Jewish World Review
http://www.jewishworldreview.com | (UPI) The Seminole Tribe of Florida has once again told Florida State University it is welcome to use "Seminoles" as a nickname of its athletic teams.
Max Osceola, acting chief of the Indian tribe, said members of the tribe don't think it's a problem and are proud of the relationship.
"Members of the Seminole Tribe do not consider it derogatory, demeaning and insulting," Osceola said during a trip to the Florida Legislature in Tallahassee for Florida State University Day.
Osceola presented new Florida State President T.K. Wetherell with a brightly covered jacket.
Many American Indians oppose the practice by many athletic teams of using Indians for team names and mascots. The National Council of American Indians has opposed the practice for years but won't oppose the Seminoles.
"Our position in general is that the tribes have the prerogative to address the mascot issue any way they'd like," said Adam Bailey, a spokesman for the National Council of American Indians.
But he said Thursday the organization's position is that the use of the names and mascots is degrading, and it wants them to be eliminated.
"We don't presume to speak for every tribe or every Indian, but we consider the mascots offensive and would like it to end," Bailey said.
In addition to the nickname, Florida State Seminoles, there are other references to the Seminoles.
Before each football game, a man dressed as the original Chief Osceola from the days of the Indian Wars rides the horse Renegade onto the field and drives a flaming spear into the ground.
"We don't look at it as a mascot, we look at it as a representation of the Seminole Tribe," Osceola said. "They work with us in representing our heritage. This is our tribe, and the tribe that is represented needs to have final say and they need to respect that."
Wetherell said the university is "extremely proud" of the relationship with the Seminoles, who often appear at special events such as homecoming ceremonies.
"We believe in the sovereignty of the Seminole Tribe," Wetherell said.
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