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American Indians used as mascots



Stanford Alumnus Tom Grey recalls the battle which axed Chief Lightfoot:

"Indians should not be mascots, but neither should their primitive life.-- no iron, frequent starvation, frequently brutal tribal warfare= be so romanticized. However, they are not at all alone in "selective" memory of the past. I recall coming to Stanford in 1976, after the Indian was eliminated. I was told there had been a student vote (74? 75?) for a replacement, and the winner was NOT the Tree. It was the "Robber Barons". This WAS successfully vetoed by Alumni (and the Administration?). Personally, I quite liked it --but would have slightly preferred Griffin (a later potential choice), or even Winged Lion (like the two statues outside the athletic dressing room; which were confused with Griffin by some...).

The Tree was, and I believe is, the mascot of the Leland Stanford Jr. Marching Band; and an extremely fine Band mascot it is; but I don't like it so much as a sport mascot".

My comment: The expression "Robber Barons" to designate men like Stanford reflects a leftist view of history, which overlooks their tremendous achievements. Stanford has a deep debt of gratitude to its founder and should show it. Had critics and modern environmentalists prevailed, the transcontinental railroads would never have been built. The choice of words is important and insidious. Take "pristine", often used to describe the Alaska area where it is proposed to drill for oil. Environmentalists, who denounce the government for wanting to develop a "pristine area", have visions of something like the California redwood forests. In fact, it is a miserable area, and I respect those hardy enough to work there.

Ronald Hilton - 10/5/01


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