A celebratory season poster for an Iowa girls basketball team has stoked serious concerns about racial insensitivity because, well, take a look for yourself:
Yup, that’s the 2016-17 Clarke Indians girls basketball squad, in headdress, feathers and just about every other Native American stereotype short of a tomahawk. That’s not to say that the poster doesn’t have artistic merit; someone spent serious time putting the “Tribal Family” motif together (apparently it was a man named Ben Shirk, per Deadspin’s research).
Unfortunately, that doesn’t keep it from being wildly offensive, as many were quick to point out on the Facebook page of Des Moines CBS affiliate KCCI’s Andy Garman. Take Elaine Youngbear, for instance:
I find it extremely funny just how people on this comment section think that I, as a full-blooded Native American from here in Iowa, should be proud of things like this because they are paying respect to a culture/heritage you all really don’t have a clue about. I’m pretty used to seeing bs like this and am so over it. Keep telling yourselves that you are paying respect, blah blah blah but if you had done the research or even asked actual living Natives how they feel about females wearing headdresses, you’d know that it is distasteful/disrespectful. If you think we as Natives are overreacting then the solution is simple: Change school mascots so We can’t be overly sensitive anymore. Change it to whatever culture/heritage y’all come from and won’t get people who are angry making a big deal out of things like this.
That’s a pretty strong stance, and darn near impossible to argue with.