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Credit: (L) Disney / (R) Jenny Nicholson Twitter

Disney Acted Shocked When a Drill Team Performed An Offensive Dance. But They Had Seen It Before

On March 15, Guests visiting Walt Disney World Resort — and millions of people on the internet — were shocked to see a Texas high school drill team perform a dance that was deemed highly offensive. The dance incorporated stereotypical Native American dances and ended with the girls singing “scalp ’em Indians, scalp ’em.” People were shocked that such a routine would be considered appropriate. Even more were shocked that Disney would allow a dance like that to be performed at a place like the Magic Kingdom.

Magic Kingdom's Cinderella Castle

Credit: Disney

The school defended its decision, saying that they were the ones who had the right to be upset. The district claims their team had been discriminated against and said that the dance honors the Native peoples that used to live on the land 1,500 years ago. The dance routine got such backlash that Disney released a statement. In the statement, Disney claimed that they had no idea of the dance that would take place. They claimed that the school had misrepresented itself when the audition tape was submitted and that when they saw the headdresses the team was going to wear, the Park did not allow it.

Indianettes

Credit: Jenny Nicholson Twitter

However, we are learning that the claim that Disney didn’t know what was coming may not be true. People have taken to social media to share that the Texas drill team has performed at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom in the past, headdresses and all. In 2020, photos were shared of the group marching down Main Street, U.S.A., in the same costumes that they are seen wearing in the recent video. A school official also claimed that this was the eighth time the routine had been performed at Walt Disney World, with no complaints in the past.

What a fun day at Disney with the band and Indianettes! Here are only a few of our hundreds of photos from 6 different locations along the parade route.

As you can see, the group of dancers proudly walked through the Magic Kingdom in their outfits and headdresses — which traditionally are reserved for elders in the tribes who have earned the honor.

A young woman named Mallory (@graceandmayhem) commented that she attended the high school in question. She said that the routine that was performed was a common one and that it had even been performed at Disney in the past.

(Ashamed) PNG grad here — they March in this parade every other year, this is the first time they were not allowed to wear the headdresses. Disney has heard this chant before and still allowed them to return.

Port Neches-Groves High School, for many years, claimed that they had the seal of the Cherokee Nation. They claimed that the seal has been stripped due to people claiming these things are offensive. They further claimed that the Cherokee ambassador seal was stripped due to public pressure. However, the Cherokee Nation released a statement refuting that.

Port Neches-Groves Independent School District continues to use offensive and stereotypical depictions of our tribe, and this is yet again exampled by their cheer team recently in Orlando. For the past couple of years, we have written to the Port Neches superintendent and school board asking them to cease using this offensive imagery, chanting, symbolism and other practices in their school traditions as this does nothing but dishonor us and all Native American tribes who are making great strides in this country. School leaders need educating on cultural appropriateness, should apologize for continuing to ignore out requests to stop and need to make swift changes to correct these offensive displays across their school district. 

Cherokee Nation Response Indianettes

Credit: Cherokee Nation Principal Chief

Disney has been struggling with its public image lately due to its stance on Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Bill — also known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. Thousands of Cast Members feel that Disney needs to stand up to political actions that they believe violate basic human rights. Disney has said that they have changed their audition process in response to the backlash this routine received, but have not commented on the fact that they allowed it in the past.

About Krysten Swensen

A born and bred New England girl living the Disney life in Southern California. I love to read, to watch The Golden Girls, and love everything to do with Disney and Universal. I also love to share daily doses of Disney on my Disney Instagram @BrazzleDazzleDisney!