Disney World officials say they “regret” allowing a high school rehearsal team in Texas to parade in their garden on Tuesday with a parade featuring stereotypical images of American Indians including repeated chants of “scalp them.”
A performance by the 50-member band from Port Neches-Groves High School ‘Indianettes’ saw them march and dance in fringed outfits along Main Street USA at the park’s Magic Kingdom to Native American-inspired music, with moves taken from He said cultures.
In the footage, the members can be seen clicking their hands over their mouths and shouting like a drum in the background, mimicking what is stereotypically called a “war cry” of Native Americans.
Florida park representatives said in a statement Friday, after a video clip of The park-certified performance appeared online.
“This was not consistent with the test tape provided by the school, and we immediately took measures so that this does not happen again,” the amusement park officials added.
The students also walked with their arms raised in a way that appears to have been based on Western interpretations of Aboriginal dances.
The footage showed that the students’ chants included the words “scalp” and “scalp”, which were repeated during their performance. The hymn is part of the Texas school fight song “Cherokee”.
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Disney World officials say they “regret” allowing a Texas high school rehearsal team to parade in their garden on Tuesday, in a performance that showed stereotyped American Indians, including repeated chants of “their scalp.”
In the footage, members of the “Indianettes” at Port Neches-Groves High School can be seen banging their hands over their mouths and shouting like a drum beating rhythmically in the background, emulating what is stereotypically called a Native American “war cry”.
Park representatives said in a statement Friday that the test tape submitted by the school to be selected to perform at the park’s resort does not correspond to actual performance.
According to a school employee who spoke to KBMT in Beaumont, Texas, shortly after the accident, this is the eighth time the team has performed the routine at Disney World.
The spokesperson told the outlet that Disney did not ask ahead of time about the planned performance.
Team members reportedly entered the park wearing full Native American headgear – “war headgear,” as they were called – until Disney staff asked that they be removed.
The school mascot is a Native American. Its website asserts that the “Indianettes” coaching team – which the school says has 54 members – has been a “tradition for over 50 years”.
The school refers to the football field as “The Reservation” and has its own update for the school news titled “The Pow Wow News”. Her yearbook is called “War and a Half”.
The all-female performance, at least 50 members of the band, saw high school students march and dance in fringed costumes along Main Street, USA, in the park’s Magic Kingdom to aboriginal-inspired music, with moves drawn from Native American cultures.
The school’s website asserts that the “Indianettes” coaching team — which currently has 54 members, according to the site — has been a “tradition for over 50 years.” Pictured is an undated photo of a former drill team of Indianettes wearing headgear. The current team reportedly attempted to wear head coverings for Tuesday’s performance but were asked to take them off by staff
Footage of the Indianet performance quickly spread to the Internet, adding to the pressure on the park and many viewed the rehearsal team’s chants and dances as racist.
Tara Huska, an Ojibwe attorney and former advisor to Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, called the act “inhuman.”
Cuz a group of kids in the sidelines chanting ‘scalp’ Indians, scalp ‘honour, isn’t it?’ Huska tweeted Thursday with the clip that has now gone viral, referring to the school’s assurances that the coaching staff has been a staple for years.
Any native who attends @pngisd should steadily accept his classmates dehumanizing them because that’s a “tradition”, right? Shame on DisneyParks hosting this. ‘
Hoska added, “Nostalgic racism is racism” Founder of Not Your Mascots, an organization “dedicated to fighting indigenous stereotyping in sports.”
Kelly Lynn D Angelo, a Native American writer on TNT’s Miracle Workers – a show set in the 19th century Wild West – retweeted Houska’s post and added, “99% of the people sharing their anger about this are Natives. Don’t you see that this Is the problem too?
And she continued, ‘Why should we talk about all the blatant racism against us? From our constant mistreatment? Why should we fight, with teeth and nails, to understand that we are human and alive and also thrive?
“Stop that and grow up,” D’Angelo added.
Likewise, Huska’s complaint has prompted more than 11,000 others to criticize the performance as racist, including other tribal leaders such as Kansas Representative Christina Haswood, also a Native American, who appealed to Disney to “do better” in a tweet Friday.
“It’s ignorance at this point,” the Navajo official said.
As part of the backlash, Port Neches-Groves High School’s social media accounts were flooded with photos and videos of the performance.
News outlets that contacted the school for comment on the incident – including DailyMail.com – often received no response.
However, the school district released a statement to KFDM-TV in Beaumont, Texas, in which district officials said they were “aware of concerns about the performance of our band and Indianettes at Disney World.”
We are committed to diversity, equity and inclusion in our school district. Our district is nearly 100 years old, and our Board of Trustees is always committed to making the best decisions for our students, employees, and the communities of Port Neches and Groves.
The school has faced opposition in recent years due to the racist connotations of its mascot, but it has multiplied over the years – although many considered the references to be racist.
The school has faced opposition in recent years over the racist connotations of its mascot, which is Native American, but has multiplied over the years – despite many considering it racist
Last year, Disney copper announced sweeping changes to Disney properties and parks in the country, hoping to ‘create a place that welcomes everyone’.
The Disney World show was reportedly broadcast on Tuesday by the school’s press club, showing pride in the drill team.
Last year, Disney Parks, Experiences & Products Chairman Josh Damaro announced sweeping changes to Disney properties and parks in the country, hoping to “create a place where everyone is welcome.”
In the campaign, D’Amaro emphasized “inclusion” and non-offensive representation of all races on Disney properties.
The campaign saw the company scraping the phrases “Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls” during the “Happy Ever After” fireworks display at the Magic Kingdom, in an effort to include inclusion.
Early last year, before the campaign, Jungle Cruise, a staple of Disney theme parks for nearly 70 years, got an overhaul to address years of complaints that it presented a racist view of Indigenous peoples as uncivilized “savages.”
Earlier this month, Disney’s new CEO, Bob Chapek, who took office only in January, came under fire for not condemning a Florida bill passed on Tuesday that would restrict LGBT discussion in schools.
In a note to staff Monday, Chapek tried to calm the anger, repeating the park’s new policies on inclusion: “I want to be absolutely clear: I and the entire leadership team stand unequivocally in support of LGBTQ+ employees, their families and their communities.
“We are committed to creating a more inclusive company and world.”
Disney World employees did not immediately respond to a DailyMail.com request for comment Saturday morning.
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