascot image on its sports pages.

The Kansas City Star no longer prints the baseball team's mascot, Chief
Wahoo. The image has long been considered derogatory and offensive to
Native people.

Mark Zieman, Kansas City Star Vice President and Editor, said the
reasoning was fairly simple. "Chief Wahoo is a ridiculous, offensive,
caricature. We would be ashamed to run it as an editorial cartoon or
strip, so why should we repeatedly publish it in the sports pages of

The Kansas City Star joins the ranks of other newspapers such as the
Minneapolis Star Tribune and the Oregonian that have stopped publishing
Native American mascots.

"We appreciate the Kansas City Star's decision to drop the usage of the
Wahoo logo and we hope this continues to set a precedent for other
newspapers," said Mary Annette Pember, President of NAJA. "Our only
disappointment is that the Star continues to use other Native mascot
names in
their sports coverage. Hopefully as we continue to grow as journalists,
will conclude that the use of racist symbols and names is not part of
sports reporting."