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Yale Athletics Apologizes for Racist Programs Featuring Native Americans

The Yale Athletics Department came under fire for racist programs distributed at the Yale Bowl on Saturday, Oct. 8. The event celebrated the 100th time Yale University and Dartmouth University football teams have played each other.

According to the Yale Daily News, the programs included a collage of eight program covers from previous football games. Darmouth’s former unofficial mascot, the Indians, is reportedly caricatured in various dehumanizing ways.

Mary Kathryn Nagle, executive director for the Yale Indigenous Performing Arts Program, tweeted a picture of the program on Saturday. She criticized the “dehumanizing images of redface.”

Yale students became outraged after a picture of the program was posted on the Overheard at Yale Facebook page Sunday afternoon, the Yale Daily News reports. One cover shows a bulldog, Yale’s mascot, chasing a Native American person up a tree. Another shows a Yale football team member lighting a Native American person on fire.

The Athletics Department apologized for the programs the following day. On Sunday, Oct. 9, the director of athletics, Thomas Beckett, issued an apology for the offensive images in a schoolwide email. According to the Yale Daily News, in apology to the Yale community, Beckett said, “Yale Athletics was sorry for the hurt the images may have caused individuals at Yale, particularly those from Native American communities.”

“The program cover is offensive,” Beckett reportedly told the Yale Daily News via email. He also said that while that was “clearly not our intent…We will continue to work with any and all members of the Yale Community to address this topic in any way possible.”

The Association of Native Americans at Yale (ANAAY) released a statement on Facebook saying the images create a racist and noninclusive learning environment at Yale.

“The program features the former mascot of Dartmouth College, which is officially no longer in use due to the racist stereotypes it perpetuates,” the statement says. “Studies show the damaging effects of such images on Native peoples and young people of all races. The promotion of racist mascots…compounds challenges in promoting accurate portrayals of Indigenous cultures and traditions and perpetuates prejudice and discrimination against Native peoples.”

Additionally, in the statement, ANAAY thanked Yale Athletics for its apology and said they look forward to working with the athletics department in the future in order to “prevent future circulation of blatantly racist images of Indigenous peoples.”

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