CoverIntroduction and Table of Media Literacy Activities for Key Civics ConceptsDefining Critical Media Literacy1. Foundations of the United States Political SystemDemocracy in Social Media Policies and Community StandardsThe Internet as a Public Utility21st Century Women STEM InnovatorsMedia Coverage of the RoyalsRepresentations of Native Americans in Film, Local History Publications, and School Mascots2. The Development of United States GovernmentDeclarations of Independence on Social MediaMarketing and Regulating Self-Driving CarsRepresentations of and Racism Toward Black Americans in the MediaPolitical Debates Through Songs from Hamilton: An American MusicalBill of Rights on Twitter3. Institutions of United States GovernmentHollywood Movies About the Branches of GovernmentWriting an Impeachment Press ReleaseMembers of Congress' Use of Social MediaPolitical Impacts of Public Opinion PollsWebsite Design for New Political Parties4. The Rights and Responsibilities of CitizensImmigration in the NewsPortrayals of Immigrants in Television and FilmCOVID-19 Information EvaluationWomen Political Leaders in the MediaOnline Messaging by Advocacy Organizations and Special Interest GroupsDigital Games for Civic EngagementSocial Media and the ElectionsMedia Spin in the Coverage of Political DebatesCelebrities' Influence on PoliticsPolitical Activism Through Social MediaMedia Recruitment of Public Sector WorkersImages of Teachers and TeachingRepresenting Trans IdentitiesMedia Framing of the Events of January 6, 2021Music as Protest ArtPACs, Super PACs, and Unions in the Media5. The Constitution, Amendments and Supreme Court DecisionsProhibition in the MediaThe Equal Rights Amendment on Twitter and Other Social MediaCivil War News Stories and Recruitment AdvertisementsRepresentations of Gender and Race on CurrencyThe Equality Act on TwitterReading Supreme Court Dissents AloudTelevision Cameras in Courtrooms6. The Structure of State and Local GovernmentNative American Mascots and LogosA Constitution for the InternetMilitary Recruitment and the MediaYour Privacy on Social MediaPandemic Policy Information in the MediaGendered Language in Media Coverage of Women in PoliticsEnvironmental Campaigns Using Social MediaTrusted Messengers, the Media, and the PandemicOnline Campaigning for Political OfficeAdvertising the Lottery Online and In PrintLocal Governments, Social Media and Digital Democracy7. Freedom of the Press and News/Media LiteracyPress Freedom in the United States and the WorldObjectivity and the News from All SidesInvestigative Journalism and Social ChangeNews Photographs & Newspaper DesignHow Reporters' Report EventsRecommendation Algorithms on Social Media PlatformsFake News Investigation and EvaluationCritical Visual Analysis of Online and Print MediaMemes and TikToks as Political Cartoons

Native American Mascots and Logos

In 1933, the Washington Braves NFL football team changed their name to the Washington Redskins. In 2020, facing increasing public pressure over its racially-themed mascot and logo, the team is planning to change their name again and drop the use of "redskins." As a placeholder, they are called the Washington Football team.

What do you think their new team name should be?

How can their new name/image rectify their previous culturally insensitive history?

Does it matter that other professional sports teams have similar names (Kansas City Chiefs, Atlanta Braves) and high schools across the country still use Native American symbols and images?

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The Washington football team name is controlled by a private business. The issue of racially insensitive names for state and local governments remains a matter of open policy debate. By the end of 2020 and despite a number of name changes in response to the Black Lives Matter Movement, 26 communities in Massachusetts, the most in New England, still have a Native American mascot at their school.

A bill to prohibit the use of Native American Mascots in public schools has been introduced in the Massachusetts legislature. Multiple states have laws or resolutions prohibiting or limiting Native American mascots in public schools: Maine, Oregon, California, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Washington, New York, New Hampshire, and Michigan (MA Indigenous Legislative Agenda).

There are efforts in other places to address how the names of places reflect the realities of local and state histories. In Minnesota, students, teachers, families, and community members led an effort to change the name of Alexander Ramsey Middle School (Ramsey was a territorial governor in the mid-19th century who forced Native Americans from their homelands) to Alan Page Middle School (Page is the first African American Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court and was a Hall of Fame football player for the Minnesota Vikings).

What steps do you think state and local governments might take to combat racial/cultural stereotypes and promote fully inclusive histories of indigenous peoples?

How might schools, streets, walkways, parks and other public places be named or renamed to honor those who accomplishments and achievements may be unrecognized or forgotten?

Activity 1: Analyze Native American Mascots and Logos

Activity 2: Design a New Logo Honoring Native Peoples' Influence on U.S. Government

Sinagua High School JROTC Insignia

Before it was closed in 2010, Sinagua High School in Flagstaff, Arizona were known as the Mustangs. The shoulder sleeve insignia for the school's Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC) featured a mustang in the center with a row of mountains in the background symbolizing the San Francisco Peaks - one of the state's highest landmarks and sacred ground to local indigenous people. In this way, the logo honored Native people along with the school's nickname.

SINAGUA_Seal
"Flagstaff Sinagua HSJROTCSSI" | Public Domain

Additional Resources

Connecting to the Standards

  • Massachusetts Civics & Government Standards
    • Compare and contrast the functions of state government and national government. (Massachusetts Curriculum Framework for History and Social Studies) [8.T6.1]
  • ISTE Standards
    • Knowledge Constructor
      • 3a: Students plan and employ effective research strategies to locate information and other resources for their intellectual or creative pursuits.
      • 3d: Students build knowledge by actively exploring real-world issues and problems, developing ideas and theories and pursuing answers and solutions.
    • Creative Communicator
      • 6a: Students choose the appropriate platforms and tools for meeting the desired objectives of their creation or communication.
      • 6b: Students create original works or responsibly repurpose or remix digital resources into new creations.
      • 6d: Students publish or present content that customizes the message and medium for the intended audiences.
  • DLCS Standards
    • Collaboration and Communication (DTC.b)
    • Research (DTC.c)
  • English Language Arts > History/Social Studies Common Core Standards
    • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.2
    • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.7
    • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.9-10.2
    • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.7