Where Native Americans live and where they're referenced

Taking a bold stance against “hostile and abusive” imagery in 2005, the NCAA voted to ban all such nicknames and mascots from postseason activities.

The decision by the supreme ruling body of collegiate sports prompted dozens of schools to alter logos, mascots and nicknames that were viewed as disparaging to Native American culture.

Today, few Native American nicknames remain in collegiate athletics.

High school sports, though, are another story. According to one study a couple of years ago, there are about 2,000 Native American-inspired mascots in high schools across the country.

And now, at a time of heightened sensitivity about potentially offensive symbols, the use of a headdress at Linganore High School is the focus of dueling petitions over whether it should be banned.

At Linganore, the “chief” of the “student tribe” wears the headdress to promote school spirit. It’s a common sight at school events and games. To many, this is a tradition worth preserving. To others, it is offensive.

But to Juan Boston, it’s simply disrespectful.

Boston, vice chairman of the board of directors at the Baltimore American Indian Center, is 58 years old. In his life, he has received two feathers.

“One was placed in my backyard at my feet by the Creator, and the other was given to me by a co-worker who said he has been watching what I do for the Native American community and gave it to me to show his appreciation,” Boston said. “When you see some people wearing one jumping around like a monkey, yelling like an idiot, it is disrespectful to our culture.”

Maybe it’s that Boston doesn’t understand the Linganore tradition. But what’s more likely is that those fighting to keep the headdress don’t understand his.

“To earn that headdress, you are talking about someone with a lifetime of contributing and battling for the community,” he said. “It’s like if someone were to wear an army general’s uniform and parade around jumping and yelling making a mockery of it. The outcry would be incredible.”

The Linganore principal has banned the wearing of the headdress. Some students and alumni have started a petition to keep it.

We think the principal got it right. Sure, we’re sympathetic to the people who are frustrated when traditions they see as fun and harmless are questioned. These days, it sometimes seems like everything you do is going to offend someone.

But once you know that something is disrespectful, why would you keep it? Is it really that important that you would be willing to disrespect another culture?

Not all traditions should be maintained, particularly those that disparage, degrade and harm. If Native Americans do not support the way the school uses their culture, then it’s time for Linganore to create a new era of school spirit.

Stanford University, once nicknamed the Indians, went through a yearslong battle about tradition before settling on the Cardinal — the color, not the bird — as its new name. While that debate raged, and while the university was without a mascot, the band began showing up to games with a mascot tree. That tree is now part of the tradition of Stanford University — an icon for the school created from the ashes of an offensive name.

For every tradition that ends, a new one begins. Students at Linganore High have a unique opportunity to begin a new tradition, one that can last generations — and doesn’t disrespect an entire culture.

(52) comments

Quisling

You lost the argument when you decided to make up a story about Stanford University. Stanford didn't change their nickname to Cardinal because of the color. They are named after a tree. If you're going to wag your finger and lecture get your facts straight.

DickD

Well, Regina, I agree with you on the headdress. Good LTE, a lot of it more campaigning than about the headdress.

MD1756

Ban all mascots and names. If you look hard enough you will find no matter what it is someone will be offended. After all, the Baltimore Bullets became the Washington Wizards. It's a good thing for the Wizards we aren't in Salem in the 1600's. I wonder when the Buffalo Sabres will change their name? And maybe the Giants and Titans names are offensive to "little people" since the names are not all inclusive and do not promote diversity.

User1

Yea!! Let's get rid of ALL names and mascots! Don't want to violate anybody's "safe" space. What the heck are these people gonna do in the real world? Let's get back to naming things PS1, PS2, etc. but that may offend people with play stations! Let's then SELL the names to the highest bidders like NYMEO Field. Then we can be proud alumni of FEDEX H.S. or UPS elementary school #1. People gotta get a grip!!!

JMLCJC

[angry]I am offended by who's offended by it ! Now what are you gonna do about that ?
Its time to grow up, put on your big boy pants on and get a life. Your parent taught you to respect others toys and belongings, did you break them them cause you did not like them ? No you did not . Respect is the word. People respect nothing anymore.

sevenstones1000

How about you respect Native American culture and not prance around in an article of great meaning to them? Treat it like you would like other countries to treat the American flag. You think you can extend that courtesy to people who are not you?

User1

Hey Seven, I found a crow feather that the Creator dumped in my front yard. Does that make me a "Native American" like Juan Boston? Maybe my neighbors cat got him. Just because someone sits on the board of directors of something doesn't make him a grand PooBaa. Look at all the boards that president Trump sits on. Not too many people paying that much attention to him are they? All his article is is a personal statement. If you want to be serious about something then I find the Washington Redskins more offensive than a student wearing a headdress for tradition.

sevenstones1000

Are you Native American? If you are not, it doesn't matter what offends you about the use of Native American symbols or slurs. Shocking, isn't it?

tomlin3

In taking a different approach to this issue, let's examine the word "offensive." By definition, is the "offensive" use of the headdress meant as a display of hate, nastiness or intolerance? Is the offensive use meant to be unpleasant, nasty, distasteful, disgusting, odious, hateful, rude, impolite, provoking, provocative, aggressive, attacking or violent? Is it meant to assault or affront? I say these definitions of the word "offensive" meet NOT the criteria of what is intended in the use, wearing or representation of name or attire associated with Indian culture. On the contrary, the headdress represents and parallels the honor, strength and pride passed on by our native American heritage. Names and attire are ones chosen to be honored and admired for the beauty, strength and bravery they represent and are absolutely NOT used or displayed in the context of being considered as an insult, attack or affront to anyone or anything; nor especially to our native American history.

It is so important to put things in their true perspective. There are too many other really important issues that our schools, communities and country need to be focusing on and it's not the lovely Indian headdress that is displayed and worn as a symbol of the uplifting spirit of unity, honor, strength and bravery passed down from our native American heritage.

gorillagusto

You know, sometimes, even if you try to be respectful, you're going to miss the mark because you don't understand the other person well enough. Or your aims are different. Or you don't have enough context to avoid certain landmines.

Most grown-ups eventually come to understand that you occasionally need to apologize and make amends when others get offended...even if you didn't intend the offense or even completely understand it. If our kids learn this lesson now, they'll be better off because of it.

CRSmith88

Here's an idea....If the school continues to allow the headdresses...then embrace it. Embrace it by teaching the students about the Linganore tribe beyond "they used to live here...but now it's a suburb".

timothygaydos

liberals doing what they do best - confuse issues and avoid doing their jobs... improve the education system in the county and figure out a way to give quality education to the students instead of engaging political correctness... next week I am sure this person will weigh in on DACA and how this is a needed program... how is MS13 gang working out in MD now...

DickD

Don't worry, Tim, Trump will make a pact with the Democrats to take care of DACA.[lol]

Careydon

She does not have anything else to do? Stop worrying about a small number people and focus on teaching our children. STAY out of politics.

jwhamann

Are Tootsie Pops sold during games?

dremsberg

Why stop with the mascot? Aren't they being hypocritical by not chaging the name of the school as well? If this is the desire of the principal she should be consistent and thorough in her mission.

awteam2000

If you want to thorough, the Linganore tribesmen didn't wear headdress. But you knew that right?

DickD

Does this mean children cannot play cowboy and Indians anymore?

dremsberg

Would think so. Wouldn't want the yougins offending cowboys, Indians, gun control activists and countless others. I think that's in the constitution - the right to not be offended by anyone who does not believe or think as you do. Or so it appears a portion of our society believes that.

CRSmith88

Kids don't do that anymore because Roy Rogers and every actor in Bonanza are all dead.

jwhamann

I listen to the Cowsills today. Boy, do I feel guilty about singing along with them to Indian Lake. I didn't realize how racist that song is.....

awteam2000

Boy, I felt guilty about singing along with the Beatles.

Dwasserba

"Maybe it’s that Boston doesn’t understand the Linganore tradition." Well, why doesn't he wise up and get a grasp on high schools' rights to make caricatures out of any ethnic group they darn well please, any way they please?!

EZ2CY

Wow, the image of native Americans for sports teams is to depict bravery and strength not to shame or humiliate. Why else would they adopt the imagery, self-loathing? However, if it is offensive by all means abandon, take on the star and
stripes wear red, white, and blue to every game and sing the American Anthem...oh wait that is offensive too, dang it!!

which is how they want to see their school their community? Most people see bravery, warriors, fearlessness, in those symbols, not an enemy or victim. Once these symbols are taken away (and they will be) the native American and his nature of bravery and honor will also be lost for kids that do not have access to the cultural capital that others may have. Seeing such images peeks curiosity, which also encourages conversations.

awteam2000

"kemosabe" , I learned that word from watching the "Lone Ranger". The word means "bring you pleasure". As a kid I wouldn't have ever known the Native American language has to words, "Howgh"and " kemosabe". 🤷🏻‍♂️

DickD

EZ2CY, why don't we just sing; Maryland My Maryland. Might be able to adapt that for Linganore too.

KellyAlzan

This is idiotic. Let's focus on achieving academic success, not this nonsense.

kstr92

What a bunch of politically correct nonsense! This discussion, and the people who support banning harmless mascots in high schools, belongs in Montgomery County. I wish you liberal folk would just pack up and move to Blue states and counties. Be gone! You're not welcome here.

pretzel

Thank you, now I don't need to post[thumbup][thumbup]

Dwasserba

Nice.

duffy5x

That's funny...I feel the exact same way about bigots.

disneynut

[thumbup]

CRSmith88

If we moved, there wouldn't be enough qualified people here to teach.

DickD

People that speak and post hate should leave first![tongue_smile]

Justanothermick

?

Justanothermick

Here's a thought: why don't we just label all schools either bigots or non- bigots and let the kids go where they are comfortable, or more like where their parents are comfortable. Linganore would likely fall into the bigot category. Example: my asian son takes the field during a high school game at Linganore. as he walks on the field, the linganore team starts to chant USA, USA, USA (and it hammened more than once). This not only happened when he was a player, but as a student attending an athetic event there as a spectator supporting his school who was the opposing team. So at least the students and community are equal opportunity offenders. This is not an administration issue, it is a community issue. Time ot move out of the 19th century folks.

Jleftwich

I think the LHS administration and Mr. Boston might be over reacting. Mr. Boston says that one earns the headdress through a lifetime of contribution to the community and through battle.

I wonder why the headdress cannot be symbolic of the collective amount of contributions by the student body of LHS? Don't HS students have to amass community service hours in order to graduate? Aren't there students who contribute to community service in their off-hours, be it through church, or scouts, or other avenues? Further, while the Lancers are not exactly going to battle against rival tribes, they do "battle" on the gridiron, and have several state championship titles to show for it. Would all of this not warrant the use of a headdress?

Let's also not forget that the word "Linganore" is rooted in Native American history.

bosco

I'm offended by hijabs and burkas because the represent the subjugation of women and their relegation to second-class citizens.

awteam2000

Are they mascots of public schools? So your point....

bosco

My point would be that to ban one type of head gear because someone might find it offensive, then other types of headgear should be banned as well. I find the hijab and the burka offensive for the aformentioned reasons


While the Alt-Right and it's black-clad warriors are trying to impose their will on the rest of the country, one has to wonder what would happen if some real Native Americans showed up at a game with headdresses?

bosco

Make that the Alt-Left and it's black-clad warriors. The Alt-Right uses white-robed warriors. [sad]

awteam2000

And you're okay with black-clad warriors "mascots" in schools? Or hijab, or burkas, or klan garments? Wow 😳

DickD

bosco, what makes you think anyone would care?

awteam2000

Do you find nun's habit offensive?

awteam2000

How about Mennonite clothing or Amish clothing?

cctjr64

The County Council, BoE and Theresa Alban need to change the names of Gov Thomas Johnson High and Middle Schools since he was a slave owner and is probably offensive to the African American students that go there

awteam2000

Does Gov. TJ symbolize slavery? If so then yes.

flipy

The FNP Editor 'thinks he got it right' on this issue -- wrong --
The FNP seems to be losing on just about every issues - dating back the recent Presidential Election --

too bad -- Frederick County and Western Maryland is still conservative, regardless of the influx of liberals from MoCo, Takoma Park, and other closed minded areas of our State that continue with their failed liberal/progressive mantra --

awteam2000

Isn't Takoma Park in MoCo? So why the distinction?

DickD

aw, the answer is ignorance; not that you didn't know.

hayduke2

close-minded huh [lol]

pretzel

Thank you flipy

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