Heading into the high school basketball season, the Clarke High School girls’ team in Osceola, Iowa decided to create a poster depicting the players in headdresses and war paint, according to local station KCCI. None of the girls on the Clarke Indians team are Native American. Who thought this would be a good decision?
As you would expect, the school is getting massive backlash. Clarke Community Schools Superintendent Steve Seid said the poster was meant to be an expression of pride in the school’s Native American roots.
"Really out of total respect for not just the community, but the entire state in general with a Native American background," Seid said. "No negativity intended at all. Just respecting a rich culture."
Native Americans don’t see it that way. Vicky Apala-Cuevas of the Oglala Lakota tribe told KCCI the poster is “culturally insensitive” and painful to look at.
"Everything that I saw on the poster does not in any manner depict Native American women and that's the sad part," Apala-Cuevas said. "Our women are very beautiful and to be respected."
Parents of the players are defending the poster and saying it’s empowering. Seid said he is considering making changes to the poster.
You’re getting national press for how dumb the poster is, so here’s a suggestion: burn it and make something new that’s, you know, not super offensive. We’re talking about high school basketball here.
"The saddest part, the part that we feel is most overwhelming and overcoming, is that there's another generation depicting us in an offensive way," Apala-Cuevas said.
And that is the heart of the issue.
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