Texas Indianettes Drill Team Under Fire for Racist Disney World Performance, ‘Scalp ‘Em’ Chant
Walt Disney World guests were shocked to witness a Texas high school drill team performance featuring a racist chant and insensitive depictions of Native Americans on Main Street, U.S.A. in the Magic Kingdom this past week.
The incident took place on March 15 at the Magic Kingdom theme park in Orlando, Fla.
Performing alongside their marching band, the Port Neches-Groves High School Indianettes drill team wore feathers in their hair and a costume reminiscent of traditional Native American clothing. The group also performed a chant including the phrase "scalp 'em" and mimicked various indigenous American dancing styles.
Shortly following the parade, footage of the drill team's performance circulated and went viral on social media, with many calling out the performance for its racist and insensitive visuals and chants, and use of harmful stereotypes.
Twitter user Tara Houska, co-founder of Not Your Mascots, a grassroots organization that fights against stereotypical Native representations in sports, also posted a video of the school teaching its students a racist chant.
"And any Natives who attend [Port Neches-Groves] should [probably] just accept their classmates dehumanizing them cuz ‘tradition’, right?" Houska wrote in a tweet.
According to the school's athletic website, various indigenous tribes settled around the school's local river near around 500 A.D.
The school has frequently come under fire for refusing to retire its "Indian Spirit" mascot and appropriative costumes, chants and gestures. The school's cheerleaders have even yelled, “Scalp ‘em, Indians, scalp ‘em!” at sporting events, which often take place at the school's stadium, unofficially called The Reservation.
"We regret this performance took place as it did not reflect the audition tape that was submitted. We have immediately put measures in place to ensure that performances reflect the auditions," Disney said in a statement after the performance went viral on social media.
The company also claimed that the chant performed in the Magic Kingdom was not featured in the high school's original audition tape. The drill team were, however, asked to remove their typical headdresses, which are reminiscent of culturally significant war bonnets, once an unidentified cast member spotted them prior to the parade, according to reports.
This isn't the first time Disney has come under fire for cultural appropriation and racist depictions in their media and performance. Over the years the company has received criticism for their depiction of the Native American princess Tiger Lily and the "Red Indians" featured in the 1953 animated film, Peter Pan.