The intent of this article is to show why the use of Native American mascots, logos, and nicknames by sports teams perpetuates depictions that are perceived as harmful and racist by Native Americans.
This article examines data from published research, personal correspondence, and essays by Native Americans so that non‐natives can understand the issue from the native perspective. It also calls into question previous communication efforts that may have limited the voices of Native Americans.
By examining the meaning of warriors and other cultural symbols for Native Americans and by exploring the different views of sports between natives and non‐natives, the article shows why it is unacceptable to ignore the native voice. It also demonstrates that it is possible for a sports team with a native identity to successfully change its brand image.
Marketers, consumers, owners of sports teams, universities, and members of outside organizations can be better informed as to why Native Americans have asked for an end to this practice. Marketers can also understand why the objections go far beyond political correctness and are part of a human rights issue.
The article helps stakeholders understand why privileging a revenue stream over the impact on human rights is an example of misplaced marketing.
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