Panel on Native American Imagery in North American Sports Causes Controversy

Native American Imagery in Sports
Native American Imagery in Sports

The Robert Zicklin Center for Corporate Integrity hosts a plethora of events which feature guest speakers from a variety of fields who convene to discuss contemporary national issues regarding corporate integrity.  According to its published program, the center’s “focuses of discussion include: transparency of corporate reporting, corporate governance, the examination of legal and ethical corporate behavior, the role of governmental behavior,” and many more subjects pertaining to ethics in the corporate/legal fields.  The events are held in the 151 East 25th Street building, adjacent to the Newman Vertical Library.

In the event “Native American Imagery in North American Sports: Fair or Foul?” moderated by Academic Director of the Zicklin Center for Corporate Integrity David Rosenberg, five speakers connected to the issue of Native American Imagery in North American Sports, voiced their opinions on the ethics of the exposition of the Native American culture in sports team names, logos, attire, and mascots.

Panelists M. Andre Billeaudeaux, Executive Director of the Native American Guardians Association and William Brotherton, Partner of Brotherton Law Firm, both supported the preservation of positive Native American imagery within the sports realm for academic acknowledgment. Billeaudeaux voiced the importance of “the strategic planning and outreach of education missions” to promote the positivism of the subject.  Brotherton emphasized the pride he has a Fighting Sioux, advocating for the commemoration of the tribe within the sports arena. The two argued that the representation of Native American imagery in sports media is to be celebrated; not taken offense toward.

In dispute, however, were the other panelists who rejected Native American imagery in sports media for its highly “negative appropriation.” Paul Lukas, columnist of ESPN.com, would only concede the right to Native American portrayal in media if approved by Native American tribe at the subject; however, he was reluctant to taken any side of the spectrum. Moya-Smith, Contributing Columnist of CNN, however, relayed the strongest argument against Native American “appropriation” in media.  As a member of the Ogala Lakota Nation, the only panelist with a direct connection to Native American lineage, Moya-Smith offered his complete opposition to the “oppression” and “dehumanization” that stirs from the sports affiliation.

The panel, which drew on issues of identity of Native American tribes within sports media, stirred up conflicting opinions which broadened horizons on the establishment of Native American society within the United States.  According to students, it was a “topic that is left overlooked” and needs to be addressed especially in today’s age.

 

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