The following is an open letter (slightly modified) addressed to the United Nations. I am introducing the matter of American Indian mascot, logo, and name removal from American college and university athletic teams. This practice is in fact more than “virtual” genocide or “virtual” ethnic cleansing. According to the 1948 UN Convention Mandate, it is genocide.
I respectfully present the matter of American Indian genocide (not past, but present) before your august reserves of experience and wisdom. I am an enrolled member of the Comanche Nation, an American Indian tribe, with a long family history known from the 19th century. I do not hold office in the Comanche Nation, nor do I profess to speak for the Comanche Nation. I do, however, believe that the matter of American Indian genocide is a living concern for all Indians, and I present before you the case in the matter of the systematic eradication of American Indian (“Native American”) mascots, monikers, logos, and names from American public view, and the prevention of their use by American colleges, universities, and some professional athletic corporations.
Francis M. Deng, Special Advisor
According to the Mandate of the 1948 UN Convention, 260 (III), Articles I, II, and III, (pp.174, 175), the modern established practice of removing Indian images from public view, so as to eradicate their memory and visual presence, constitutes genocide. I especially call your attention to Article II (b):
“…Genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group, such as; …(b) causing serious mental harm to members of the group.”
Parties sharing responsibility for this aspect of genocide against American Indians are: The United States Commission on Civil Rights (as of 2001), The National Collegiate Athletic Association, and numerous individuals whose profession has involved active campaigning for the removal of American Indian images from public view. This effort of eradication has been systematic, and has continued for at least four decades.
American Indians, as a race, a people, or as individual nations, have never assented to this visual genocide. There have been only two professional surveys of American Indians, and both of which suggest that 90% of American Indians are opposed to the eradication of Indian images, monikers, and names used in the athletic field, amateur or professional: Peter Harris (2002), and Annenberg Foundation (2004).
I submit to you that such eradication of the Indian images, images that were essentially earned with the historical blood of American Indian warriors, is a devastating humiliation to the self-esteem of modern American Indians. It debilitates the potential social relations between Indians and non-Indian Americans, and severely cripples the identity of the modern American Indian. The removal of the images is vicious identity destruction, robbing the Indian of his history, his honor, and the whole reason he has retained United States government treaty provision and Indian sovereignty.
Thus, the removal of Indian images represents a genocidal effort, and therefore must be considered by the United Nations. I am prepared to pursue this matter with you, providing documents and data verifying my claims.
I realize that presently the OSAPG is occupied with literal blood slaughter of peoples in different parts of the world. However, it is abundantly clear that the 1948 Convention and Mandate on Genocide includes more than physical destruction itself under the definition of “genocide.” I would also point out that Ronald Reagan signed the Mandate in 1988. The United States must make the effort to comply with the provisions of the Mandate.
I humbly thank you for your timely consideration.
Dr. David A. Yeagley
The Bad Eagle Foundation
P.O. Box 75017
Oklahoma City, OK 73147