This abstract is summarized by IPR from the original journal article in Journal of Communication Inquiry

Raúl Tovares, Ph.D., critically examined an official document from the University of North Dakota (UND) which addressed its “Fighting Sioux” logo. The debates that have developed since the 1960s around the Fighting Sioux logo reflect the struggles of different groups to define the parameters of acceptable and unacceptable forms of communication.

Key Findings
·      Myths help us justify the status quo and create a sense of belonging among those who share these stories.
·      This article maintains that the myth about the Sioux logo is tied to the identity of the university and rooted in political, economic, and cultural developments.
·      The University of North Dakota must communicate its identity to the rest of the world and this identity must include some of the ideas, beliefs, and values of Native Americans.
o   This struggle demonstrates how Native Americans are both included as members of the university community and excluded at the same time.

Conclusion/Implications on Practice
How is communication used to exclude, or silence marginalized groups? Studies such as this one explores how social conditions are reflected in communication and analyze the relationship between derogatory terms and the social, political and economic conditions in society that had made these terms acceptable.

Future studies in the area of college sports and Native American mascots should examine the conditions in which these universities are operating under to use these names and symbols, and which conditions persuade them to change or keep these names and symbols. Findings of these future studies in conjunction with a thorough understanding of local Native American histories can be used to develop strategies for alternative forms of expression in college sports.

Location: You can purchase this study online here, or view its abstract for free.

Tovares, R. (2002). Mascot Matters: Race, History, and the University of North Dakota’s “Fighting Sioux” Logo. Journal of Communication Inquiry, 26(1), 76-94. doi:10.1177/0196859902026001006

Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
Follow on Twitter

Leave a Reply