Disney updates policy after video shows high school drill team chanting ‘scalp ‘em’ in Magic Kingdom

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Update: Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin, Jr. issued a statement in response to depictions by a Texas high school cheer team.

Read the full statement:

Previous Story: Walt Disney World said it is updating its performance policy after viral video showing a Texas high school drill team known as the “Indianettes” chanting “scalp ‘em, Indians, scalp ‘em!” during a Magic Kingdom parade sparked outrage and controversy.

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The video shows dozens of student performers from Port Neches-Groves Independent School District in Port Neches, Texas, known as Indianettes, wearing matching purple and fringe outfits marching along Magic Kingdom dancing and chanting the phrase as part of a cheer routine.

The performance happened on Tuesday.

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“The live performance in our park did not reflect our core values, and we regret it took place,” Disney spokesperson Jacquee Wahler said in a prepared statement. “It was not consistent with the audition tape the school provided and we have immediately put measures in place so this is not repeated.”

Tara Houska — a tribal attorney and activist who co-founded Not Your Mascots, a grassroots organization dedicated to fighting against stereotypical representation in sports — tweeted the video and has received about 16,000 interactions.

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“Cuz a bunch of kids in fringe chanting “scalp ‘em Indians, scalp ‘em” is honor, right?” Houska tweeted. “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.”

According to the Port Neches-Groves High School’s website, the Indianettes drill team has been a tradition at the school for more than 50 years. This year, the drill team is comprised of 54 members who participate in halftime shows, summer camp, pep rallies and more, the website states. The school’s mascot is a Native American wearing a headdress.

According to the Disney Imagination Campus website, the program lets groups take “center stage to dazzle an international audience of Disney theme park Guests for a once-in-a-lifetime performance.” Performers are treated as honorary Disney cast members for the day and their performances are supported by a professional crew of Disney technicians and a dedicated coordinator.

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Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.