ENID, Okla. (KFOR) – Basketball parents are outraged after they say another team taunted their children during a tournament.
They say the student section even went as far as targeting their Native American heritage.
“We’re not a mascot. We’re a people,” said James Bible, a former Frontier player.
Frontier schools were playing against Shattuck in Enid’s area basketball tournament on Thursday night.
Frontier parents say the Shattuck student section was showing racism toward Frontier players, many of whom come from Native American backgrounds.
“Whenever we lulu, it's a point of joy. It’s something where our hearts are so full, that's how we express it. And they turn around and just rub it through the mud. Stomp on it. That’s the way it feels,” said Carolee Bible, whose daughter plays for Frontier.
Bible says just because Shattuck’s mascot is the Indian, it doesn’t mean the chants are acceptable.
The Frontier community is standing by their team.
“Trauma comes from this,” James said. “We have a voice and it’s a voice that needs to be heard. It’s not to disrespect someone, how we’re coming about. We are just tired of it.”
The Shattuck superintendent sent News 4 this response--
“To whom it may concern:
I am writing to address the controversy at the Shattuck vs Frontier girls basketball game. The first thing I want to do is apologize for anything that our students did or have done that is disrespectful to Native Americans. I can assure you that as soon as I became aware of the situation between Frontier’s fans and our student section, I stopped our students behavior. I talked with Frontier’s principal about ten minutes after the game and assured him that we would investigate and address this situation. Today we have already met with our student body and discussed this sensitive situation. We will follow through with further education on the topic. Shattuck is proud to have the Indian as our mascot, and we want to portray it in a positive way. We look at our mascot as a symbol of pride, strength, unity, perseverance and the many other qualities that define Native Americans. I appreciate the conversations I have had this morning with Mr. Weckstein, Superintendent at Frontier Schools, as well as Mr. Jacob Tsotigh, who is with the National Indian Education Association. I am encouraged that we will be able to work together to educate our student body on ethnic and cultural differences that we are not aware of. This situation is unfortunate, but I am glad that our school is going to be better moving forward.
Superintendent Shattuck Public Schools”
“Bottom line, change your mascot. That’s what needs to happen. Then you could quit using it as an excuse to be inappropriate, to stomp somebody down,” Carolee said.
The Frontier Superintendent also sent News 4 a statement regarding the incident:
“Last night at the Area girls basketball game in Enid, several members of Shattuck’s student section were involved in inappropriate taunts towards our Native American players. We consider the behavior offensive and insensitive. I have reached out to the Superintendent of Shattuck as well as the OSSAA and made our position clear. We believe it is their responsibility to condemn the behavior.