A Call for Religious Leaders to Demand Sonic Drive-in Educate Public about Native Mascots

Offensive message caused uproar among American Indians & others across Internet

Offensive message caused uproar among American Indians & others across Internet

BELTON, MISSOURI — The Native American community was shocked & angered by a racist sign, “KC Chiefs” Will Scalp the Redsk*ns Feed Them WhiEsky Send – 2 – Reservation displayed at a Sonic Drive-in in Belton, Missouri asked Sonic Corporation (NASDAQ: SONC) on December 12th to put up a sign with an apology and anti-Native Mascotry message as a show of goodwill during Sunday’s Redsk*ns game.  However, Sonic Corp refused to respond to the request and now, Native American parents call upon Religious leaders to urge Sonic Corp to do the right thing.  Particularly, the 61 religious leaders who, led by Rev. Graylan Hagler of Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ in Washington DC, signed a letter on  December 5th calling upon the Washington DC football team to change the Redsk*ns mascot calling it a racial slur that is offensive and inappropriate for a team in our nation’s capital.

In the letter they said, “As representatives of our faith communities, we believe that this is a moral issue and we therefore have an obligation to step forward to join the Change the Mascot movement.”

As a show of support, we ask these religious leaders to use their own signs at their churches, synagogues and mosques during the next Redsk*ns game on Sunday to educate the public about the harm that Native Mascots do–something Sonic Corp has not done.  We ask them to invite the press to take photos of their signs and send them to Sonic Corp and the Washington DC football team and the Kansas City Chiefs, as both team have failed to denounce the racism of the Sonic Drive-in sign.

We also invite the congregations of these churches to join us this Sunday as we file FCC Obscenity Complaints online during the Redsk*ns game when the R-word is spoken on air.

Our FB Event page is “File complaint when you hear R**skins on Radio/TV #FCCcomplaintRSKIN” and it can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/events/703645982980346/.  This past weekend we filed hundreds of complaints and will continue doing so through Super Bowl Sunday.

And so, although we appreciate the tweets and other statements made to the press by Sonic Corp executives of apology, we demand the company do something concrete to show that they do not share the views of their employee (who was not fired) at the Sonic Drive-in in Belton, Missouri.  And we call once again upon both teams (Washington Redsk*ns and the Kansas City Chiefs) featured in the racist sign to denounce the sign (they have not) and for the Washington DC team to stop using Native people as mascots.

It is our sincere hope that by doing these things a more positive message will be promoted about Native American people nationally and internationally and that Native Mascotry (the appropriation of Native people as mascots for sports entertainment purposes) will be discontinued by all teams in our nation, particularly by the team in our nation’s capital (the Washington Redsk*ns).

We had already asked on December 12th that Sonic Corp do the following and we now ask Religious leaders to set an example for the company by:

  • Posting a sign that promotes an anti-Native Mascotry message.  Such as: “Sonic recognizes the harm Native Mascotry causes and wish that the Redsk*ns refrain from using Native people as Mascots.”

On December 12th, we asked Sonic Corp, the Wyandotte Tribe and our fellow Americans the following question:

  • If Sonic Corporation and not one of the more than 3,500 restaurants across the country will make such a statement how can Native people patronize them? Even a tribally-owned one, such as the Sonic Drive-in owned by the Wyandotte tribe in Seneca, Missouri?  A lack of action implies agreement with the racist sign or at the very least, an unwillingness to come down on the side of what is right in a public way–as public as the racist signs were.

SONICAnd we also requested that:

  • Sonic Corporation create a PSA working with the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) and purchase ads educating the public about the harmful stereotypes Native Mascotry promotes.

Sonic Corp has said their brand name has been “trashed” by this racist sign.  These actions will restore the good relations Sonic Corporation has with all its patrons in the United States and be helpful in redirecting the national conversation about racism and the use of stereotypes in a positive way and help bring about the end of the use of Native people as mascots.

We would also like to thank the thousands of Americans who have expressed outrage over these signs.  We would particularly like to thank the Leadership Council on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition of 85 organizations include the NAACP and including the ACLU for passing a resolution calling for the Washington Redsk*ns owner Dan Snyder to drop the team’s offensive name and call upon them to help us as well.  As Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights said:

“This is not someone else’s problem, this is everyone’s problem. Having an offensive slur for the Washington team name teaches young people to celebrate the denigration of people for being who they are. That has a damaging psychic impact on individuals, as well as on the entire nation. Changing the name is the right thing do, regardless of how comfortable fans have become with it. And when Mr. Snyder does decide to put the slur away, I think he’ll discover a new market of consumers who recognize the dignity of all people and want to honor that with the sports teams they support.”

We hope that states like Wisconsin where Governor Walker has signed AB 297 into law, greatly reducing protections against the promotion of Native stereotypes to impressionable youth in their state, will come to realize the truth of Henderson’s words.

For more information on the harmful affects of the use of Native mascots please see the NCAI website at www.ncai.org.


Jacqueline Keeler (Navajo/Yankton Dakota Sioux)

Ethan Keller (www.ethankeller.com)

Eradicating Offensive Native Mascotry (EONM) – https://www.facebook.com/groups/eonaim/




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