What I can’t figure out is what is so offensive about a Pioneer in a coonskin hat. This point hasn’t been articulated real well by the “offended” parties. From what I’ve gathered from other people, bloggers, and the student newspapers, is that the most offended are the people belonging to the Native Student Alliance (student organization for students of Native American descent, NSA). The story follows that Daniel Boone fought Native Americans and so he’s an evil heathen (slight exaggeration possible). This argument completely disregards the fact that Boone spent time living with a Shawnee tribe after being captured. He would eventually escape, fight some more, before eventually ending up in Missouri many years later. After settling in Missouri, the stories claim that he lived peacefully with the Shawnee who had been relocated there, some of the same people he battled against. This argument usually then gives way to the fact that pioneers in general killed Native Americans and stole their land. Yes, Manifest Destiny wasn’t the best of political policies our government has ever had but trying to change the name “Pioneers” is a bit hyperPC in my opinion. However, since they can’t go after the “Pioneer” nickname (the university’s marketing team would be up in arms since they have been pitching the “Pioneering Spirit” as part of the university’s brand), they go after the mascot. From talking to people, it is clear that it is not just the NSA but they were the ones protesting the video and have been well documented for voicing displeasure over a Pioneer mascot, so they usually receive the most amount of blame. So instead of taking issue with the mascot being a Native American (see Illinois, Syracuse, Florida State etc.) they are taking issue because the unofficial mascot is white guy (officially he has ambiguous skin tone but…) at campus that, let’s be honest, isn’t all that diverse. Like I said, a word that starts with a “C.”
I have two real problems with this whole ridiculous mess. One, a huge majority of students and alumni appear to be a favor of Boone yet the student government made their decision without even allowing a vote among students. So it would appear that democracy is dead here at DU. Secondly, isn’t there anything better you could be doing than fighting over a mascot and protesting a YouTube video? Why not focus this energy into making a difference in the world rather than hating on a mascot that you don’t pay for. Maybe I would understand more if they better articulated what is so offensive about the mascot rather than just going on about how Daniel Boone and the Pioneers were horrible people, when not all of them were bad. I don’t want to seem like I’m not being sensitive to a minority groups concern but I just haven’t seen their argument articulated beyond that. Also, this whole inclusivity/diversity argument is just… well I don’t buy it. You don’t see the folks up at Michigan State up in arms over Sparty. I don’t know, to me this all just seems like a tremendous waste of time and energy…on both sides. For the time being, it appears that the status quo has returned to campus but who knows how long this peace will last.
I guess my main point to all of this was that we all need to measure our priorities and weigh what is truly important and what is not. The potential for making a difference in the world that each one of us contains is enormous and when we come together that potential is multiplied. So consider volunteering somewhere or getting involved in a volunteer organization. It’s truly amazing what we can do when we all come together.
Anyways, it’s almost Spring! MLS season is starting, baseball will be back soon. Hockey and basketball (NBA) are hurtling toward the playoffs, and March Madness is right around the corner so get ready to make your brackets. I have a feeling this year’s tournament is going to be good (then again, when is it not good). Oh and we are now three weeks out from World Cup Qualifying soccer in Denver!! Have a great weekend everyone and thanks for reading!