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Know the West

Arizona volleyball team faces harassment

Native American athletes continue to experience racism.


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Native American high school athletes face high levels of racial harassment and bigotry. From 2008 to 2018, there have been at least 52 reported incidents across the country, ranging from racist vandalism and tweets to racist slurs, according to documents obtained by High Country News. Additionally, nearly 22% of Native American and Alaskan Native students report being bullied at school — a considerably higher rate than the national average of 19%. (“Native American athletes and fans face ongoing racism,” HCN, 4/10/19).


This October, Native American volleyball players from an Arizona high school team were harassed and called “savages” during an away game. After a player from the Eagles dived and missed the ball, the opposing team began mocking them, imitating Native American dances, rituals and war cries. The Eagles’ coach eventually called off the game in order to ensure her players’ safety. Despite this, the sports league refused to punish anyone involved.

Helen Santoro is an editorial intern at High Country News. Email her at [email protected] or submit a letter to the editor