AAA Statement on Sports Team Mascot Names

Adopted by the AAA Executive Board
March 20, 2015


  • Anthropologists are committed to promoting and protecting the right of all peoples to the full realization of their humanity, that is, their capacity for culture, and rights to self-determination, and sovereignty;
  • The American Anthropological Association (AAA) is strongly concerned whenever human difference is made the basis for a denial of basic human rights;
  • The AAA denounces and is proactive in combating all forms of racism and racist ideologies, as expressed through the use of language, symbols, images, names, nicknames, logos, personalities, and mascots that perpetuate stereotypes;
  • American Indian mascots are vestiges of colonial suppression of American Indian self-determination and denial of American Indian personal and tribal sovereignty;
  • The continuing harm done to American Indians who are offended by demeaning and racist mascots must be acknowledged and viewed as the basis of determining what is a racist representation or depiction; It is inappropriate and unjust to base this evaluation on whether or not those who use these images view their behavior as racist or claim non-racist intentions.
  • The use of American Indian mascots undermines the ability of American Indian nations to represent their own experiences, cultural practices, and traditions in authentic and meaningful ways;
  • American Indian mascots perpetuate the use of disparaging racial slurs in public conversation and mainstream media;
  • Research has established that the continued use of American Indian sports mascots harms American Indian people in psychological, educational, and social ways;
  • The continued use of American Indian mascots in sport has been denounced by American Indian advocacy organizations, as well as academic, educational and civil rights organizations, including but not limited to: Association of American Indian Affairs, National Congress of American Indians, and National Indian Education Association, American
  • Psychological Association, North American Society for the Sociology of Sport, Modern Language Association, Linguistic Society of America, United States Commission on Civil
  • Rights, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and Southern Poverty Law Center

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT The American Anthropological Association calls for professional and college sport organizations to immediately denounce and abandon the use of American Indian nicknames, logos, and mascots, while respecting the right of individual tribes to decide how to protect and celebrate their respective cultural heritage.