While traveling out west a few years back, we stopped in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In a big open square in the center of the city, there were daily sales of “Indian” wares.

I told one person that I loved Indian jewelry. He promptly chastised me, saying he was not an Indian but a Native American. I purchased a few items, thanked him and moved on.

This incident indicated to me that there is an understandable sensitivity among the Native American community.

Many decades ago, various sports teams were looking for symbols that professed their strength. I believe they settled on these names and symbols because no one can deny the extraordinary strength and bravery of Native Americans, who attempted to defend their lands that stretched from sea to sea from the invading Europeans.

My experience has taught me that there is a definite and justifiable sensitivity among Native Americans. I also, however, believe that these titles and symbols that represent sports teams are meant to demonstrate the incredible bravery of these people’s ancestors, not to demean them.

Dick Booth


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