The drill team had already made news when parents complained online that Disney had asked the drill team to perform without part of their uniform, the Native American war bonnets, which are commonly referred to as headdresses. Native Americans say that wearing a headdress, even an imitation, is a form of cultural appropriation that belittles the stature of those who have earned the right to wear them.
Tara Houska, a Native American and founder of Not Your Mascots, an organization that fights against stereotypical native representations in sports, shared the video on Twitter and wrote, “Nostalgic racism is RACISM.” A TikToker who is Indigenous also posted a video, writing he was “disgusted” by the performance. Another Twitter user who identifies as Native American wrote that Indians need to be banned as a mascot everywhere.
Disney condemned the performances and said it had taken steps to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
“The live performance in our park did not reflect our core values, and we regret it took place,” Jacquee Wahler, a Disney spokesperson, said in a statement. “It was not consistent with the audition tape the school provided and we have immediately put measures in place so this is not repeated.”
According to 12newsnow, the Indianettes were not in the high school’s audition video to perform at Disney World.
Port Neches-Groves High School is on spring break, and representatives were not immediately available for comment.
Andrew Dismukes, a Saturday Night Live castmember and alum of the high school, wrote on Twitter that he thinks the chant is “awful” and the school should change its mascot, the Indians.