The Association of Native Americans at Yale condemns the production and circulation of racist images of Native peoples used to commemorate the 100th football game between Dartmouth and Yale on October 8, 2016. The Yale-Dartmouth football game program degrades the Yale Native community, the Dartmouth Native community, and Native communities across Turtle Island.
The program features the former mascot of Dartmouth College, which is officially no longer in use due to the racist stereotypes it perpetuates. Studies show the damaging effects of such images on Native peoples and young people of all races. The promotion of racist mascots creates non-inclusive learning environments for Native students, compounds challenges in promoting accurate portrayals of Indigenous cultures and traditions, and perpetuates prejudice and discrimination against Native peoples.
We thank the Yale Athletics Department for their apology and look forward to working with them to prevent future circulation of blatantly racist images of Indigenous peoples. Although the Yale Athletic Department apologized for the program, Yale University continues to erase the contribution of Indigenous peoples. Yale College venerates John C. Calhoun, founder of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and refuses to recognize the Quinnipiac people’s ongoing relationship with the land on which the University resides. The Yale University Art Gallery erases contemporary Native artists and communities by displaying solely historical art. The Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History presents our art ethnographically alongside dinosaurs and fossils, refuses to remove sacred pieces from view, and fails to acknowledge contemporary communities. It is clear that Yale institutions do not prioritize the accurate representation of Indigenous peoples and our role in Yale’s history.
Tomorrow, ANAAY will celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day-- not Columbus Day. On this day, we commemorate the resilience and solidarity of Indigenous peoples. We call on Yale University to stand with its Indigenous students by officially recognizing the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day. In recognizing Indigenous’ Peoples Day, Yale University would acknowledge the continuing survivance of Indigenous peoples, and help prevent future instances of racism against Indigenous students on our campus.
Stand with us today against racist images of our people, stand with us tomorrow on Cross Campus, and stand with us every day against the erasure of Indigenous humanity.