Tell North Haven Board – Indian Mascots Aren’t Cool

Stanley Heller, based on his interview with Talia Gallagher for Indian Country Today Media Network
Talia Gallagher, a North Haven High School alumnus, is seeking to have the Board of Education change its sports team mascot. Currently the mascot is the “Indians.” The logo is like a stereotypical Plains Indian with a headband and several feathers. There was nothing particularly vicious in the way it was done, just unthinking. Students at games chant “tribe pride” and put on so-called “war paint.” Last year the girl who was winner of the school spirit contest was photographed wearing a full feathered headdress.

There is a campaign to change the name of the Washington pro football team away from the disgusting word “Redskins.” The word “Indians” itself isn’t offensive, but more and more people of Indian nations are speaking out against the practice of demeaning Indian nations by using them as mascots. There’s even a hashtag: #NotYourMascot.

Gallagher’s petition says the simple truth: “Towns and cities all around the country are starting to switch over to appropriate team names and mascots and it is time for North Haven to join the movement. Our town must take a stand and change the old and disrespectful ways people think about race.” Find it on Facebook by looking for “Change North Haven Indian Mascot.”

The New Haven Register says it’s time to abandon Indian mascots and notes there are 23 Connecticut teams with some variation of Indian mascot names. Quinnipiac University in Hamden changed the name of its mascot from the Braves to the Bobcats in 2002.

Besides signing the petition you can help by attending the North Haven Board of Education meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 12, at 5 Linsley St., North Haven. Even if you don’t live in the town you can applaud the speakers who support changing the mascot name.

One comment

  • If the North Haven School system wants to have pride and have their students understand the source of this “pride” they should create a curriculum within the North Haven School system that teaches about the valuable contribution of Native Americans locally and regionally. Absent this connection the “pride” we see and hear that is so important is shallow and without foundation.

    Jim Rawlings
    Chair
    CT Native American Inter Tribal Urban Council

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