While Miami University’s mascot was officially changed to a RedHawk in 1997, the university as a whole has been proud of its history and readily mentions its current ties with the Miami Tribe.However, during the Homecoming football game, a student wore a Native American headdress in the stands and was asked by an usher to remove the headdress, which he initially did. Later, he put the headdress back on, and the usher then asked the student to leave the stadium.
The editorial board of The Miami Student feels that regardless of whether or not the usher’s actions reflect the sentiment of the school or not, this event brings to light a wider issue which must be openly discussed as a university community. The question should not be specifically about the student at the game (who has worn the headdress to multiple other games without issue), but rather the role in which the past title plays into Miami’s identity as a school. The editorial board wishes to note that the idea of being a Redskin is something in which many alumni take pride in and it is also an image that is readily exploited on the scoreboards across campus, where images of a Native American are prominently displayed. It seems disingenuous for any staff or member of the Miami community to disavow such a historical part of the Miami tradition when it is so blatantly exhibited elsewhere. The student in question was not exhibiting any disrespectful or inappropriate behavior in wearing the headdress, and the board feels that unless the school wishes to take a direct stand against any Redskin imagery, the usher had no right to ask the student to leave or even remove the headdress in the first place. The board feels that in light of this and other contentions about the “Scalp Song” at hockey games, there is a call for a larger discussion of how the past nickname and mascot should be approached, whether as an unfortunate memory to repress or as a cultural history to remember.