For decades, Indigenous peoples across the U.S. have been saying what peer-reviewed studies have confirmed: Indigenous mascots and team names are a detriment to the mental health of Indigenous youth. The Kansas City Chiefs (KC), who face the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday for the NFL Super Bowl LVII title, are no exception to this reality.
This Super Bowl Sunday, Indigenous peoples in the U.S. are again calling for the Chiefs to act on the growing body of public health literature around the harmful impacts of racialized mascots and team names.
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In 2005, the American Psychological Association recommended “the immediate retirement of all American Indian mascots, symbols, images, and personalities” used by sports teams. This has been a long battle, as EchoHawk also led the Reclaiming Native Truth Project more than a decade later in 2018, which found “Native mascots damaging to Native youth, negatively impacting feelings of community and self-worth.”
These findings were also supported by a landmark study led by Dr. Stephanie Fryberg from the University of Michigan, which found “Native mascots lead to lowered self-esteem and self-worth, and increased rates of depression, self-harm, and violence against Native youth.”