fbpx
 

Dubbed the “happiest place on Earth,” Disney World would probably not rank high on Native Americans’ list of desirable places to vacation with their families after a video went viral this week of a Texas high school drill team marching down a Magic Kingdom street and chanting “scalp ‘em Indians, scalp ‘em.”

The Port Neches Grove High School’s drill team that goes by the name of “Indianettes” drew the ire of Native Americans on social media for the blatantly racist chant.

The drill team was there as part of Disney World’s program that allows visiting high schools to participate in daily performances that include parades.

Reportedly, Disney staff members instructed the drill team to remove Indian headdresses just prior to their participation in a parade.

“We are also shocked and disappointed at the ignorance and negligence of Disney World staff and executives who allowed Port Neches Grove High School to perform and chant hate speech at the park,” said Crystal Echo Hawk, executive director of IllumiNative, a Native-led nonprofit dedicated to battling the erasure, invisibility and toxic misconceptions of Native Americans. 

“Given that Disney staff requested the school cheerleaders not use their ‘headdresses’ it’s clear there was knowledge that the Native mascot was part of the school’s performance,” Echo Hawk said.

A spokesperson for Disney said on Friday that the entertainment company “regrets” the routine and claimed the performance was unexpected.

Located 95 miles east of Houston, Port Neches Grove Independent School District still uses “Indians” as its mascot name. This in spite of the fact that only 0.2 percent of the school’s student population is Native American.

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin, Jr., who in August 2020 called on the high school to drop the Indian name, tweeted on the Cherokee Nation’s Twitter account,  "Port Neches Grove Independent School District continues to use offensive and stereotypical depictions of our tribe," and that their recent performance is a clear example. 

Chief Hoskins Statement

IllumiNative says Native mascots are harmful and offensive to Native peoples and especially for Native youth who attend these public schools. Studies by a variety of organizations including the American Psychological Association have denounced the use of Native mascots because of the harmful impact on the mental, physical, and emotional health of Native youth. 

“By giving them a platform, Disney has validated and amplified their message of racism and hate,” Echo Hawk said.

More Stories Like This

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland Visits the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site
History Was Made as Nicole Aunapu Mann Became the First Native American Woman Launched into Space
Tribal Business News Round Up: Oct. 4
Hurricane Ian Slams Southwest Florida, But Mostly Spares Reservations
Department of the Interior Announces South Dakota Third Stop on Road to Healing Tour

Do you appreciate a Native perspective on the news? 

For the past decade-plus, we’ve covered the important Indigenous stories that are often overlooked by other media. From the protests at Standing Rock and the toppling of colonizer statues during the racial equity protests, to the ongoing epidemic of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women (MMIW) and the past-due reckoning related to assimilation, cultural genocide and Indian Boarding Schools, we have been there to provide a Native perspective and elevate Native voices.

Our news is free for everyone to read, but it is not free to produce. That’s why we’re asking you to make a donation this month to help support our efforts. Any contribution — big or small — helps us remain a force for change in Indian Country and continue telling the stories that are so often ignored, erased or overlooked.  Most often, our donors make a one-time gift of $20 or more, while many choose to make a recurring monthly donation of $5 or $10.  Whatever you can do, it helps fund our Indigenous-led newsroom and our ability to cover Native news. 

Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you. 

About The Author
Native News Online Staff
Author: Native News Online StaffEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Native News Online is one of the most-read publications covering Indian Country and the news that matters to American Indians, Alaska Natives and other Indigenous people. Reach out to us at [email protected]