Football players in Caldwell just wanna have fun, and part of that fun is doing tomahawk chops before the big game. That may or may not change, depending on whether Superintendent Daniel Gerardi gets his way. From the Star Ledger:

“The war chants, the tomahawk chop, are not respectful or responsible,” Gerardi said yesterday. “We don’t feel that’s appropriate.”

Gerardi added that school cheerleaders would no longer use “the reservation cheer,” which ends with the words, “Beat those tom-toms, boom, boom, boom.”

Parents in the high school booster club, known as the Gridiron Club, are starting a petition to have the decision rescinded, said Kim Sirvan, president of the club. Sirvan said besides disagreeing with the decision, parents and students are angry they weren’t consulted before the cheers and songs were taken away.

“Why wasn’t this brought to us as a town?” she asked. “Why wasn’t it brought to the kids?”

Some parents are so upset, she said, they have threatened to protest the decision by wearing Native American costumes to tomorrow’s home game against Montville and by playing the Florida State Seminoles’ theme music from the bleachers.

Now that might be worth a trip over to Caldwell. Meanwhile — what’s your take — is it harmless or harmful?

Liz George is the publisher of Montclair Local.

50 replies on “Pow Wow Tomorrow”

  1. Oooh, that’s a good idea. Protest an inconvenience to you with an action (wearing costumes) that is well-known to be offensive to Native Americans.

  2. I will be there banging the drums. The liberals who started PC are arguably the most insidious group in America. Who gave them the right to tell me what I should say, how I should refer to groups of people and what is appropriate? I am infuriated at the fascist tactics of PC puppets like Al Sharpton use the race card whenever they run out of ideas.
    Go Chiefs, scalp Montville.

  3. Hmmmm. I Can’t understand why this issue wasn’t brought to the kids or parents. They seem to be sensitive to the feelings of others.

  4. So, John L…you have no right to state what you’d like to be “called.” Isn’t it about respecting an individual or grou’s right to self-identify?
    I don’t like “PC” either, just because it makes it harder to sort out the bigots and jerks. But, I also believe in respecting an individual or group’s right to self-identify. If someone told me that something offended them, no matter how silly it might sound to me, I’d try to respect it and honor it.

  5. My kid was an indian princess last year for halloween – is this more or less offensive (or not offensive) than the geisha girl/arabian princess costumes?

  6. Butch, I totally agree with your below statement. I object to some self- appointed PC punks telling me what to say or how to say it. I absolutely respect a persons right to self identity. I don’t need someone else ‘preaching’ to me.
    “I also believe in respecting an individual or group’s right to self-identify. If someone told me that something offended them, no matter how silly it might sound to me, I’d try to respect it and honor it.”

  7. John L – unfortunately a lot of people DONT respect the right to self-identify, and instead belittle it, mock it, ignore it, etc. What would you do in those instances?

  8. grme – it might be. who knows. ask one! but i think the main way in which people often belittle an individual or group’s sensitivities is to start throwing out other examples as an attempt to prove their feelings are silly or insane. (The anti-gay people do that all of the time…”If we let gays marry, then why can’t you marry your dog, or your sister?). That’s not the issue at hand, so why go there?
    We’re also not talkign about Halloween, but rather an ongoing year-round ordeal.

  9. Some mature parents there in Caldwell. I’m gonna dress in drag, get a bullhorn and sing show tunes to support them. Free expression, right?

  10. Hooooooooo-ohhhh-hooooooooo
    Ask the Seminole Nation in BOTH Florida and Kansas who wrote to the NCAA about overtunring their decision to ban Chief Osceola from riding into Doak Campbell on his painted horse with spear ablaze what they think of “political correctness!” Ask these tribes about their heritage when they set up casinos and sell tobacco tax free what they think about political correctness.

  11. Where are the Knights of Hibernius protesting the Fighting Irish references?
    I assume Tulane will change it’s name from the Green Wave to something else in efforts to rid Cajuns from remmebering Katrina. Yeah that may work.

  12. “John L. you might want pack some syphillis under the shoulder pads while your at it.”
    Not sure what that means, but the PBS series “Secrets of the Dead” had a fascinating episode where the discovery of a syphillitic skeleton in Europe that was older than the era of Columbus spurred researchers to take a look at the validity of the new world-to-old journey of syphillis. Their conclusion was that the virus (bacteria?) had existed in a mild form in all parts of the world for ages, and that it was changes in hygiene and clothing styles that caused the European / old world form of syphillus to mutate into something more lethal.

  13. From Letterman in 1997:
    Top Ten Least Popular College Football Team Nicknames
    10. The Fighting Oprahs
    9. The Fumble Bunnies
    8. The Really, Really Wide Loads
    7. The Nittany Poodles
    6. The Trouser Pilots
    5. The Career-Ending Knee Injuries
    4. The Drunken Swedes
    3. The Gorgeous Ladies of Football
    2. The Draft-Dodging Pot-Smoking Pants-Dropping Presidents
    1. The Philbins

  14. James Caldwell was called “The Rebel Priest” and “The High Priest of the Rebellion” by the British. Therefore, we could call the team “The Rebels.” That wouldn’t offend anyone, would it? What? You think it might? Some kind of Civil War reference? Hmmmm. Okay, how about we call them the “High Priests?” What’s that? A drug reference? A violation of the separation of church and state? Well, Caldwell was previously called Elizabeth Town. We could name the team the “Bouncing Betties.” (Even I am not going to go there.)
    I think that team nicknames that are clearly offensive – but that have been around many years longer than political correctness has been an armchair sport – should be phased out by the people who answer to the nickname: the student athletes themselves. And they really don’t need much adult supervision.
    (I used to love to watch Jane Fonda burn when the Atlanta Braves fans did the Tomahawk chop…)

  15. grme said: “Is it offensive to witches when trick-or-treaters dress up as such?”
    Yes…I swat them with my broom. No wait…I’m a bitch…not a witch. 🙂
    Seriously, I’m a ’75 graduate of Passaic HS and Passaic’s mascot is an indian. I have such fond memories of wearing my hair in braids and drawing lines on my face to resemble “war paint”. We all did it! And the pom-pom girls wore feathers in their headbands.
    This PC crap makes me sick. It wasn’t then (nor is it now) an attempt to make fun of or belittle anyone. We were proud to be Indians! Righteous indignation? Phooey!

  16. Mr. C – I think at home. I’ll be on the mojo wire with my daughter in San Diego who seriously inherited the Red Sox gene.
    I honestly think that winning the series last year kind of ruined if for us. Now it’s almost like we have to perform. That is s-o-o-o not Boston.
    Anyway, I am going to dig down in the basement and see if I can find my Bucky F. Dent Voodoo Doll, if it comes down to Monday. Enjoy the game

  17. “The liberals who started PC are arguably the most insidious group in America.” – John L.
    John L, can you possibly paint non-republicans in a darker way. You just insulted most of Bloomfield, Glen Ridge, and Montclair. Ease up on the smear. Stand down.
    and “Liberals” did not start PC. Political Correctness has been here even before we became a country. The founding fathers are even guilty of it.

  18. Let me tell you Conan, more than last year I want the Sox to win it because I want Big Papi to take home the MVP so we can shut 1050 ESPN’s sycophantic Max Kellerman the hell up.
    I’ll be at Fume in Montclair, having a Padron.

  19. Surrounded…sometimes it’s not necessarily our “intentions” that are wrong, but just the results. Very often politicians craft policies that have no ill intent, but the results of such policies end up being discriminatory towards minorities, poor people, etc.
    And, Mike is right…PC isnt something that’s only liberal, nor American, nor political.

  20. L026,
    I admit my use of the word ‘insidious’ was out of line and you as well as anyone who is the source of my rage,should know that none of this is personal.
    This post is from another subject discussion on the board…and although it is wonderfully sarcastic, if someone said this seriously they’d be run out of town.
    Due to the fear of the PC police, our beautiful ethnic tapestry has been sewn into a boring plain sheet.
    “Dear Editista,
    I just read in the Barista that there is an Irish bar in Montclair? What is happening to the Montclair I knew? First Irish nights, then Irish bars and next thing you know, there are drunken Irish (is there any other kind?) living next door to you.
    Where are the standards Montclair is founded on? An Irish bar: The thought is totally distasteful.
    God have mercy on us all.”
    Milo O’Gwalthny
    Posted by: MiloG | Sep 30, 2005 2:28:15 PM

  21. MyManMisterC… just a note of clarification.
    Cajuns live in SOUTHWEST Louisiana, not SOUTHEAST Lousiana, aka New Orleans. You may be thinking Creole, which is an amalmagation (did I spell that right?) of French, Spanish and free people of color… the residents of New Orleans before the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.

  22. “Ask these tribes about their heritage when they set up casinos and sell tobacco tax free what they think about political correctness.”
    Do you know the history of the country in which you live? Are you aware of the genocide that occurred here not so long ago? We slaughtered these people to take their land; we marched them, many dying along the way, to concentration camps. As Americans we turn a blind eye, pretend it didn’t happen. Many don’t realize that our government’s history of dealing with indigenous people is appalling, giving birth to the term ‘flip-flopping’. People bitch and moan about taxes and casinos; you wonder about heritage and culture, we destroyed it.
    I don’t mean to single you out, but it makes me furious how we ignore this.

  23. I lived in Baristaville many years ago and have now relocated to Arizona. I would invite the dedicated bloggers here to take a drive through the Navajo Nation in northeastern Arizona. I think every Navajo high school has some sort of Indian/Native American name as its mascot. One even calls itself “The Redskins.” That was a surprise to this usually PC dude.
    Word from “the res” (in Northern AZ anyway) is that the people who complain about the Native American names as team mascots are in the very small minority.
    I mean if a Navajo high school calls itself “The Redskins” then the points made by lasermike and MMMr.C seem to have been answered

  24. Having visited pueblos in NM and the Navajo reservation in AZ, I found it interesting that these people use the term ‘Indian’ as opposed to ‘Native American’ to describe themselves. Maybe we white liberal Americans need to check with the people we are trying to protect before we assign ‘politically correct’ names to them.

  25. In the 60’s NASA was testing moon suits on an indian reservation in the badlands of Arizona. An old Navajo approached the NASA group and asked what was going on. When he was told that these men were going to the moon, he asked if he could send a message to the people on the moon. Playing along, the NASA manager said okay and the Navajo wrote a message in his native language and gave it to the manager. Later, the manager decided to have it translated, but every Navajo speaker he gave it to cracked up and refused to translate it. Finally one did. The message said: “Watch these guys, they’ll steal your land.”
    (Johnny Carson so far back ago I can’t remember when.)

  26. I’ts a fine line indeed that runs between freedom of expression and being ‘politically correct.’

  27. There is no line…freedom of speech should protect us from the ‘Nazi’ tactics of the PC police..

  28. According to the Star Ledger story, this whole thing started with complaints from parents to the school board, who “raised the issue” to Superintendent Gerardi, who then issued his edict.
    I suspect what has a lot of people ticked off is the autocratic way in which Gerardi did this. There was no vote by the board & apparently no disucssion. That would tick me off too, even though I agree that the war chants are offensive. But then I find football offensive too.
    Anyway,on this issue I think Conan has it right — “I think that team nicknames that are clearly offensive – but that have been around many years longer than political correctness has been an armchair sport – should be phased out by the people who answer to the nickname: the student athletes themselves. And they really don’t need much adult supervision.”
    As for the Native American folk, yes, our forefathers treated them pretty shabbily. But it’s no secret that the Native Americans ran the gamut from being peaceful & civilised to being incredibly brutal & vicious, & at times genocidal, to enemy tribes, depending on which group you are talking about at which point in time. Little different from any other people on this planet. We humans are an incredibly mixed lot & nothing is pure black or white.

  29. Bring back the “Washington Bullets” basketball team. You can’t offend a bullet.
    The Wizards are upset.

  30. it appears that it is a “hot button” issue-so it should be addressed-
    ironically when someone does try to do the right thing prior to a problem -basically there is someone else who gets ticked off
    BISMARCK, N.D. – The political give and take over an American Indian mascot may be more exciting this fall than what takes place on the gridiron of the University of North Dakota. American Indian organizations and individuals continue to oppose the use of an American Indian image that also involves derogatory logos and claim it is an offense to the culture and sensibilities of American Indians. Alumni and professional team owners fight back, usually with the argument that to use the image is to honor the American Indian.

  31. Just because one group of people doesn’t think something is ‘wrong or offensive’ doesn’t mean that it is, in fact, NOT offensive. Do not use “PC” or “liberal” as if they were bad words. Just get a grip on the concept of sterotyping groups and essentially belittling them. Obviously John L. and others like him have never ever had to face any form of prejudice or hints at racism or even overhear insensitive comments about “his” race of people.
    Be it that it happens or not to all groups, is not the issue. It should not happen at all. If it takes the Native American Group to focus the attention, then so be it.

  32. e.cordova,
    Growing up in the 60s, my friends would always stereotype me as the ‘harp’ or as the ‘drunken irishman’, I never took offense. It was how we made fun of each other and learned to live with our differences e and laugh at these idiotic stereotypes. We never thought to sue anyone or cry out as a victim. Lighten up and embrace America instead of trying to change it into some idyllic ‘liberal’ Eden.

  33. “the Seminole Tribe of Florida wishes to go on record that it has not opposed, and, in fact, supports the continued use of the name ‘Seminole.'”(note: by Florida State University)

    The resolution also invites FSU “to continue their relationship and collaborate on the development of logos and nicknames that all members of the Seminole Tribe of Florida and officials and students of Florida State University can be proud of.”
    Its a shame that the rest of the country is unable to use Indian symbols as a way to build bridges between people, instead of a way to divide us.

  34. frosty,
    A lot of things happened in the 60’s that were considered ‘ok’ and non-offensive- things we now take for granted as common freedoms and equalities. Certain words also used back then which should never be used.
    The term ‘drunken irishmen’ is NOT on the same level as true prejudice.

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