Native Americans praise school board for keeping Chieftain name

Educate, not Eradicate,’ NAGA says – But don’t use the ‘M’ word

The Native American Guardian’s Association (NAGA) celebrates the contributions of Native Americans to American life – including the 2022 spaceflight of the first Native American woman astronaut, U.S. Marine Colonel Nicole Aunapu Mann.

By Guy Page

A Native American organization has a message for a Vermont school stewed in controversy about the use of Native American names and symbols in the name of ethnic sensitivity:

Photo credit

“Educate, not Eradicate.”

The Native American Guardian’s Association (NAGA), based in North Dakota, has congratulated the Green Mountain School Board for reinstating the Chieftain team name for Green Mountain High School in Chester.

NAGA wrote the school board to “congratulate you in reinstating the Chieftain name,” the May 22 letter states. 

Critics of the use of the Chieftain name and symbol, including the school board members who resigned over the reinstatement of the Chieftain name, say such use is a ‘cultural appropriation’ that dishonors native Americans. 

But NAGA sees nothing wrong in identifying schools with Native American names and symbols. Quite the opposite, in fact. 

“NAGA would like to help educate the community members on the numerous contributions and history of the Native American people your school was originally named for,” Dakota Sioux tribe member and NAGA President Eunice Davidson and Navajo tribe member and VP Crystal Tso wrote on behalf of the board of directors. 

“NAGA’s mission is to preserve and protect the cultural name and heritage from eradication in the community and history. Not divide. ‘Educate, not Eradicate,” Davidson and Tso wrote.

The NAGA website includes photos of Native Americans in ceremonial dress holding tribal and American flags at major sporting events, and a photo of the first Native American woman astronaut in space. 

Although NAGA approves the school-based use of Native American names and symbols for team names, etc., it takes exception to the term ‘mascot.’”

“The claim of equivalence between Native American iconic symbols and “mascot” is a ploy to trivialize our proud heritage. Isn’t it ironic that you use that term with our Native American imagery and iconic symbols?

“The ‘m word conjures up a furry Disney costumed individual which in no way is a respectful display of our culture and imagery. If we need to have a conversation on the Native American name or iconic symbols, let’s have that discussion:

  • Native warriors are honored for their bravery, skill and fighting spirit.
  • Native American tribes all use their imagery in similar manners (logos, branding, monikers).
  • They inspire pride like a family crest.
  • Being in the public eye is a positive reflection of our culture.
  • Native imagery is a badge of honor that 90% of Native Americans support.”

Categories: Education

7 replies »

  1. Congratulations to this group for realizing that cancelling references to native American tribes is doing them a dishonour.
    Too bad the Dolans in Cleveland did not realize this when they capitulated to the ” woke ” crowd and changed the Cleveland Indians to the Cleveland Guardians.

      • Thank you NAGA for your common sense and input. Likely to fall on deaf ears in this state for it dosen’t fit their agenda

  2. Hey Dick McCormick….looks like other ethnicities know more about their own cultures & what is “appropriate” than you and your buddies do in the VT legislature!!! Who would have guessed??? I mean, you know what’s best for everyone, correct?

    Pardon my Anglais, (I’m “appropriating there, as I’m not French) but you people are utter dummkopfs (more appropriating as I’m not Germanic either), nonetheless I AM highly accurate.

  3. Kathleen, Instead of a like on your comment, I think VDC should have thumbs up or down. I give yours 3 thumbs up!

  4. What about the traditional Celtic band, “The Chieftans”? Should they be forced to change their name?

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