NEW HAVEN — Yale University officials are apologizing for using racist images of Native Americans on the cover of the program for last weekend's football game against Dartmouth College.
The program was designed for the 100th game between the Ivy League schools on Saturday and featured images of several previous program covers from games between the schools. One from 1944 showed a Yale player setting fire to an American Indian's clothing. Another from 1942 shows a bulldog chasing an American Indian up a tree.
The executive director of Yale's indigenous performing arts program called the images "dehumanizing." The Association of Native Americans at Yale also posted a statement on its Facebook page condemning the circulation of those images.
"I feel that the university has a commitment, a mission, to educate people as best as it can about history, about contemporary experience for all different kinds of people. By circulating this kind of imagery, I think it's failing that mission," said Kodi Alvord, a senior at Yale and a Navajo.
Andy DeGuglielmo, a junior at Yale and a member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, said, "People think this is in the past, this is a far removed issue whereas this is still an ongoing narrative, an ongoing struggle for native peoples."
Yale Athletics issued a statement the following day apologizing for the program cover. Director of Athletics Tom Beckett told FOX 61 it was not intended to be offensive and it will never happen again.
"Yale made a mistake and we're very sorry for that. We have issued a public apology. We offended our community and that is terribly wrong," said Beckett.
Beckett said the athletics department has met with students and staff at the Native American Cultural Center and plan to continue those conversations to avoid incidents like this in the future.
He said, "We need to learn from this and that's exactly what we hope will happen."
Dartmouth was founded in 1769 to educate Native American youth, and its sports teams were informally known as the Indians until the 1970s, when Big Green was adopted.