ORLANDO, Fla. — Disney World said Friday it "regrets" a recent performance by a high school drill team at Magic Kingdom that prompted backlash and outrage.

What You Need To Know

  • A Texas school's chant has sparked outrage

  • Port Neches-Groves High School's drill team performed at Magic Kingdom earlier in the week

  • The chant included the line, "scalp 'em Indians, scalp 'em"

  • Disney issued a statement in response, saying, in part, it regretted the performance took place

The Port Neches-Groves High School marching band and drill team from Texas performed at the theme park earlier this week.

During the performance, as the band played the school’s fight song called “Cherokee,” the drill team known as the “Indianettes“ chanted the lyrics, which include the line “scalp ‘em, Indians, scalp ‘em.”

Video of the performance was shared on Twitter by tribal attorney Tara Houska, who referred to the performance as "nostalgic racism."

In a statement to Spectrum News Friday, Disney spokesperson Jacquee Wahler said that measures were put in place following the incident.

“We regret this performance took place as it did not reflect the audition tape that was submitted,” Wahler said in a statement. “We have immediately put measure in place to ensure performances reflect the auditions.”

Disney did not, however, say what specific measures were implemented following the incident.

School groups have to submit an audition before being allowed to perform at Disney World. The chant by the PNG drill team was not part of their audition, according to Disney.

The school’s drill team has performed at Magic Kingdom in the past. Prior to this week, the team last performed at the park in 2020. During that performance, the students wore headdresses, according to pictures shared online. The headdresses were not allowed during this week’s performance.

Port Neches-Groves has been criticized in the past for its “Indian Spirit” mascot, which many have called culturally insensitive and offensive.

“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,” Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said in a statement Friday. “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.”

The incident at Magic Kingdom comes as Disney has made some efforts to be more inclusive at its theme parks. In recent years, the company removed racist and negative cultural depictions from its attraction, including Jungle Cruise. And on its Disney+ streaming service, some of Disney's older movies—"Peter Pan" and "Dumbo," for example—include disclaimers that they feature scenes with "negative depictions" and "mistreatment of people or cultures."


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