We are often asked “has any of this come from Indigenous peoples?” and the answer is very much yes – our entire campaign is based around the views and voices of Indigenous peoples. Below you can find out more about those who have spoken out against mascots and imagery in general and specifically against Exeter Chiefs. It is important to note that the term “mascots” is frequently used as short hand to refer to mascots, logos, names, images, and so on, rather than just referring to match day mascots.

Exeter Chiefs’ Native imagery

 

All Native imagery

 

NCAI logo

National Congress of American Indians (NCAI)

The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) was formed in 1944 to serve the broad interests of tribal governments and communities and be a unified voice. It is the oldest, largest, and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organisation. It operates as a representative congress of American Indians and Alaska Natives and serves to develop consensus on national priority issues that impact tribal sovereignty through voting on and passing resolutions to determine NCAI’s position on a broad range of issues.

The NCAI first started campaigning against Native mascots and imagery in 1968 and still campaigns to this day, with its current “Proud to Be” campaign. It has passed numerous resolutions updating the position on Native mascots: 

NIEA logo

National Indian Education Association

The NIEA (National Indian Education Association) was set up in 1969 to bring together Native teachers and educators to improve the education system for Native children in the USA. Today it is the largest group of Native teachers, parents and students in the United States, acting as a forum to “discuss and act upon issues affecting the education of Indian and Native people” alongside maintaining and promoting Native culture. It has issued two resolutions calling for the elimination of race-based Native logos, mascots and names, the first in 2009 in reference to school and college sports teams, and the second in 2013 expanding that to all sports franchises in the United States.
Click here to read the 2013 resolution
Click here to read the 2009 resolution

Illuminative logo

IllumiNative

IllumiNative was founded by Native peoples in 2020 to increase the visibility and challenge negative narratives about Indigenous peoples. It was founded following the Reclaiming Native Truth (RNT) research which was the largest public opinion research ever conducted on Native culture and concluded that negative stereotypes and myths perpetuated by culture and media are leading to the erasure of Native peoples.

They are campaigning against all uses of Native mascots, logos and names at sports teams and have produced a range of materials to support their campaign, including a series of fact sheets.
Click here to read more

Inter-Tribal Council (Chickasaw, Choctaw, Cherokee, Muscogee (Creek), Seminole)

The Inter-Tribal Council of Five Civilised Tribes brings together the tribal governments of the Chickasaw, Choctaw, Cherokee, Muscogee (Creek), and Seminole Nations, representing over 400,000 Native people throughout the United States. They issued a resolution in 2001 calling for the elimination of “the stereotypical use of American Indian names and images as mascots in sports and other events”.
Click here to read the resolution on their website

CNAY logo

Centre for Native American Youth (CNAY)

Centre for Native American Youth (CNAY) is a national education and advocacy organisation that works to improve the health, safety and well-being of Native youth (24 and under) across the US.

They have confirmed they are firmly against Native sports mascots and logos which “perpetuate the systematic racism within our country [and] represent inaccurate depictions of the Native American population and promote cultural appropriation.”

Click here to read their official statement on the issue

Hundreds of other Native organisations

In July 2020, over 450 Native organisations and allies signed a letter asking the NFL to drop all Native-themed names and imagery. These are some of the Indigenous organisations and significant individuals who signed that letter

An image listing some of the Native organisations and individuals who signed a letter asking for the end of Native mascots and logos

 

Others

This short film was made in 2017 examining the issue of Native mascots, logos etc and features interviews and coverage of many Indigenous peoples who have spoken out against imagery of this kind: https://youtu.be/i7jnNEZ6ONY

All My Relations is a popular podcast hosted by Indigenous women discussing all kinds of issues facing Indigenous communities. They have hosted episodes on both mascots and on cultural (mis)appropriation within their first few episodes, demonstrating the importance of the issues

Click here to listen to the All My Relations episode on Native mascots on Spotify, or search for All My Relations wherever you listen to your podcasts

Click here to listen to the All My Relations episode on Native appropriation on Spotify, or search for All My Relations wherever you listen to your podcasts

 

Professor of Ojibwe, and Native American author, trainer and speaker Dr. Anton Treuer explains why humans shouldn’t be sports mascots in this video

In 2015, Buzzfeed spoke to Indigenous peoples at the Southern California Indian Center about some of the biggest Native-style logos used at US clubs
Click here to watch the video

St Louis Cardinals baseball player Ryan Helsley (Cherokee) called Atlanta Braves’ use of the tomahawk chop “disrespectful” and “disappointing” in 2019
Click here to read more

Indigenous peoples talk about Native-branding, mascots and the “Tomahawk Chop” as part of a broader discussion on the racism and discrimination experienced by Native Americans, in this episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show from 1992
Click to watch the episode 

This is just a very small selection of the many Indigenous-led campaigns, groups and individuals who have spoken out against Native-style imagery, logos, mascots and other branding. Please search Google and YouTube for more.