|Will the Drum and Feather disappear?|
The time was 1970. Stanford University, which had been using the imagery of a Native American as its mascot since 1930, began to feel pressure from unhappy students and protestors claiming the logo was racially insensitive. Students on campus began a petition process to effect change and bring about a new mascot for the university. By 1972, Stanford made the change official and have since adopted the use of...you guessed it...a tree. I'll take Irony for 500, Alex.
University of North Dakota President Robert Kelley said just two weeks ago that his university, nicknamed The Fighting Sioux, needed to move forward on a name change of its own. Racial sensitivities were again on the docket. Kelley argued that the change must be made "for the success of the university and the success of our student athletes." If you can tell me how exactly changing the mascot of a university will accomplish that, be my guest.
Florida State, Illinois, and a few other colleges around the country have been criticized for overtly racist logos and imagery. What about the Runnin' Utes of Utah? For those unaware, the Utes are a Native American tribe located in Utah and surrounding areas. The Native American imagery around the Utah campus has waned over the years. Swoop, a hawk, is now the school's official mascot. Are bigger changes on the horizon?
Will the Utes go the way of Stanford and North Dakota before them? As the newest member of the liberal-leaning Pac-12, one can certainly see the path to Ute disavowal. There is good new for fans of the "Ute" nickname, however. Like Florida State before them, who have the support of the local Seminole tribe in regards to the nickname, the Ute tribe supports the name usage as well.
How will the future unfold? Do you see a time when the Utah disavows its association with the nickname "Utes?" Would you welcome the change?