Oklahoma State Fans Hold ‘Trail of Tears’ Banner for College GameDay

 Image source: Deadspin.com

Image source: Deadspin.com

 

 

A group of Oklahoma State University football fans have sparked outrage for a sign they created to hold during ESPN’s GameDay football-preview show.

The Oklahoma State Cowboys play the Florida State Seminoles tonight in a game in Arlington, Texas. The fans in question evidently felt that referencing a historical tragedy would be a clever play on the Seminoles’ name, and created a banner that said “Send ‘Em Home #trail_of_tears #gopokes“.

Influential sports blog Deadspin.com called it “one of the dumbest GameDay signs you’ll ever see.”

The sign is concerning on a few levels. The Trail of Tears refers to the consequence of the Indian Removal Act of 1830: The forced relocation of American Indians from the southeastern United States to Indian Territory, a region which would later be known as Oklahoma. Between 1830 and 1837, some 46,000 Indians were removed, and many thousands died on the journey west. It’s odd, to put it mildly, that Oklahoma State football fans in particular could create a sign (and it’s not a small sign) that so casually treated a tragedy that is an integral part of their own state’s history. According to 2010 statistics, Oklahoma State graduated the most Native American students of any college in the country, and its student body was 9.2% American Indian or Alaska Native.

RELATED: ESPN Announcer Apologizes for “Trail of Tears” Comment

There’s also something ignorant about a sign that references the Trail of Tears and also says “Send ‘Em Home.” The Trail of Tears wasn’t about sending anybody home — it was about driving Native people from their homes. And in a larger sense, the entire continent was Natives’ “home” until certain uninvited guests showed up, beginning in 1492.

Today is the Cherokee National Holiday; when contacted for comment, Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker said that the sign was “not going to ruin our holiday. … We’re trying to at least educate our state and other states as well so they truly understand, and we’ve got more work to do.”

From the official @okstate twitter feed, the university addressed the issue with the following statement: “OSU does not condone the insensitive sign shown at today’s GameDay event and have requested that it be removed.”

The general reaction on Twitter has been one of outrage and disappointment, from Natives and non-Natives alike. Mark Charles, Navajo, who tweets as @WirelessHogan, summed up his feelings with the following graphic:

 

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Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/08/30/oklahoma-state-fans-hold-trail-tears-banner-college-gameday-156681

Trail of Tears Is Used to Sell Bid to Bring 2024 Olympics to Tulsa

Source: Indian Country Today Media Network

Tulsa2024, a private Olympic Exploratory Committee seeking to bring the 2024 Summer Olympic Games to Tulsa, Oklahoma, is using the Trail of Tears as a selling point. According to the Tulsa2024 website: “Over half of the States in the USA are of Native American origin. The Olympic Torch would travel though these Native American named states and follow one, or more of the many Trail of Tears to Indian Territory, and end in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, headquarters of the Cherokee Nation. The Olympic Torch would then travel from Tahlequah, OK to Tulsa to the start of the 2024 Games.”

As ICTMN reported in April, the city of Tulsa was indeed exploring a longshot bid to land the 2024 Games, with the support of Mayor Dewey Bartlett. But the ongoing effort, Tulsa2024, is entirely a private effort, according to city officials. The Tulsa Sports Commission has scheduled a press conference today to discuss the issue.

As Travis Waldron of ThinkProgess observes, the most absurd part of the Tulsa Olympic bid “amazingly isn’t the bid itself — it’s that organizers apparently think incorporating the Trail of Tears on the Olympic torch route as a ‘nod to the state’s American Indian history’ is a good idea

In a feature story on Tulsa’s Olympic bid efforts by Mary Pilon for The New York Times, published June 30, reference was made to the Trail of Tears idea: “In a nod to the state’s American Indian history, the Olympic torch would be led along the solemn Trail of Tears, not far from where field hockey would be played in Tahlequah.”

“Using the Trail of Tears as part of an Olympic bid is outrageous, but it’s also just an extension of the thoughtlessness the sports world has applied to Native Americans for decades,” says Waldron.

 

Read more at https://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2013/07/02/trail-tears-used-sell-bid-bring-2024-olympics-tulsa-150245