The Port Neches-Groves Independent School District represented themselves at Magic Kingdom Park this week, as a drill/dance team paraded down Main Street, U.S.A. The team, clad in their Native American-inspired uniforms, sang, chanted, and danced their routine for Disney parkgoers. But it was the incredibly insensitive chant that scalded the nerves of many, now drawing attention to the Magic Kingdom drill team performance.
Drill Team Delivers Incredibly Insensitive Chant at Disney World
The “Indianettes” from Port Neches-Groves Independent School District marched at Magic Kingdom on March 15, 2022. (Beware the Ides of March!) While high school band, dance, and drill units are often a welcome sight on Main Street, U.S.A. and other parts of Walt Disney World Resort, this team’s theme and incredibly insensitive chants continue to draw ire and outrage.
The video circulating around the internet was taken some time on Tuesday, March 15, 2022, and showcases the Port Neches-Groves Independent School District drill team performing their routine. Clad in purple and white, the drill team repeatedly shouts, “I-N-D-I-A-N-S, scalp ’em, Indians, scalp ’em!” while dancing. The actions of the team have drawn great attention in the last few days, with internet users calling for education, anti-racism, and more. For example, attorney and member of the Bear Clan of the Ojibwe, Tara Houska (handle of @zhaabowekwe) shares the video and tweets, tagging both Disney Parks and the school district:
Cuz a bunch of kids in fringe chanting “scalp ‘em Indians, scalp ‘em” is honor, right? And any Natives who attend @pngisd should prolly just accept their classmates dehumanizing them cuz “tradition”, right? Shame on @DisneyParks hosting this. Nostalgic racism is RACISM.
Cuz a bunch of kids in fringe chanting “scalp ‘em Indians, scalp ‘em” is honor, right?
And any Natives who attend @pngisd should prolly just accept their classmates dehumanizing them cuz “tradition”, right?
— tara houska ᔖᐳᐌᑴ (@zhaabowekwe) March 18, 2022
Un-allowed to wear their “war bonnets” in the Disney Park, the “Indianettes” continued what seems to be a regular routine held in their home state of Texas. Their school chant is backed by Native-inspired music, as are their movements, combined with traditional cheerleader poses. A Twitter user, Renee M. (@arznadun1) shares a photo of the team, donning their complete team outfits, below. The self-described Disney Devotee tweets:
There is a HS drill team in Texas called the Indianettes who were recently upset bc they couldn’t wear their “war bonnets” @ WDW in FL The headdress is reserved for elder Native American Chiefs who earn them So insanely offensive this exists
There is a HS drill team in Texas called the Indianettes who were recently upset bc they couldn’t wear their “war bonnets” @ WDW in FL 😳
The headdress is reserved for elder Native American Chiefs who earn them
So insanely offensive this exists pic.twitter.com/JzTvwf3rSm
— Renee Marie 💙💛 (@arznasun1) March 18, 2022
Another Twitter user, going by the handle of @reym8020, shared their feelings on the incident, which included the terms “baffling,” “disgusting” and “outrage.” While some of these terms, in recent times, could be overused, they fit this instance. Referring to another Instagram post by the Indigenous People’s Movement, @reym8020 shares the photos and copy, calling the actions “devastating and disheartening.” The tweet reads,
There was a whole drill team performance that chanted “scalp em indians!” at Magic Kingdom days ago. The fact there isn’t more outrage over this is baffling. Indigenous people may have had to witness this in a place that preaches “inclusivity.” Absolutely disgusting.
There was a whole drill team performance that chanted “scalp em indians!” at Magic Kingdom days ago. The fact there isn’t more outrage over this is baffling. Indigenous people may have had to witness this in a place that preaches “inclusivity.” Absolutely disgusting. pic.twitter.com/uhLLSSqNQX
— Home Alone 2: Lost en Nu Yor (@reym8020) March 18, 2022
This performance comes amid calls for The Walt Disney Company to address its failings regarding inclusivity within its ranks. Recently, Disney came under fire for its political dealings with government officials backing the colloquially coined “Don’t Say Gay” bill in Florida. The company’s insensitivity to LGBTQ+ individuals after preaching inclusion within its brand drew ire among fans and Cast Members, with both gunning for significant cultural change at the Mouse House.
It is upsetting to see the culturally insensitive actions of this team and school district. The most recent posts of the Port Neches-Groves Independent School District’s social media accounts have been laden with calls for them to reexamine their school spirit, chants, and representation. Disney has responded via spokesperson Jacquee Wahler, and is reflected in a tweet by reporter Scott Gustin, saying,
“We regret this performance took place, as it did not reflect the audition tape that was submitted. We have immediately put measures in place to ensure performances reflect the auditions. -Disney spokesperson Jacquee Wahler”
Disney has issued a statement in response to the Port Neches-Groves High School performance at Magic Kingdom earlier this week, saying the performance did not reflect what was included in the school's audition tape. pic.twitter.com/kLYuIayzwE
— Scott Gustin (@ScottGustin) March 18, 2022
At the time of this article, it is unknown if the school district or the Disney Parks have commented on the event.
Stay tuned to Inside the Magic for more information on this story.