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Disney World 'regrets' high school drill team performance that featured racist stereotypes towards Native Americans

Mar 20, 2022, 01:38 IST
The newly painted Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World with a 50th anniversary crest. Photo taken on August 30,, 2021.John Raoux/AP Images
  • A Texas high school drill team featured Native American stereotypes during a performance at Magic Kingdom.
  • Videos showed the high schoolers chanting "scalp them, Indians," among other actions.

Officials at Walt Disney World issued a statement of "regret" after a Texas high school drill team featured Native American stereotypes during a performance at Magic Kingdom, the Associated Press reported.

On Tuesday, the "Indianettes" drill team from Port Neches-Grove High School, located in Port Neches, Texas, performed at the Florida theme park and were accused of performing racist stereotypes during their routine.

A video of the drill team posted by Twitter user Tara Houska shows members chanting, "scalp them Indians, scalp them."

Videos of the performance also showed the students wearing fringed outfits while whooping and tapping their hands over their mouths in a stereotypical "war cry," according to the outlet.

In a statement to WFTV, a Disney spokesperson said the performance "did not reflect our core values, and we regret it took place. It was not consistent with the audition tape the school provided and we have immediately put measures in place so this is not repeated." The spokesperson told the outlet that officials plan to update the resort's performance policy in response to the backlash.


Representatives for Walt Disney World did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

In a statement to KFDM, Port Neches-Grove Independent School District officials said they were "aware of the concern regarding the performance," and are "committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in our school district."

A Port Neches-Grove High School spokesperson added that the drill team performed the routine at Walt Disney World eight times prior.

"This is our eighth time at Disney. They don't ask what you're going to do as far as a performance. It's just contest video and they see the uniforms. They asked for nothing else. This is the same performance we've done all eight times," the spokesperson said, KFDM reported.

Representatives for the Port Neches-Grove Independent School District did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.


Cherokee National Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. issued a Twitter statement on Friday that accused the drill team of using "offensive and stereotypical depictions of our tribe."

The statement added that they had previously asked the Port Neches superintendent and school board to cease using the imagery, language, chanting, and other practices that "dishonor" Native American tribes.

Tara Houska, a Native American and founder of the organization Not Your Mascots, wrote on Twitter that the performance perpetuated racism.

"Shame on @DisneyParks hosting this. Nostalgic racism is RACISM," she wrote on Friday.

Hoskin and Houska did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.


"Saturday Night Live" cast member Andrew Dismukes, an alum of the high school, also admonished the performance on Friday.

"I think it's awful and that the school should change the mascot and all associated practices," he wrote on Twitter.

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