Friday, December 01, 2006


I guess, given the current contretemps, the previous jettisoning of the noble Indian as Dartmouth’s mascot is no longer a debatable issue. (I still remember the awe and pride I felt when, back in the late 1950’s, the Dartmouth Indian, in full war paint and battle regalia, rode a pinto bareback onto Memorial Field.) We have buried this former college symbol under the detritus of radical nihilism. Unfortunately, like many cherished traditions so trashed, its firing squad was not ready with a suitable replacement. Their quick fix was the “Big Green.” I can only guess this was a bow to Dr. Seuss and/or Kermit the Frog. Now I don’t like to harp, but doesn’t the “Big Green” sound like the name of a Deidre Imus cleaning product? Or an acre of mown alfalfa?

I know I am quite late to this renaming process but perhaps we should rethink this “Big Green” thing and come up with a more inspiring and pertinent replacement. Perhaps:

Eleazer’s (like Yale's Eli’s)
The Diversifiers (a bow to Prexy Wright)
Blocks of Granite (in our muscles and our brains)
Party Animals (a bow to National Lampoon)
Occum’s Razors (my personal favorite)

For those readers who object to my use of the word “Indian” in this treatise, I offer the following story. On talk radio recently I heard a caller object to the use of this term by saying that she was “a Native American and didn’t want her daughter to grow up being called an ‘Indian’ as this was a accident of history -- since Columbus thought he had sailed all the way to India.” To this objection I can only respond that “America” itself was another accident of history propagated by a map drawn honoring Amerigo Vespucci instead of Columbus. Shall we then call Indians “Native Columbians” (to correct this error), or “First People” (like in Canada), or Aborigines (like in Australia)? Some even suggest that we speak only of Indians by referring to their specific tribes. This seems dignified but impractical since the majority of Americans can’t even point out China on a world map let alone distinguish between 500 or so distinct Indian tribes.

I think I’ll just keep it simple-stupid and stay with “Indians.”


Any Stray Marks said...

Mr. Potts, please, please, get your facts straight:

The Big Green is not a mascot and never has been.

Do you think the Hoyas or the Elis are bulldogs? Do you think the Hoos are cavaliers or the Hokies are turkeys?

The Big Green is a nickname. It is traditional. It is old. It may be as old as the Indian mascot. It was a counterpart to the Indian mascot: people used both.

erika said...

There's a group aiming to get the Dartmoose