Last month, lacrosse players at Mars Hill University in North Carolina threw a “Cowboys and Nav-hoes” party. Sadly, you read that right.
As reported by Indian Country Today Media Network, photos from the off-campus party showed up on Instagram.
The school’s former Native American Student Organization president, Katlin Bradley, heard talk of the party on campus and called it to the attention of university officials.
On Tuesday, Bradley led a seminar on racial stereotyping attended by university president Dan Lunsford and more than 200 students.
“I'm pretty sure that (the lacrosse players) did not know it offended us,” Bradley told WLOS TV in Asheville. “I think it's just a large scale of ignorance, not the campus itself.”
She told Vincent Schilling with Indian Country Today that she was surprised that lacrosse players, of all people, would promote such a stereotype.
“Lacrosse is a game with Mohawk origins that is similar to the Cherokee game they play in my tribe,” said Bradley, a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee.
Though one school official suggested that the offensive name of the party was the result of a misspelled word, Bradley says there was no mistaking the intent because photos showed pictures of girls at the party dressed in skimpy, provocative clothing.
She said some of the players apologized to her in person and in writing. But others berated her for being overly sensitive when she posted her concerns online.
Said one anonymous (of course) poster: “Stop having a pity party, Duh it’s okay. Grow Up. Stop Looking for pity.”
The school’s director of multicultural affairs, Alaysia Black Hackett, told Indian Country Today that “though the students are ignorant of the effects such a party could have, the school is using this as a teaching opportunity.”