Pushing the mascot issue on Super Bowl weekend

It’s heartening to see so many tweets and Facebook posts urging people to watch a video that poignantly shows who Native Americans are, and who they are not.

The National Congress of American Indians, along with the Oneida Indian Nation’s ChangeTheMascot.org, released the “Proud To Be” video last week – during Super Bowl week – to draw attention to the issue of Indian mascots.

The hashtag NotYourMascot was trending on Twitter, above Woody Allen, on Saturday night, yet I didn’t see any news organizations mention the mascot issue.

I am beginning to see a correlation between what Portland State University professor Cynthia-Lou Coleman was quoted as saying last week – “people don’t care about Native Americans and their concerns” – and the lack of national media attention to issues important to tribes.

The “Proud To Be” video was co-produced by NCAI, which has been in existence since 1944 and is “the oldest, largest” and “most representative American Indian and Alaska Native” organization in the country. An uncle of mine, the late Reuben A. Snake Jr., was a president of NCAI in the 1980s and worked tirelessly on behalf of Native people. I am sure he would want to make sure as many people viewed the video as possible.

This kind of grassroots campaign might be the way to go for Native people to sway public opinion. They cannot rely on national media organizations to pick it up.

In a blog post last week, I talked about Facebook’s new Paper app, coming out Monday, as possibly being a good source for me to find diverse news stories. If the Paper app is anything like the app called Inside (which curates content by topic), I think I might be too optimistic.

I downloaded the Inside app yesterday and I couldn’t find a topic about Native Americans, American Indians or tribes. Under the topic “Redskins,” however, I saw a link to the “Proud To Be” video (with no story) and a link to the Jan. 24 article in USA TODAY about the Oneida Indian Nation meeting with members of the United Nations (the same one I linked to in my blog last week). That’s it, as far as links to the mascot issue.

To Native people and those who support Native issues: Keep those tweets and social media posts coming.

 Follow me on Twitter @karenmichel and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ADigitalNativeAmerican.

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