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Florida State's Chief Osceola disgusts member of Seminole tribe of Oklahoma

by Berry Tramel Published: September 15, 2011

In 2005, the NCAA did the same, with a variety of consequences for those who persist, but the NCAA allowed for exceptions if local Native groups endorse the imagery.

The Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Nation supports Central Michigan University's use of “Chippewas” as a nickname. The Ute tribe supports the University Utah using “Utes” as a nickname. And the Florida Seminoles endorse Osceola as Florida State's icon.

Narcomey lived in Florida from 1991 through 2004 and says the Florida Seminoles support the FSU mascot for reasons of money, apathy and lack of awareness.

Narcomey figures the Seminoles want to pacify Florida State alums in the state legislature — “Just don't pass any laws that go against our casinos.” But he also said it's a lack of education. And “maybe if they do know, they don't care.”

Approximately 65 percent of the original Indian sports nicknames have been changed. Stanford, Marquette, Miami-Ohio. In Oklahoma, Southern Nazarene, Southeastern State, Oklahoma City U. and Northeastern State.

And Narcomey still believes he can change minds with his message.

“Those that have heard it have changed their stance,” Narcomey said. He remembers conducting a Jacksonville workshop, and an 80-year-old Florida State fan came up and said, “Mr. Narcomey, you are not going to change my mind.”

Two hours later, Narcomey said, she approached him and said, “I apologize. I didn't understand what we were doing.”

But it's going to be hard for Narcomey to make up ground without more Native support. If the Indians themselves don't mind the mascots and nicknames, why should anyone else care?

Since this issue first bubbled almost 50 years ago, Redskins has survived as the name of the NFL's Washington franchise. Redskins.

Narcomey likens it to the n-word. Yet the name lives on not just in D.C., but at Tulsa's Union High School.

If you want to debate Braves or Seminoles, OK. But Redskins is blatantly offensive. And yet it survives.

And so, too, does Osceola and his spear and Florida State's tomahawk chop, to much revelry in the state of Florida and its Seminole Tribe, and to much chagrin from a certain Seminole in Oklahoma.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at btramel@opubco.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.

by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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