If one ever gets a chance to pass by Doak Campbell on a Saturday morning, you’ll witness the flaming spear of Chief Osceola. The torch of the bronze statue illuminates the entire early morning sky. The sculpture is one that insinuates the undying will of a true Seminole. However, it also represents hypocrisy.
Though the NCAA has approved Florida State’s use of the Seminole as its’ collegiate mascot, it is evident that the university has no interest in progressing the Native American culture.
According to the Princeton Review and fsu.com, there is not a single course or organization that relates to the culture or history of Native Americans. In fact, there is no conclusive evidence that Native Americans within FSU’s “diverse” student body even exist.
What is perhaps more horrendous than the university’s disrespect for Native American customs is the ignorance of the student body. Every Saturday, students flood Doak Campbell Stadium equipped with indigenous paraphernalia, painted faces, Mohawks and plastic tomahawks.
Yet, most of Florida State fans don’t even have knowledge of what the definition of a Seminole is. The common consensus on the FSU campus is that the nickname was garnered from “Indian” warriors.
Here’s a history lesson. A Seminole is a Native American who fought to protect their land from being seized by the United States government. Chief Osceola led the Seminoles until he was tricked into discussing peace terms under a flag of truce. He’s probably turning in his grave seeing that an American institution decided to create a bronze sculpture in his remembrance.
While many remaining Seminoles reside in Oklahoma, the few in Florida have adamantly been against the adoption of their culture’s name.
There are plenty of Native American nicknames that exist within every level of competitive athletics. However, it still isn’t justifiable. Surely if a team decided to adopt a nickname of American culture the tables would certainly be turned.
If the Atlanta Braves changed their name to the Atlanta Crackers or the Washington Redskins altered their moniker to the Washington Honkies, there would be protests from Tallahassee, Florida to Eugene, Oregon.
If Florida State University is going to be allowed to use a nickname espoused from the original settlers of this country, than they must be forced to follow certain guidelines.