In Whose Honor?

By Hackman, Heather W. | Multicultural Education, Fall 2002 | Go to article overview
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In Whose Honor?


Hackman, Heather W., Multicultural Education


IN WHOSE HONOR?

ROSENSTEIN, JAY. 1997. Ho-Ho-KUS, NJ: NEW DAY FILMS. 46 MINUTES, COLOR, $195 (INSTITUTIONAL), $99 (COMMUNITY GROUPS / PUBLIC LIBRARIES).

What does it mean to honor someone? Who decides what is or is not an honor? How do issues of racism and ethnocentrism play out in this country's actions when "honoring" Native Americans? In Whose Honor addresses these questions in a powerful and compelling way by calling to our attention the racist practice of using Indigenous imagery for athletic team mascots.

Following the experience of Charlene Teters, a Native American woman attending the University of Illinois, In Whose Honor not only identifies the specious notion that Native American mascots "honor" First Peoples, but also helps viewers see how one can engage in anti-racist activism on local and national levels. By her own admission, Teters, a graduate art student, did not head to the University of Illinois to become an activist. She was moved to act, however, while attending a basketball game with her children and seeing for the first time how "Chief Illiniwek," the University's mascot, made a public mockery of sacred aspects of Native culture and traditions. Though she was threatened, ridiculed, and targeted on campus and in the community, Charlene persisted in her demand that the University drop Chief Illinewek as its mascot and in the process brought national attention to this very important issue.

In Whose Honor presents information via a compilation of interview segments with Teters, students, faculty, alumni, and trustees at the University combined with an excellent historical overview of the development of Chief Illiniwek as the University's mascot. The film extends our understanding of the issue of Native American mascots to the national sports scene and examines several professiolnal sports franchises in the United States, such as the Washington Redskins and Atlanta Braves.

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