NCAA demands Indian mascots be removed

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Dr. David A. Yeagley is pro-Chief and an American Indian. His great-great grandfather was a Comanche warrior.

When he heard the news that Dan Maloney performed his final dance as the Chief, Yeagley said he was disappointed.

“I felt it was a mistake – that the University had caved in,” he said. “It was weak, like somebody had given up.”

He also wrote an article about the retirement of the Chief, entitled “Another Indian Gone,” on his Web site. Yeagley resides in Oklahoma City, where he is a composer and freelance


He fully supports the use of American Indian mascots to represent athletic teams.

Richard Poe, one of Yeagley’s colleagues and a New York Times best-selling author, said Yeagley is one of the strongest, most influential voices on the American Indian mascot debate.

“For the first time, he has raised the question: Is it something Indians want or whether white liberals are just using them as pawns,” Poe said.

Yeagley said he had no objection to Maloney’s halftime performances. He encourages the practice.

“It’s not the rendition of an authentic war dance, it’s not intended to be that,” Yeagley said. “It’s a gesture of the pride and the strength of the Indian warrior image. It celebrates power, rigor, vigor – the power of bravery and courage. Indians share the honor of representing that.”

He said he blames the University administration for giving in to the NCAA demands.

“It’s the administration that doesn’t want to deal with the issue,” he said. “If they really cared, they would uphold the Indian warrior image,”Yeagley said.

He also said that NCAA has no authority to control school mascots. He researched the origins of the NCAA and found no information about the organization that merited official authority.

“Athletics has nothing to do with politics,” he said. “The NCAA is making it into a political showdown.”

Yeagley said that mascots preserve the presence of American Indians in American society and serve as a visual reminder of their place in American history.

“Indians earned it with blood,” Yeagley said. “Only a racist would want to remove the honor American Indians hold in history.”

Yeagley refers to the removal of American Indian mascots as “Indian Removal II.”

He said that removing American Indian mascots is a continuation of Andrew Jackson’s Indian Removal Act, the program that relocated American Indians on the East Coast to Oklahoma.

“I call it an ethnic cleansing,” he said. “It’s racist. It’s a virtual holocaust.”

As one of Young America’s Foundation’s speakers, Yeagley has spoken about his support for American Indian mascots at various universities like Pennsylvania State University and the University of Mexico City.

He will be speaking at Florida State University, represented by the Seminoles, April 4.

“I am trying to create a positive view of America from an Indian point of view,” Yeagley said.

“I’m trying to create a re-interpretation of America that allows American Indians to be proud of America and love America rather than taking the protester’s stance established in the early ’70s,” he said.

At the University of Mexico City, he happened to meet Charlene Teters, the Spokane Indian activist who originally established the protest against the Chief at the University in 1988.

“I am not her favorite person,” Yeagley said.

He also said that he recognizes his view may not be shared by other American Indians.

“I get called a racist often because I want to see that Indian image preserved,” Yeagley said. “It’s all backwards. I’m a person that loves the race and wants to preserve it in anyway possible.”

However, he said he might be too late as universities have been retiring their American Indian mascots.

“I want to speak on a campus where they have an Indian mascot,” Yeagley said. “I want to hit the target. I want to campaign where the battle is – if there’s a battle left.”