Victory at last. The curse is lifted. The Chicago Cubs defeated the Cleveland Imposters in game seven of the World Series in what was perhaps one of the most exciting, stressful, and unpredictable games in MLB history. One of the high points of the game came when the retiring David Ross went out like a boss by scoring a solo home run that soared like the comet that foretold Tecumseh's birth. It was a reminder that the Cleveland Imposters, and their pathetic leader Wahoo, are foreign invaders illegally occupying the sovereign territory of the Shawnee Nation. They must leave it the shame. While many discuss the end of Chicago's curse, the greater curse is the curse of racism towards indigenous peoples that remains so prevalent in professional sports in the US.

The Curse of Sockalexis

The late American Indian Movement leader and Oceti Sakowin (Sioux Nation) patriot Russell Means cursed the Cleveland Imposters, saying they would make it to a World Series game seven and suffer a humiliating loss. Means placed the curse because of Cleveland's continuing misrepresentation of Native people through its team name and racist mascot Wahoo, as well as its mistreatment of Native ball player Louis Sockalexis. Once during an honouring for Means, I learned that he predicted he would return as lightning. As game seven headed for a tenth inning, there was a sudden rain delay. As the rain fell, I could not help but smile. Indigenous peoples continue to speak out against these culture vultures who claim to honour us through misrepresentation and racist stereotypes.

The Cleveland franchise brought the curse of racism upon itself.

Mascots make real indigenous peoples invisible

Indigenous peoples have suffered the humiliation of misrepresentation by the colonial regime since long before baseball. Falsified and romanticised one-dimensional stereotypes abound from John Smith's fictional portrayal of Pocahontas to James Fennimore Cooper's classic novel “Last of the Mohicans.” Many non-indigenous Americans are so infatuated with the stereotypes that it is impossible for them to see the real indigenous people standing right in front of them.

Once during a soccer game, a friend of mine was the Director of Entertainment. He had arranged for real Native American dancers to perform during intermission. A woman withers her husband pointed and said, “Look, honey, Native Americans.” I was with several friends, all of whom were Native, the woman could not recognise us as Native without beads and feathers like the dancers on the field.

We are made so invisible that when egregious injustices are committed against our people, it is largely overlooked by mainstream society, but that is changing.

We make ourselves visible, we make our voices heard

The Flint water crisis was national news for months, while most remain unaware that the Diné (Navajo) Nation's water supply remains poisoned from last year's Gold King Mine spill. Black Lives Matter is recognised as a national movement, while Native Lives Matter, opposing the police brutality and police killings of Native people, is significantly lesser known. Indigenous peoples continue to bypass the lame stream corporate media through the use of the Internet and social media. With these tools, issues like indigenous opposition to racist sports team mascots is becoming harder for the mainstream to ignore.

The dehumanisation such misrepresentation causes continue to result in horrendous violations of indigenous peoples' human rights. The water protectors who stand against the greed behind the Dakota Access Pipeline are daily harassed, humiliated, pepper sprayed, tasered, arrested, stripped naked, thrown into jail cells naked, etc. We are human. We have human rights. Indigenous peoples are people, not mascots.

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