Iowa basketball team poster called offensive
Clarke basketball team in headdresses and war paint

OSCEOLA, IA (KCCI/CNN) - A girls high school basketball team poster, which features the 2016 Clarke basketball team in headdresses and war paint, is being called insensitive.

Vicky Apala-Cuevas of the Oglala Lakota tribe says it's painful to look at this poster.

"Everything that I saw on the poster does not in any manner depict Native American women, and that's the sad part," she said. "Our women are very beautiful and to be respected."

Apala-Cuevas says dance is a form of sacred prayer, and the totem pole is like a family crest honoring their leaders.

Clarke Community School Superintendent Steve Seid said the poster is meant as a prideful demonstration of the school embracing their history, "really out of total respect for not just the community but the entire state in general with a Native American background, no negativity intended at all, just respecting a rich culture." 

A parent of a basketball player says it's meant to show how proud they are to be Clarke Indians.

"These girls are representing being ready for the season to come up being ready and even nowadays it's an empowering message for women all over, and these young women are doing it," Arminda Cosner said.

Apala-Cuevas says she wants people to get educated to avoid misinterpretations, like this poster.

"The saddest part the part that we feel is most overwhelming and overcoming is that there's another generation depicting us in an offensive way," she said.

The poster has not yet been distributed. The school district is in the process of reviewing it to determine if changes are needed.

 
 
 
 
By Lena Sullivan 09/17/2016 18:43:00