Historian Jennifer Guiliano has a new book just out: Indian Spectacle: College Mascots and the Anxiety of Modern America. Scott Jaschik at Inside Higher Ed has a fascinating interview of Guiliano. Here’s an excerpt:
There are a couple of commonalities among the colleges that adopted mascots in the early and mid-20th century. First, all of these colleges were crafting these massive institution-building campaigns where they were competing with one another for students and sporting audiences. They built these incredible football stadiums and hosted massive events where they solicited donations and sponsorship in order to attract public interest and attention. Second, contrary to today’s understanding, the overwhelming majority of these colleges weren’t using information about the tribes who lived on their lands. Instead, they were drawing their knowledge from radio, newspapers and things like Wild West shows. They were also learning through organizations like the Boy Scouts of America and the YMCA, where the Indian identity young men were learning about was largely a Plains Indian identity that wasn’t representative of either the Sioux tribes nor the Indian communities they now claim to honor today.
You can find the entire interview here: Author discusses her new book on the role of Indian mascots of college teams | InsideHigherEd.