Members of the Port Neches-Groves Indians Marching Band, Indianettes, Twirlers and other student groups stand with their parents during Parents' Night ceremonies before the start of Wednesday's game with the Lumberton Raiders at Indian Stadium in Port Neches. (Mike Tobias/The Enterprise)
‘Indianettes’ Drill Team Not Allowed to Wear War Bonnets, But Are Allowed to Chant ‘Scalp ‘Em’ During Magic Kingdom Performance
A Facebook user shared in the Disney Campers group that a drill team known as the “Indianettes” was not allowed to wear the headdresses included in their uniform when performing at Magic Kingdom.
Terry and Pernell Spillers posted, “What is Disney doing not allowing a high school drill team, the Indianettes not wear a part of their uniform in the parades… Indians from years past have always worn headdresses. How is this offensive????”
Above is an example of one of the headdresses the twirlers and captains of the drill team — which is from Port Neches-Groves High School in Texas — wear, via Beaumont Enterprise.
Spillers indicated that members of the Indians Marching Band had worn headdresses at Disney Parks in the past, but that they were now barred from wearing them.
Headdresses, or war bonnets, are traditionally worn by Native American chiefs and warriors. It is generally considered offensive when anyone who hasn’t earned the honor of the war bonnet wears them.
Simon Moya-Smith, a journalist and citizen of the Oglala Lakota Nation, told MTV in 2014, “The headdress is reserved for our revered elders who, through their selflessness and leadership, have earned the right to wear one. It’s a spiritual garb, not just cultural; it’s not merely an addition to one’s attire. Wearing one, even an imitation headdress, belittles what our elders have spent a lifetime to earn.”
The marching band performed at Magic Kingdom yesterday, March 15. The original YouTube video was deleted but Tara Houska, a co-founder of Not Your Mascots, shared a clip of the drill team on Twitter.
Though they are not wearing headdresses, the dancers do have feathers in their hair, and their fringed uniforms are reminiscent of traditional Native American clothing. They perform a dance and song that parodies Native American ceremonies, including chanting “scalp ’em.”
Houska wrote, “And any Natives who attend [Port Neches-Groves] should prolly just accept their classmates dehumanizing them cuz ‘tradition’, right? Shame on [Disney Parks] hosting this. Nostalgic racism is RACISM.”
Houska also shared that the school is currently responding to emails about the incident with a form letter that calls the Cherokee Nation “extremely dishonorable” for revoking their seal of approval. The school also blocked Houska on Twitter.