The largest Native American interest group began a new campaign this week aimed at fighting stereotypes and pushing back against the use of racist names and mascots for sports teams. The campaign comes from the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) in partnership with Change the Mascot, and it's encouraging Native Americans to post photos of themselves online using the hashtag "#ProudToBe" to raise a broader awareness of their presence. It's also encouraging non-Native supporters to post photos using the phrase "#ProudToBe standing with #NotYourMascot."
Though the removal of stereotyped sports mascots has been a goal of advocates for decades, the issue was recently put in the national spotlight as pressure mounted for the Washington Redskins to change their team name. While that hasn't happened yet, the NCAI appears to be trying to keep the momentum going. In an op-ed on CNN announcing the new campaign, Simon Moya-Smith reiterates that this isn't only focused on removing slurs like the "redskin," but also caricaturing stereotypes like the Braves. Senators Harry Reid (D-NV) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA), both of who have been vocal about seeing a change in the Redskins' name, have already joined in and had photos taken in support of the new campaign.