With this season of gift giving practically behind us now as we're enjoying the vestiges of our abundance. The role of my blog site "Atrayo's Oracle" is to utilize my internal calling to alleviate suffering, be of practical service, and to bring joy to all. The role of my calling is that of an "Oracle Imagineer" combining my intuitive spiritual gifts with futuristic imaginative innovations as potential solutions to society. That has been the case since 2005 when this blog site launched followed by two self-published books in the spiritual wisdom tradition.
The reason why I make such a declaration is two-fold. One, we are all obligated to attempt to pursue our dreams by means of our internal calling from all we hold of a pure heart. Two, to admire the good in the world no matter how quaint to how sublime it may appear. Gratitude works both ways for the giver and the receiver and I am truly humbled by my soulful gifts.
Today's concept is about the recent dilemma Native American's as indigenous cultures in our great land. Are troubled by the alleged racism of collegiate to professional sports leagues using their likeness at their expense. My personal opinion is I see nothing offensive since whatever the sport in America. Depictions of Native Americans be it in Football for instance as the Washington "Red Skins". Is a display of the nobility and fighting spirit of a very proud people. You can call me naive and up to a point you may be right. However the "National Congress of American Indians (NCAI)" (Link) considers this plain racial mistreatment of Indigenous cultures. By sports teams be they football, basketball, baseball, ice hockey, soccer, etc.. Their request if not veiled demand is that such sports franchises change their team names to appease a greater sensibility. Although to do so wipes out in many ways the rich cultural heritage of these sports teams to a degree.
Back in June of 2012 the "University of North Dakota" changed their athletic program name. From "North Dakota Fighting Sioux" to the "University of North Dakota Athletic Program" due to the offense American Indians took to heart.
My concept comes down the middle giving merit to America's Indigenous Tribes and for the Sports Leagues themselves to a limited degree. For I do not have a dog in this race at all so I attempt to be impartial. Below is what follows as my concept to benefit both the Native Americans in economic investments to their future generations in education. Including infrastructure investments and cultural enrichment overall for the Indians and the ordinary American. The sports leagues would be best suited to attend a negotiated settlement out of self-interest in the least. For the Native Americans could easily go for a Legal Class Action Lawsuit Status as a consequence of not negotiating for a Grand Bargain.
Now to understand all sports leagues be they University to full Professional sports franchises have profited using Native American names, likeness, logos, and mascots. Consider the decades of such ill tolerated perceptions by Native Americans or in Canada's case "First Nations Culture". Where these sports leagues benefited in: stadium construction; athlete / coach, misc staff salaries; merchandising licensing deals; sponsorships; stadium ticket sales; etc... For those leagues using Native American Influences in promoting their sport teams overall for decades in many instances. Such profits goes northward beyond the millions of dollars historically to potentially billions of U.S. dollars.
My abstract concept would break down those sports teams in the past and present with Native Cultural namesakes. In the past sports teams like the "North Dakota University" that bite the bullet and changed their athletic department name. They won't necessarily get off the hook as a retrospective consequence. Besides those sports teams to date continuing their long standing traditions with Indigenous cultural namesakes and representations. So those of the Past would be lumped into one camp and those of the Present into another consolidated camp at the negotiating table.
Next this is what I propose understanding Institutions in America of highest learning. Such as Universities are constantly attempting to stretch their overall capital dollars as a means of internal growth. That those of the Past University campuses that changed their Native American namesake. Provide partial scholarships and in campus employment opportunities to Indigenous students within their region of the country. Those University campuses such as the "Florida State University Seminoles" that continue to use Tribal names and representations. To provide prospective Indigenous students full paid scholarships and on campus employment opportunities.
For the Professional Sports Leagues the picture is slightly different instead of paying out directly in a settlement worth whatever amount. That they provide Block Grants directly to the tribal partners by the stipulated regions such as those 12 sectors used by the "Bureau of Indian Affairs" (Link). Which is the Federal government department of the Interior of the country since 1824. Using such a national grid map of sorts for those past or present sport league teams utilized or are utilizing a Tribal namesake and representation. These block grants are to be used by each of the 12 regions to develop and maintain reservation infrastructure. Such as housing stock, water / sewer, electrical power grid, roadways, tribal governmental buildings, schools, etc.... Also the block grants can promote cultural enrichment programs of learning within the reservations.
Now you must be thinking why don't the affected sports teams just drop their Indigenous cultural identities and be done with it. Well they could, but I hope the National tribes holds their feet to the fire for their past usage of such cultural likeness. Which obligates them nonetheless at the negotiating table to come at a truce. So those sport teams instead of ripping out their own sports legacy in terms of history by changing their identity. Can enter into the Present camp and for as long as they use the namesake and representation of Native Americans. They get the blessing of their regional tribes to continue as they were whilst providing an economic investment boon to the tribes in perpetuity.
Also, those University campuses and Professional Sports Teams that are given the blessing to continue such a Native likeness. Will offer additional benefits versus those of the Past camp of a negotiated settlement. For instance before the start of every game after the National Anthem is sung. A tribal elder or shaman is invited to give a blessing to the game for all to hear. Be it in English or in their own Indigenous language so as to bless the home team and the fans in general. At the team owners expense offer free standard stadium seating with beverage (non-alcoholic) / meal vouchers to the local regional tribes to attend. Including providing a free shuttle service from tribal lands to and from the stadium. Discounted prices can be offered for higher value seating as well in the stadium for those Indians willing to purchase them. That during half-time Native American's of a particular regional tribe are invited to perform native dances and ceremonies for the stadium fans. As an employment opportunity for tribal members not unlike those utilized in the tourist hospitality industry. This can be included in International exhibition games held abroad as well. What this does is shows how very much alive are our combined native cultures in America. Where before they have been often neglected as out of sight and out of mind in predominant standing in America.
However this concept goes one step further which is to give an Up or Down Vote to each of the 12 Tribal Regional areas in America. All the officially recognized and those Indigenous unrecognized tribal people within a region that have been vouched for by their officially recognized brethren. Will be asked to assemble together under a conference to conduct a straight simple majority "Up or Down Vote". For those collegiate campuses and professional sports leagues to whether keep or remove their team franchise namesake, logos, likeness, and mascots. If the tribes within the region asked for it to become removed than the settlement falls under the Past category. If they're allowed with the full blessing of the regional tribes to keep their Native namesake and likeness. Then the sports leagues and their affected sports team owners enter into the Present category or class of agreed to settlement.
If the Native Americans and "First Nations Culture" in Canada feel unjustly treated by particular sports teams. Then please exercise your grievances in a responsible manner that supports your combined people. Since the practice of Black Minstrels in America was put to an end a long time ago. If each of the localized regional Tribal cultures feels so strongly than choose which direction you should go as a negotiated settlement. Don't let easily off the hook those sports teams that obliged your request to change their team names and likeness. Since they did profit from it for decades and your tribes should see a benefit from it as well economically speaking.
Now I wonder what the "Fighting Irish" of "Notre Dame University" would have to think of Ireland and Irish Americans. If such an Indigenous Cultures settlement like the one I describe above did occur?
*List of Indigenous People Sports Team Mascots (Link)
* NY Times Blog Article Washington Redskins Dispute (Link) Dated Oct. 8th, 2013.