Indian sports nicknames/logos: affective difference between American Indian and non-Indian college students

Am Indian Alsk Native Ment Health Res. 2011;18(2):1-16. doi: 10.5820/aian.1802.2011.1.


The use of American Indian (AI) words and images in athletic teams' nicknames, logos, and mascots remains a controversial issue. This study investigated the emotional impact of the University of North Dakota's "Fighting Sioux" nickname/logo on 33 AI and 36 majority culture (MC) students enrolled at the university. Participants completed the Multiple Affect Adjective Checklist-Revised (MAACL-R) before viewing two slide presentations of Fighting Sioux-related images: one neutral (i.e., non-controversial) and one controversial. Participants completed the MAACL-R after each presentation. They also completed the Nickname and Logo Distress Scale, and AI participants completed the Northern Plains Biculturalism Inventory to assess their degree of cultural orientation. Results showed that AIs experienced higher negative affect following both slide presentations than did MC participants. MC participants' affect was only changed following the controversial slide presentation. The findings suggest AI students may experience significantly higher levels of psychological distress when viewing even neutral images of AI nicknames/logos.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Culture
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Indians, North American / psychology*
  • Male
  • Names*
  • North Dakota
  • Sports / psychology*
  • Stress, Psychological*
  • Students / psychology*
  • Young Adult