March, 2015 - WHAT'S IN A NAME OR MASCOT? ? ?


Professor Linda Rosekrans offers her first year college writing course an opportunity to learn about injustice to native Americans. Her students shared some of their thoughts on the use of Native American mascots and team names.

Adele Jesmer “believe(s) that Native people object the most to mascots because when a mascot does a war-like dance, with paint on his or her face, and is screaming Indian-like chants they are mocking Native American cultures. . . . . Imagine witnessing an Indian child experience this as a mascot puts his or her culture to shame in every way possible. Instead of hurting Native Americans like this, a mascot, logo, or team name should be something a team is proud of and not something that is demeaning to another culture.”

Iva Markicevic points out that “ . . . . the names, logos, and mascots of these teams represent Native Americans as subhuman. Consider: how many sports teams do you know of that make use of a white person as a logo or mascot? Probably none. Now, consider how many make use of animals. A vast majority. . . . . . . So, is it really surprising that Native Americans object to such a message? If the roles were reversed, wouldn’t any other group?”

Jordan Mitchell makes the point that “One form of racism that goes majorly unnoticed is towards Native Americans. . . because it is not a usual form of racism, they are disrespected in a way that makes it look like they’re actually being praised or glorified. . . . if there was a team name called the “Savages” or “Dark Skins” in regard to people of African descent, everyone in our society would be in uproar. Why is this any different?”

Chris Flood believes “ In fact, Native Americans see these representations in sports today as a means of poking fun at their perceived lifestyles and behaviors. The credibility of Native Americans (athletes) is being destroyed, and their reputation is being ruined by the hidden context perceived through the use of sports mascots, logos, and team names. . . . . . If you were Native American, would you want to be regarded as a disreputable cartoon-like character?”

Native Americans “claim that by using the name “Redskins” the organization is promoting racial and ethnic stereotypes while inaccurately portraying their culture as that of brutal savages. In addition, they claim that through the encouragement of fan practices such as the dawning of headdresses, war paint, and other tribal attire, the Washington Redskins organization is consciously mocking Native Americans and their meaningful traditions.” writes Matthew Castoral

Fortunately, challenging the use of prerogative terms can succeed as in the following report from Michelle Bancroft, Indigenous Women's Initiatives .

Squaw Island will be renamed with the Seneca Word for Unit

In Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown’s state of the city address on Friday, February 20th, he announced that Squaw Island (a 60-acre island located in the Buffalo River) will be renamed.

This change came about as a result of action spearheaded by Jodi Lyn Maracle, Mohawk. In her November, 2014 letter to the Buffalo Common Council, Jodi complained that ‘squaw’ is an offensive, disparaging reference to women and requested a name change. After Mayor Brown met with Seneca Nation President, Maurice John (who also strongly supported the name change), they forged an agreement to rename the island. Its original name was Deyowenoguhdoh (meaning Divided Island), but it will be renamed with the Seneca word for unity, Ga-Knee-Go-Yeh. On March 3rd, the Common Council is expected to vote to approve the name change.


    Do use the real names for each nation or tribe. For examples, the Mohawk are the Kanienkahaka and the Sioux are the Lakota, Nakota or Dakota.

Kay Olan, Mohawk/Wolf Clan



The Iroquois Indian Museum promotes Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) art and artists as an avenue to educating about the Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) culture, history and diversity. The “Longhouse” design of the building and cultural references helps to convey many aspects of the culture. A children's area with hands on activities is especially inviting and continued the museum's educational objectives. In addition, there are short and long nature trails throughout a 45 acre Nature Park. An outdoor amphitheater is the venue for performance of Iroquois social dancing, story telling, and cultural talks.

The Museum is located at 324 Caverns Road, Howes Cave, NY 12092. For information on their collections, activities, nature trails, hours, admission fees visit their web page at

                    What is NOON?

Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation (NOON) has been supporting the Onondaga Nation and its people for over a dozen years by educating (tabling at events, presentations, Nation to Nation Booklet, Lecture Series) and advocating around issues of concern (Onondaga Lake, Land Rights Action, Hydrofracking, Environment). We are a committee of the Syracuse Peace Council and directed by a Steering Committee of volunteers. We work with the Onondaga Nation respecting and heeding their guidance on our common goals.

Read much more about our activities at


Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States Author will give 3 in NYC next week.

Author's Website Book trailer


An Evening with Sakowenionkwas Tom Porter, Friday, March 13, 6:00PM-9:00PM (doors open at 5:30PM).
Rochester Institute of Technology campus, Student Alumni Union (SAU) Bamboo Room (Room 2610/2650). Speaking on the founding, building and future direction of Kanatsiohare:ke with Rohsennase Dalton LaBarge and Ionataie:was Kay Olan. As a fundraising event for the
Kanatsiohareke Mohawk Community, this event is free and open to the public. All donations will go directly to Kanatsiohare:ke. Directions to RIT:

Campus map for RIT: To get to the SAU, park in the D or E lot. Between these two lots is a driveway / walkway. Heading towards the buildings on campus, this driveway / walkway goes directly to SAU. The Bamboo room (Room 2610/2650) is on the second floor. Signs will be posted to lead the way.


Living Conservation Values: Reconnecting to the Lands and Waters that Sustain Us, Dr. Vrginia Kennedy, Executive Director Otsego Land Trust, Friday, March 13, from 12-2pm, Cornell University, 02 Mann Library. Dr Kennedy will talk about how her research into Indigenous knowledge and her experience with Indigenous peoples profoundly impacts her work as a conservation professional. She will focus on how collaborative community action and the embrace of conservation ethics, centered in connection and sustenance, change lives and generate possibilities for a more balanced relationship among humans and the beings and life with whom we share the planet. - Lunch included Rsvp to Donna Johnson,


Indigenous Issues Discussion Group, Saturday, March 21, 12-2pm, Betts Library, 4862 S Salina St, Syracuse, sharing thoughts on To Become a Human Being, The Message of Tadodaho Chief Leon Shenandoah by Steve Wall. Initial gathering to gauge interest for a monthly gathering. Everyone welcome even if you have not read the book. Books available for purchase.


Iroquois White Corn Project, Sat, March 28, 12-4 pm. Easter Market Days at Hart's Local Grocers, 10 Winthrop Street, Rochester, NY 14607. Featuring the Iroquois White Corn Project and 25 other local vendors! Find out more about the Iroquois White Corn Project, tastes delicious dishes and learn about new recipes featuring Iroquois White Corn.


No Home but the Heart” Celebrating Native American Culture, Sun, March 29, 3pm – 4pm, Spurrier Dance Studio, University of Rochester River Campus Rochester, NY. Daystar Rosalie Jones, Ticket:$5/Students, $10/General public For more information visit:


6th Annual Diversity Conference, From Bystander to Ally, April 17, University of Rochester, 9am-5pm, All sessions are free and open to the public. Please respond by April 10. All Workshop locations will be on the River Campus. Keynote address: Jose Antonio Vargas is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who outed himself as an undocumented immigrant in a ground-breaking essay published in The New York Times Magazine in 2011.


Benefit Concern for Kanatsiohare:ke, Saturday, April 18, 2:00 to 5:00PM. Mohawk elder Tom Sakokwenionkwas Porter, the Award Winning Akwesasne Women Singers, The Voice of the Adirondacks singer songwriter Roy Hurd, the renowned father and son author/storyteller/musical team of Joe and Jesse Bruchac and Mohawk storyteller Kay Ionataie:was Olan Tickets: $20.00 can be purchased at the door the day of the concert, or in advance at For more info. Call: 518-369-9736518-369-9736  or 518-570-5153518-570-5153 


"Buckskin to Bikinis: Haudenosaunee Wearable Art", Saturday, April 4 - 1 to 3 pm, The Iroquois Indian Museum, 324 Caverns Road, Howes Cave, NY 12092. Exhibition Opening with talk by Dr.Jessica Metcalfe, Turtle Mountain Chippewa from North Dakota.


NOON Steering Committee Meeting, March 10, 7-8:30 pm, Syracuse Peace Council, 2013 E. Genesee St., Syracuse, open meeting. Since new people often have a lot of questions, we recommend talking with Carol Baum, Syracuse Peace Council Staff (315-472-5478315-472-5478 , or Sue Eiholzer, NOON Volunteer (315-492-2684315-492-2684 , before the meeting.


Doctrine of Discovery Study Group tentatively decided to begin plans for their next Conference in October. Detail in this newsletter as plans develop. For additional information call Phil, 315-449-1650315-449-1650  or email


Shaleshock CNY, March 18, Wednesday, 6:15-8:15 pm, Community Room, Onondaga Free Library. Now that Fracking has been banned in NYS, we need to think about some of the other issues that connect like Save Seneca Lake, pipeline infrastructure in NYS, the Keystone Pipeline and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which could place control of our environment in the hands of foreign companies. All meeting are open to anyone interested.


Follow the Onondaga Nation on Twitter @OnondagaNation

Find Ononda’geh Ongwawenna’ s Page on Facebook:

If you would like to receive a digital copy of the Onondaga Nation newsletter in your email, send your first and last name along with your email address to



Ganondagan Native American Dance & Music Festival, July 25-26, with the grand opening of the Seneca Art & Culture Center, this year's festival will bigger and better than ever!


The Iroquois Indian Museum, Early Technology Day, Saturday, April 18: Flint knapping, primitive fire making, spear throwing & early archery. demonstrations.


The Iroquois Indian Museum, Nature Park Bird Walk and Live Raptor Program, Saturday, May 23 with the Audubon Society of the Capital Region.


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