WAXAHATCHEE WILDLIFE RESERVATION – Native Pelican-Americans are “up in wings” over the recent announcement that the New Orleans Hornets, an NBA team, will be renaming themselves the Pelicans starting next season. Although the name change had long been rumored, the announcement sparked a major uproar.
“In the 21st century, the marginalization of minorities remains a national tragedy, whether they be underrepresented ethnic groups or endangered species,” said Chief Big Beakum, leader of the Anaclawzi Pelican tribe of the southwestern United States. “Birds are people too, and my bird-people will not tolerate this disgusting display of cultural insensitivity. The First Nations of Pelicans has done nothing to deserve such treatment.
“It’s bad enough that you oppressors have taken our land and driven us to the brink of extinction, but this is one bridge with shiny glass panels that my people frequently crash into too far,” he continued, while swishing a still-live fish around in his bill.
Over the years, various groups have protested sports team names they find distasteful. According to some, the Colorado Avalanche name is offensive to peace-loving mountains. The Prime Minister of India has repeatedly called on the Cleveland Indians to change their name, saying “no country would want to be associated with the uninspired outfield play of Drew Stubbs.” And who could forget the last native-bird-related controversy, when albino scarlet finches accused the Detroit Red Wings of mocking their medical condition.
“Personally, I don’t have a problem with New Orleans’ decision,” commented Suzanne Purewing, a great white pelican native to Lake Pontchartrain. “But did they really have to make the pelican on the logo look so angry? And drunk? We don’t all fit into that stereotype, you know.”
Pressure is mounting on team executives to reverse the name change. In recent days, general manager Dell Demps and owner Tom Benson have each received several anonymously-mailed DVD copies of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds at their home addresses. When the front office announced that they were “reexamining their decision,” though, a swarm of hornets descended on the team’s practice facility in protest.
In related news, the Heron River tribe of pelicans, which is native to southeastern Michigan, demanded that the University of Michigan repatriate several pelican corpses that it recently picked up off the ground and threw in the trash.
Originally published: February 2013