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The pervasiveness of media coverage of sports teams with American Indian names and imagery has arguably supported stereotypical beliefs of those referenced. Past research investigating opinions on sports teams using American Indian themes has been inconsistent in findings and drawn criticism for lacking valid samples of Native Americans. Through a survey of National Congress of American Indians leaders (n = 208) and random U.S. adults (n = 484), results reveal that Native Americans are more offended by sports teams employing American Indian imagery, as well as more supportive of change, than is the general public. Investigation of how demographic characteristics influenced perceptions show that although age and education level have little influence, political party affiliation does correlate with opinions, with those voting Democrat viewing the teams with American Indian names, logos, and mascots as most offensive and in need of change.
The authors are with the College of Mass Communications, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX 79409-3082.