Additional Mascot/Identity Council Survey Responses

BEN HAMILTON, CLASS OF 2007

  • Support or oppose: Oppose—The mascot has come to define the district. We honor those who previously occupied these lands with our strong and fiercesome mascot.
  • Why do you care about the mascot: I think instead of changing this (and any) mascot for this reason is erasing a part of history. This is an excellent opportunity to educate the existing student body on our mascot and reach out to the community to share with them the history of our mascot and what it represents.
  • Purpose of the Identity Council: Determine the future of the Unionville mascot.

DISTRICT EMPLOYEE, CLASS OF 1987

  • Support or oppose: Oppose—I think it’s important to keep tradition and the history of the school. Indian Hannah’s great-grandson told me it was an honor to have the mascot named after her. Why take that away from them?
  • Why do you care about the mascot: I grew up here, and the history is important. I chose to live and raise my children here. This area is rich in its history and [I] feel it’s important to preserve that history. I understand some may feel funny about the name [because] they are also Indians from Asia. However, our mascot isn’t degrading them and not mocking anyone. It’s honoring the history of our area. Clearly, the Indian in full headdress isn’t representing them.
  • Purpose of the Identity Council: To discuss the concerns with the name Indians because there was a small percentage of students who Feel uncomfortable with the name Indians.
  • Additional thoughts: History is important. Tradition is important. Do you change everything for eight percent of the population or do you honor the majority. This community is filled with Unionville graduates and families that have been here a really long time. Is it fair to take their tradition and history away? To change to be an innovator in change or because it’s cool to not stand for the pledge and other socially charged ideals is not a reason.

DOUG OTT, CLASS OF 2012

  • Support or oppose: Oppose—I believe that the Indians mascot is part of our school’s history and was adopted as a tribute to the Lenni Lenape people who had such an impact on our area.
  • Why do you care about the mascot: I believe that the mascot is part of the history and tradition of our school. That being said, I would not be heartbroken if the mascot is changed. A change in the mascot will not affect the way our athletic teams play or the memories and lessons that alumni have taken away from their time at Unionville.
  • Purpose of the Identity Council: To initiate a community discussion about the mascot. I believe there needs to be more transparency about the Identity Council. I am a little out of the loop since I no longer live in the area, but it took me a while to learn that the Identity Council was made up of people on both sides of the issue, not just people who want to have the mascot changed.

ANONYMOUS, CLASS OF 2015

  • Support or oppose: Oppose—I am opposed to changing it because it isn’t meant to hurt anyone’s feelings. It is a symbol of our area’s history and the people that built our area.
  • Why do you care about the mascot: I care about the mascot because it is all about tradition. As a current student at Clemson University, I’ve learned how much tradition makes a school and school district unique and special to the experience of being a student there. Tradition keeps alumni connected on a special level forever.
  • Purpose of the Identity Council: Identity Council makes sure that all people are represented fairly and not one is offended by anything.
  • Additional thoughts: I can’t attend the meeting because I go to college in Clemson, SC. If I was home I’d be there.

NELSON LEE LUCAS-MURPHY, CLASS OF 1986

  • Support or oppose: Oppose—The word “Indian” does not offend. To say it offends is insulting to the great Native Americans that our mascot represents. The strong fighting and warrior spirit our school and teams compete with. It’s a great name. It’s a great tradition and a great way to honor a great people! You wouldn’t name a mascot something you were ashamed of or wanted to make fun of or insult.
  • Why do you care about the mascot: The word “Indian” does not offend. To say it offends is insulting to the great Native Americans that our mascot represents. The strong fighting and warrior spirit our school and teams compete with. It’s a great name. It’s a great tradition and a great way to honor a great people! You wouldn’t name a mascot something you were ashamed of or wanted to make fun of or insult.
  • Purpose of the Identity Council: To change the name of the mascot.
  • Additional thoughts: Thank you for allowing Alumni to share their opinion. Unionville is a great School System. The school has been a huge part of many our lives. Our classes have stayed close throughout the years. We are like a family or a “Tribe.” “Indian” is a great name and tradition that honors a great people. That’s what the name was intended for.

BRANDT LOPAPA, CLASS OF 2011

  • Support or oppose: Oppose—I am 100 percent opposed to changing the mascot simply because there is no reason to. Unionville “Indians” pays homage to Lenni Lenape Tribe native to our area. It is not uncommon for a school and/or sports team to name their mascot after something commonly associated with their region. It also carries no derogatory connotation and is viewed as a symbol of pride and strength. The “Indian” mascot also ensures remembrance of the Lenape Tribe—and all Native Americans—will not diminish over time.
  • Why do you care about the mascot: The mascot is representative of the ideals of the school. I cannot think of another mascot that would sufficiently represent those ideals while also paying tribute to the Lenape Tribe here before us. The lack of objective reasoning demonstrating a necessitation for change is a perfect example of why no change is needed.
  • Purpose of the Identity Council: Create a problem where there isn’t one. Make something an issue that isn’t. They have nothing more important to worry about (sad). You get my point!
  • Additional thoughts: The fact this is an issue is really embarrassing. The complete wrong message is being sent to students here. LIFE OUTSIDE OF UNIONVILLE IS NOT ALWAYS PC. KIDS NEED TO LEARN THIS TO BE SUCCESSFUL TOO. As I’m sure you’ve seen, a majority of the alumni are EXTREMELY unhappy about this. A change like this will hurt unity in the district and lack of interest in school sponsored functions.

ANONYMOUS, CLASS OF 1984

  • Support or oppose: Oppose—I oppose changing the UHS mascot because the Indian mascot was chosen to recognize the Lenni Lenape Indians native to this area, and represents the strength, pride, and dignity of those who’ve come before us, and inspires the same qualities from our student body.
  • Why do you care about the mascot: I care about the mascot because it is the face of our community identity and was chosen out of RESPECT to HONOR our past and INSPIRE GOODNESS and STRENGTH in UHS students
  • Purpose of the Identity Council: To indulge students inordinately concerned with “offending” some UNIDENTIFIED population of Indians and other people compelled to be offended FOR Indians, even though the Indian Mascot was chosen with the highest degree of respect and honor—and as such—IS and ALWAYS has been the central figure of UHS PRIDE.
  • Additional thoughts: PLZ [PLEASE] FIND SOMETHING BETTER TO DO AND STOP INDULGING THIS NONSENSE.

ANONYMOUS, 2006

  • Support or oppose: Support—Having “the Indians” as a mascot generalizes an entire continent of people (misnamed by explorers) for use in a logo. White people already massacred, stripped land and rights, and created awful conditions for the remaining Native Americans; how can we (and Unionville is predominantly white) turn around and say they must now represent us in sports games? What does that even mean?
  • Why do you care about the mascot: I don’t think school mascots are needed, but if Unionville has one, it should not be a person, and especially not one representing any marginalized groups.
  • Purpose of the Identity Council: I assume to give voice to the identities of all people, especially marginalized groups. However, I had not heard of the council outside of this case.
  • Additional thoughts: I did not plan to attend the meetings because I live too far away.

Anonymous, Class of 1984

  • Support or oppose: Support—As a UHS student I felt the Indian mascot was a great representation of our fiercely competitive sports teams. I honestly never gave a thought as to whether using an Indian as a mascot was offensive or discriminatory towards anyone. While I know UHS’s use of the Indian logo was meant to honor the Lenni Lenape tribe, I understand many may feel that it is disrespectful to use any type of race as a mascot regardless of best intentions.
  • Why do you care about the mascot: Despite not living in the district, I want to support current UHS student efforts to explore whether using an Indian as a mascot is still appropriate in today’s world. A mascot or logo is a large part of how the general public perceives/identifies with something. School mascots are at games and other public events, emblazoned on sports uniforms and other school gear (backpacks, t-shirts etc) so it is important to consider perceptions.
  • Purpose of the Identity Council: From what I understand the council is made up of students and possibly faculty to explore changing the mascot name/logo.
  • Additional thoughts: In particular I love using a horse as a mascot. The “U” in Unionville is perfect for a horseshoe to be incorporated into the logo. But, you may want to consider using Mustang since Stallion and Colt identify a horse’s gender and UHS is co-ed. Thanks for asking us all to weigh in on this. All the best.

Michael Sheridan, 1993

Support or oppose: Support—American Indians have found the use of their likeness both frustrating and offensive for decades, if not longer. Seems to me we should respect that. After all, it’s just a mascot.

Why do you care about the mascot: It’s a symbol of the school, something that should be respectful.

Purpose of the Identity Council: To determine if the mascot should be changed because some, chiefly the group represented by the mascot. And if so, help find a replacement.

Dee Mogavero, 1987

Support or oppose: Oppose—I played football for Unionville for my sophomore, junior, and senior years. My family on my mother’s side our members of the Seneca Tribe which is part of the Iroquois nation in Western New York throughout Southern Canada and Northern New York.

When I moved to Unionville in 1985 there was no negative connotation to the name Indian in my family’s eyes. I have asked my grandmother, when she was living and I was playing if she felt there was any problem of the name. Her response to me was only if you don’t play well. My mother who is half Seneca was involved in the quarterback Club and designing the weekly program for our games. As members of the group of indigenous peoples in question my family has never had a problem with the mascot of Unionville High School being called Indian.

Why do you care about the mascot: Because I was proud to play football is a Unionville Indian.

Purpose of the Identity Council: I feel that the answers above or a little too short. I would have been happy to attend the sessions mentioned above, but as I live in Florida now it would be impossible for me to attend. So to continue…I feel the purpose of the Council is to meet the needs and desires of the current students of Unionville High School. I don’t feel there’s anything wrong with the name of the mascot, but if the students that are currently Unionville Indians and no longer to wish to be Unionville Indians they should have the right to change the name to what they feel is proper. It’s their school now let them call it what they want. On a side note just please don’t call them the steeplechasers.

Anonymous, Class of 2006

  • Support or oppose: Support—While I think the Indians could have originally been made the mascot in an effort to honor the Lenape Indians who lived here before us, I just don’t think it’s achieving that any longer. There are myriad mascots Unionville could have that do not single out anything ethnic group, controversial or otherwise.
  • Why do you care about the mascot: I care that Unionville is accurately represented by something that doesn’t offend groups of people, especially people who have been categorically oppressed throughout the history of the United States of America.
  • Purpose of the Identity Council: I believe it’s a group of students at Unionville who joined together to discuss issues like this, that affect the community at large.
  • Additional thoughts: I think very simply that a group of primarily upper middle class white people should not be able to dictate that something isn’t offensive to a group of people who have been neglected a voice in this conversation (and cannot really comment on this issue because the Lenape were relocated West way before Unionville became a school). Why is it so impossible to change our mascot to something inoffensive while still honoring the area in which we all grew up?

Anonymous, Class of 1991

  • Support or oppose: Support—Support eliminating the defamation of Native Americans and racial overtones.
  • Why do you care about the mascot: Condoning the insensitivity furthers the stigmas of white privilege that UHS can’t seem to shake.
  • Purpose of the Identity Council: To bring UHS into the 21st century.
  • Additional thoughts: The ignorance and vitriol expressed by UHS alumni on various social media platforms with regards to the mere hint of even discussing a change to the mascot, is embarrassing. However, it is not unexpected. Unionville has long held an association with underhanded intolerance. During my years, the extent of our integrated student body could be counted on one hand. The pervasive attitude of “if it doesn’t bother me, it shouldn’t bother you” goes right along with “well that’s the way it’s always been.” Growth and change seem to be far from the Unionville vernacular, particularly with those who have returned to make their lives there, and more so for those who it would seem have never left.

Jesse Thomas, Class of 2003

  • Support or oppose: Did not specify—I’m pretty apathetic about it. The ‘Indian’ mascot has always struck me as being rather anachronistic. Like a Sergio Leone Spaghetti Western, the mythos of the Indian was long past waning when I traversed UHS’ hallowed halls. It felt odd to have it as a mascot, it was something that people of my age, and no doubt yours, had trouble connecting with. In an earlier age, an Indian mascot must have engendered a vision of fierce, noble people not treaded lightly upon. I’m not sure people my age or younger can really understand or comprehend that. I sure don’t. However, the mascot is irrevocably tied to my times there and the times of all alumni at our little school. Despite my personal apathy towards our mascot, it ties me to my colleagues just a little bit. I’d go so far to say that rejecting it seems, in a small way, to reject me and my comrades in education just a little bit. If the Identity Council/student body deem it fit to change the mascot, I beg you not do it for weak issues of political correctness, but rather for reasons of needing to make our mascot great again. Go UHS _______!
  • Why do you care about the mascot: Meh.
  • Purpose of the Identity Council: Tough one. I reckon they seek to make UHS more inclusive, somehow.
  • Additional thoughts: Please don’t let the mascot be ‘Mascoty McMascotface.’

Anonymous, Class of 1997

  • Support or oppose: Support—I support changing the mascot because the representation of Native Americans in this context is shot-through with stereotypes. Even the positive stereotypes (brave warriors, honorable nature-people, etc) are one-dimensional and don’t contribute anything to understanding the actual history of Native Americans in America.
  • Why do you care about the mascot: went to Unionville, I was a proud editor of the *Indian* Post for three years, and this is an issue that affects my community. Also, growing up in one of the one percent of nonwhite families in Birmingham township, this issue has a symbolic dimension for me as well. I loved growing up in Chadds Ford, but there was a myopia there, as well as implicit and explicit racism. It wasn’t till well after I graduated that I realized that events that seemed normal to me growing up were actually really wrong. In light of that, the intensity of the white opposition to changing the mascot feels very emblematic of other white opposition to civil rights changes throughout history. And it therefore feels more important to take a stand on this admittedly symbolic issue.
  • Purpose of the Identity Council: I’m not sure, but what I’ve surmised is: “To raise questions about the use of the Indian mascot at UHS”?
  • Additional thoughts: Thanks for doing this survey. The Indian Post team has been an amazing example of the power of student journalism during this whole issue—bravo.

Rahul Doraiswamy, Class of 2015

  • Support or oppose: Support.
  • Why do you care about the mascot: As flattered as I am that the mascot is named after the Indian people, I think they have us confused with someone else.
  • Purpose of the Identity Council: Not sure. The name is a bit strange though.
  • Additional thoughts: You may find that more people are willing to listen if you change the name of the organization “Identity Council.” It creates a preconceived notion that you are trying to push a “Politically Correct agenda.” That being said, I don’t really have any suggestions as to what you could rename the group. I wish I could be of further help on that front.

James J. Robinson Jr., Class of 2008

  • Support or oppose: Oppose—Unlike depictions such as the Cleveland Indians logo or the Washington Redskins name, I personally do not believe Unionville’s high school mascot nor team name is overtly offensive to any Native American group or tribe. Granted, I nor a majority of Unionville graduates are Native American in descent, I still feel as though the mascot and name in question do not negatively affect those aforementioned groups in their daily lives nor in the grand scheme of things…
  • Why do you care about the mascot: Primarily because I feel the opposition to keeping the mascot and team name intact have nothing better to do than to split hairs and raise hell over something so inconsequential as this.
  • Purpose of the Identity Council: I assume to get to the bottom of the issue at hand and to attempt to civilly, cordially and “democratically” ameliorate the quandary regarding the teams name and mascot.
  • Additional thoughts: Keep the mascot and name as it has been. It’s not inherently damaging nor malicious in any way shape or form!

Anonymous, Class of 2004

  • Support or oppose: Support—We don’t live in India, so “Indians” is wrong and the word shouldn’t be used in public schools. the mascot does not even represent the local Lenni Lenape natives (saw a picture of a Mohican represented for Unionville and a Plane’s “Indian” represented for Unionville). The voice of the Lenni Lenape can’t be represented when the tribe was intentionally and successfully decimated and the last full-blooded member was forced into the local mental institute against her will and her land taken from her. It’s disgusting that some of the ancestors of the perpetrators who killed /relocated/mistreated these people are trying to protect the right to mock them
  • Why do you care about the mascot: Unionville taught all sorts of misinformation, from the word “Indian” to the idea that Christopher Columbus “discovered” a land that was already inhabited by people. A sort of “education” (more like “programing”/ in layman’s terms: “brainwashing”) that say land CAN POSSIBLY be discovered while other PEOPLE lived there is a very real racist and outdated insinuation that those natives are LESS THAN human. Also, Christopher Columbus never even set foot on the land we now call the United States. He was a Caribbean slave trader. That miseducation alone is enough for anybody who wasn’t indoctrinated by a school consisting of over 90 percent white, wealthy, conservative Christians to see the racist undertones to obvious historical fabrication taught to us and continued to be taught to our children.
  • Purpose of the Identity Council: For the students to take control over their own mascots’ future instead of conceding to the conservative old farts who think back at the “good old times” of their racially biased past.
  • Additional thoughts: This is really about the reputation of future generations in our local school district that we are all proud of. I am most proud of the current students who decided that the “good old times” type thinking is outdated and have addressed this head on in the face of the majority of conservative white population in our district. Also, many forget to acknowledge that Martin Luther King spoke at our school, and that should be the basis of pride and should thrive in the hearts of people who want to make a difference in the face of adversity

Anonymous, Class of 2009

  • Support or oppose: Support—The mascot should probably be changed—if it was the ‘Unionville Negroes’ people’d [people would] likely see the inherent issue involved. Native Americans don’t really have a political voice in the United States so people are less inclined to hear their point of view—almost all Native American political groups are universally against this sort of mascot. I think it’s pretty unbecoming of my Alma Mater (particularly the vitriol in response to the idea), but at the end of the day it’s kind of near the bottom of the list of things I think about.
  • Why do you care about the mascot: Honestly, I don’t really. The team could be called the Unionville Route 926’s for all I care. If the mascot wasn’t offensive to 5.1 million Americans, that’d be swell. If it stays the way it is, hey, it’s no big surprise. Is it any wonder that a school district that was specifically gerrymandered to encompass the absurdly wealthy and dominantly white towns of Unionville and Chadds Ford doesn’t give a damn about how minorities feel? Seems like that’d be the null hypothesis.
  • Purpose of the Identity Council: I’d probably have to google it. Seems to me like a group of students wanted to get involved and do something productive.
  • Additional thoughts: Quick note that I currently live abroad (South China), so I wouldn’t be able to attend any meetings or anything. Good to see you guys are staying serious in the face of such…nonsense. Whatever happens to this, it’s always awesome to see such initiative.

Anonymous, Class of 1991

  • Support or oppose: Oppose—This is absolutely ridiculous.
  • Why do you care about the mascot: The identity council? Maybe these kids could recommend full day kindergarten, second language in elementary, woodshop, metal shop.
  • Purpose of the Identity Council: Hyper sensitive nonsense
  • Additional thoughts: We have serious issues at Unionville, mascot names not being one of them. I mean, suspensions don’t count anymore, like The ARD program for adult dui offenders. (Smh) Perhaps the council should examine the district administrators’ decisions

Gillian Fitzpatrick, Class of 2009

  • Support or oppose: Support—“Indian” is a racist word brought about by ignorance. I’ve spent years of my life working to advance the rights of indigenous people around the world and it’s incredibly difficult to overcome the ignorance of the general white population. You can’t claim “history” or “why are they angry about it now” when this group historically had no voice for centuries. Additionally, my time at Unionville was stepped in subtle and obvious racism. I watched my black classmates be threatened with lynching (they were threatened that they would be tied to the back of my other classmate’s truck while he drove down RR 82.) I heard the rumors of my classmates stumbling upon a KKK rally out in a field one night. I listened to teachers and parents tell me that I “lived in the bubble of Unionville” without knowing what that meant until years later. You can’t solve racism by throwing books about slavery on the required summer reading list. There needs to be context and real discussion and it’s about time that Unionville initiated a real dialogue instead of pushing our heads under the sand about yet another problem in our district.
  • Why do you care about the mascot: Honestly, I don’t, in the grand scheme of things. Anyone holding on so tightly to a high school mascot has an emotional problem they need to deal with. This is largely a non-issue and has no impact on even local “history.”
  • Purpose of the Identity Council: I thought the purpose was to open a dialogue about the mascot, though it could be broader than that.
  • Additional thoughts: I hope this gives you some insight into how baby boomers overreact to every little change. It’s great experience, because it doesn’t get easier when you start working. Hopefully, most will be retired by then. But don’t feel like you did anything wrong, and keep asking questions. You should never be told to sit down, shut up, and just listen to older people. The community supports your critical thinking.

ANONYMOUS, CLASS OF 2000

  • Support or oppose: Oppose—I oppose changing the mascot because it’s not a frivolous mascot but instead one that has meaning to the community and the origins of the area. I understand the need to be politically correct in certain situations but I find it hard to believe that there is anything demeaning about using the mascot of an Indian. I understand where MLB and NFL have challenges with the wahoo logo of the Indians or the redskin name but no one is talking about changing the name of the Cleveland Indians nor do they discuss changing the name of the Kansas City Chiefs or the Seminoles. There is a place for political correctness but then there is creating problems where there aren’t any. At Unionville, with this mascot, is a place where we are creating problems where there aren’t any.
  • Why do you care about the mascot: I care because it’s a part of this community and as a person that played and coached athletics at this school it is very important part of me.
  • Purpose of the Identity Council: not sure they have a purpose other than to look at this one issue.

Anonymous, Class of 1993

  • Support or oppose: Oppose—We are honoring the positive qualities of indigenous people who lived in this area before us. Bravery, strength, loyalty.
  • Why do you care about the mascot: I don’t necessarily care about it—I feel there are more important issues that should be addressed within the district. This is not a priority as far as I’m concerned.
  • Purpose of the Identity Council: Not sure, but I know it is concerned with more than just the mascot issue
  • Additional thoughts: Look at the other Chesmont teams—Warriors, Vikings, Braves, Red Devils, Blue Demons, Red Raiders. Indians is by far the least objectionable team name. Maybe the identity council should reach out to other schools first.

Anonymous, Class of 1967

  • Support or oppose: Oppose—I oppose changing the Indians mascot because it stands for the history of the area and the brave Indians who lived in this area for many years. Traditions are important to schools as well as individuals. Their symbolism strengthens us and give us pride and courage to go forth and achieve much in this world. The Indian mascot needs to remain and continue to lead future generations to fulfill their dreams. To do away with the Indian mascot would be a huge miscarriage of justice.
  • Why do you care about the mascot: The mascot over the years has given spirit and excitement to sporting events. The Indian has brought us together as a school and as a community. The mascot reminds us of our rich heritage and not be lost to some fickle idea to change. The pride of Unionville should continue being led by the Indian with pride for school, family and community.
  • Purpose of the Identity Council: I personally am not sure but in my opinion it is a waste of time and money. As the mascot does not need to change in any way.
  • Additional thoughts: Time and money should be used to work on the drinking and drug problems that exist throughout our schools rather than trying to do away with a tradition that has been proudly used for decades.

Anonymous, 2010

  • Support or oppose: Support—While no harm is intended it is still disrespectful to Native Americans.
  • Why do you care about the mascot: Because I have always felt this way about it but had no avenue to voice that.
  • Purpose of the Identity Council: Still don’t know.

Anonymous, Class of 2013

  • Support or oppose: Support—There needs to be the understand that just because something doesn’t offend you does not mean it is not offensive. It truly shows privileged to say “well I’m not offended so everyone else needs to calm down.” It really isn’t anyone’s place to tell others to be silent and be okay with something they are unhappy about/do not support. Also, not only is it just blatantly incorrect to refer to Native Americans as Indians, but it is mind-boggling to me to have a whole host of majority ethnically white Americans telling people to stop being offended by them playing dress-up with someone’s heritage (a heritage/background that many probably do not really know anything about). It is just unfortunate to see so many people unwilling to even discuss change, a change that is wanted by the CURRENT student body.
  • Why do you care about the mascot: I don’t…not to sound harsh but it is a high school mascot. I am not a student at Unionville High School anymore and therefore I feel like if current students want this change it is my place to support them. I have the memories I have from high school, changing the mascot isn’t going to alter that at all…that’s what I don’t understand. My connection is with the school, no matter if the mascot is an Indian or a wolf or whatever people decide to change it to.
  • Purpose of the Identity Council: Honestly no idea.

 

Anonymous, Class of 2012

Support or oppose: Oppose—I strongly oppose…Unionville and the surrounding area in which students hail from has a rich Indian/Native American History and through the Indians mascot we are reminded who cultivated the warrior ethos that students embody whether it be in academics, sports, music, theater, craft…etc. Most people agree it is not racist mascot as seen in the alumni posts and polls. I think these students just want to incite an argument at the expense of ethnic group they are not even a member of..

Purpose of the Identity Council: Seems to me their purpose is pathetic. You cannot please everyone in life and if you try to, you’ll have no life.

Additional thoughts: Unionville students are sheltered…thankfully my parents had the grace to make sure I was never spoiled and treat everyone with respect. The Unionville bubble is small, and the world is a big place filled with good and bad. Unionville kids are at a disadvantage when they go off to college and graduate college because it is vastly different than being coddled in the school district.

Anonymous, 1990

Support or oppose: Oppose—I oppose this. Changing the mascot is like changing the schools identity, the Indians was chosen to honor the history of our area and to support the fighting spirit of the Indians.

Why do you care about the mascot: I care because changing the mascot is part of changing history. It’s a symbol of history and pride of the community and you can’t change that. I equate changing the mascot to taking down statues of historical significance. First the mascot then what the name? Proud to be a Unionville Indian!

Additional thoughts: I feel the Unionville community and alumni have the right to vote on this matter and attend any future meetings on this matter. Also, I have a person of Native American decent in my church. I asked them about this topic and they do not feel offended by a mascot. I think you all should leave well enough alone and focus on the real problem in your school such a bullying, drugs and alcohol abuse. Have your Identity Council focus on that.

Susan Quirk, Class of 1972

Support or oppose: Oppose—The UHS Indian is representative of the Lenape Indians that are a part of the UCF community history & heritage.

Why do you care about the mascot: The Indian is synonymous with UHS history & UCF community heritage.

Purpose of the Identity Council: I live out of state now, so am not fully up on the purpose of the council. But I’m sure it involves being sensitive & responsive to individual cultures.

Additional thoughts: There should be no shame in our UHS Indian mascot because it proudly represents the Lenape Indians who FIRST lived in the community. “FIRST” being the operative word! “FIRST” is where UHS is and strives to be, in academics & athletics!!

Anne Hawkins, Class of 2007

Support or oppose: Support—It’s 2018. It’s time to recognize that cultures are not costumes. Even when I was at Unionville, the line was that the mascot was meant to “honor” the Lenni Lenape people, but I don’t see how that works when the “chief” printed on everything was a depiction of a Plains nation warrior; when the mascot on the field at pep rallies was a white kid wearing face paint, a headdress, and other regalia that never belonged to the Lenni Lenape people; when even the “local interest” curriculum taught about the Lenni Lenape as a dead people when they are, in fact, very much alive, and say plainly on their tribal website that they find this type of mascot offensive.

Why do you care about the mascot: Unionville prides itself on being a leader and a top school. We can’t be those things while also holding on to an offensive, outdated mascot.

Purpose of the Identity Council: I’m not 100 percent sure; I don’t follow area news closely because I moved to New Hampshire after college.

Additional thoughts: I’m thrilled that current students are thinking critically about this issue and pushing for change, but I’m appalled at the number of alumni who are holding on to the old mascot simply because it’s the one they had in their school days. As graduates who are willing to brag about being graduates, their lack of critical thinking reflects poorly on the school, and damages our reputation nearly as much as our offensive and outdated mascot.

Dion Cini, Class of 1987

Support or oppose: Support—Because they are not worthy of having such a namesake, tied to something with such great pride and traditions.

Purpose of the Identity Council: To point fingers and say “your generation was racist, but ours is not, we are better than previous generations”. That is their purpose.

Anonymous, Class of 1989

Support or oppose: Oppose—Unionville Indians were established over 70 years ago and all has been fine, Lenape Indians occupied the lands that are now school property. When the choice for a mascot was needed our founders chose to honor the history of the land and its heritage by calling Unionville the Unionville Indians. The Indians have been supported, honored, and respected for many years. It’s not racist, nor disrespectful in any means, on the contrary it is in respect of our local history. I find it very disrespectful to the founders, alumni, and members of the community (ones with more than five year history here) and pompous of the individuals that feel they have the right to change it.

Why do you care about the mascot: Being a third generation and my children fourth, Alumni and also generational landowner of the school district, I chose to honor history respect the tradition of the Unionville Indians.

Purpose of the Identity Council: Honestly I believe it is a group of students that were assembled to front the agenda of certain members of the administration. I do feel that they naively think they are making a difference to better the world, I applaud their enthusiasm, yet this is surely not a choice for a small group of students to make (honestly they just don’t have enough life experience to fully understand, and are an extension of the administration and their parents)

Additional thoughts: All above is just my opinion and every Member of the School District is entitled to one. If this issue is of that importance it should be voted on by every member of the school district. (Member of the school district is key here) Not a select few nor a online post open to everyone. No more costly changes should be done either (such as the change to the center of the gym floor to the large U).

If the Identity council really wants to help someone help identify and support the students that are not one of the Unionville cookie cutters, the student that might think a little outside the box, or learn in a little different way. Work to allow teachers to teach again not just administer core testing. Bottom line folks this is a public school not private. I think that gets forgotten by parents and the administration.

Anonymous, Class of 2008

Support or oppose: Support—I support change and progress with each passing generation. The world is changing into one where the traditions of the past are no longer the grounds for how we should act in the future. I support the change of the UHS mascot to move and be fluid with the demands of the future generations who go to Unionville. A mascot change will not change the past, it will only impact the future.

Why do you care about the mascot: I don’t care WHO the mascot is. I care about change, progress, and moving forward. And if the current generation of UHS feels that the mascot should change, we should respect their ideals and viewpoints. We should also respect the feelings of the minority groups in the area who state that the UHS Indians have been a disrespectful mascot in their eyes.

Purpose of the Identity Council: To identify the wants and needs of the multi-generational UHS alumni and student-base. They act appropriately and according to the mass demands, wishes, and desires of those who care about Unionville High School.

Anonymous, Class of 2010

Support or oppose: Support—The cheers that we did as students were extremely racist (“What are we gonna do?” “Scalp ’em!”) And therefore the mascot should be changed.

Why do you care about the mascot: While it does not affect me whatsoever, it is important that future alumni and students grow up being respectful.

Purpose of the Identity Council: Unsure.

Andrew M. Romine, Class of 2012

Support or oppose: Oppose—The mascot doesn’t seem inherently to be an issue, and this controversy appears to have been brought to light by those preempting an offense. That being said, a high school mascot isn’t worth the negative publicity generated through this controversy that could otherwise tarnish what is a well-run and accomplished public school. Traditions, when not harmful, should be maintained as they build a sense of community; however, the mascot of our high school does not represent something more important than the reputation of Unionville, which has assisted students in achieving what might otherwise be impossible.

Why do you care about the mascot: The mascot seems to be respectfully paying acknowledgement to the heavy Lenape presence in the UCFSD area, which is reflected around the district. However, changing the mascot would not reflect a lack-of-care in the aforementioned regard and would rather simply be a shift away from what has become an ingrained tradition.

Purpose of the Identity Council: To seek out problems that don’t exist and fix issues that were unbroken.

Additional thoughts: Keeping or changing the mascot is of limited importance, but a prolonged and vicious debate regarding the change could irrevocably damage Unionville in the public eye.

Anonymous, Class of 1995

Support or oppose: Support—The Indian mascot can be considered racist and perpetuated stereotypes.

Purpose of the Identity Council: My understanding is that it was created to research whether or not to change the Unionville logo and/or mascot.

Additional thoughts: I graduated in 1995 and my family left the area the following year. I lived there for 13 years and to date that is the longest I’ve lived anywhere. I was a cheerleader at the middle and high school for five years and my older brother was even the mascot for a year or so while I was there. I say all this so you have a little understanding about my history with the mascot.

About three summers ago I was on a trip in Colorado with my husband and decided to go zip lining. As the guide was instructing me on how to put on the gear I noticed his name tag. I couldn’t see it clearly so asked him where he was from and sure enough he was from Unionville, PA. Who would’ve thought that two Unionville graduates twenty+ years apart would cross paths in the mountains of Colorado?! We had a great time reminiscing about Unionville High School and the area. It was great to hear that some (although not many) teachers were still there. It was great, even if just for an afternoon, to have a connection with someone about Unionville especially since I really didn’t go back after high school. There was no discussion about the Unionville Indians just Unionville High School. The mascot wasn’t a criteria for us to bond about having been to the same high school.

I hope I’ve offered a unique perspective but I imagine many graduates moved far and wide. I think it is clear from my story that I don’t identify Unionville High School with its mascot. I think it is great that students raised this sensitive topic and want to research it further. As a former cheerleader I do ask that if you do change the mascot please don’t pick one with more than three syllables or too many letters! Good luck.

Ann Swinburn, Class of 1993

Support or oppose: Support—Because I do not believe that groups of people are appropriate mascots, and i believe that the Indian mascot has been used for decades in a harmful and derogatory way toward Native American people. It’s racist and cruel and should stop. The “war chop” that fans and marching band members and cheerleaders did during my time at Unionville still gives me the chills to this day of how racist it was.

Why do you care about the mascot: Because I believe that all human beings should be treated with dignity and respect.

Purpose of the Identity Council: I don’t know.

Anonymous, Class of 1976

Support or oppose: Oppose—The Indian mascot has been the mascot for three generations of my family. Even if the mascot changes, we will always be proud Unionville Indians!

Why do you care about the mascot: The Indian represents people that were resourceful and respectful of our land.

Purpose of the Identity Council: I do not know. I am wondering what happened to create a group called the Identity Council.

Additional thoughts: One value of the Lenape was working together to make decisions through group discussions for the good of their people. I hope that our Unionville community values this Lenape tradition.

Douglas Thompson, Class of 1981

Support or oppose: Oppose—I am convinced that there is no good reason to change the name or stop using American Indian imagery. It is not disrespectful to Native Americans, nor is it in any way inappropriate.

Why do you care about the mascot: I don’t, really. I just find all this to be much ado about nothing.

Purpose of the Identity Council: I applaud the students for looking into the issue. I hope they learn something from all this. I know there has been a lot of rancorous debate. Whatever it’s stated purpose, I hope the Identity Council learns something from all this that may be helpful to them individually when tackling life’s big problems later in life.

Additional thoughts: It is often true that when an issue comes up the first urge is to “do something” about it. This is sometimes unwise. Talk it over, debate the pros and cons, and most of all LISTEN to other voices, even those you don’t agree with. Taking no action at all can be the wisest choice at times. Whatever decisions are finally adopted, they should be beneficial to the greatest number.

Anonymous, Class of 2010

Support or oppose: Support—I support changing the mascot since I feel that the “Indian” is not only outdated but I think we can do better than to use a race of indigenous peoples as a mascot. I’m surprised that this had not come up for discussion while I was a student at Unionville.

Why do you care about the mascot: I care in that I would like to see the mascot changed to something else, but I am by no means hung up on the current mascot. As far as I’m concerned it is up to the current staff and student body of Unionville HS to make the decision to change the mascot. Past alumni are no longer students so our opinion shouldn’t really matter, it doesn’t affect us.

Purpose of the Identity Council: I’m under the impression that this is a student led group that aims to study the schools identity and implement change if needed.

Additional thoughts: Thank you all for bringing this up for discussion, I am ashamed at the community backlash from past alumni who now suddenly feel that they need to defend a mascot for a school that they no longer attend. If it is time to change then it should be up to the CURRENT student body and faculty ✌🏼

Sara Dunn (Samuelson), Class of 1993

Support or oppose: Support—I support the change. Recently, the use of the Indian as a mascot has been as respectful as possible. There are no silly caricature drawn, they are not portrayed as savages, and that move should be applauded. The next step, is to come to the realization that people are not mascots. Having the Indian as a mascot is stating that they are equivalent to animals or objects. Obviously, this is not what the current student body, nor the alumni think. We all know that Indians are people, so why do we want to degrade them to the same level as a lion, or blue hen, or shark? Their heritage is theirs. They are humans with a culture. There is an argument that keeping the mascot is a way to honor those who lived here before us. Is that the best way to honor them? To ask them to lead your cheers? Wouldn’t it be a wonderful honor to invite the remaining Lenni Lenapes to the school to teach about their culture. To tell them, we know this is where you came from, and we want to have you here now. A statue, or a plaque, visitor information site. These are examples of how to honor.

Why do you care about the mascot: I care about the current students at UHS, not the mascot. This was never a spoken issue when I was there, and that’s my embarrassment. Why didn’t we care, how were we so ignorant. I don’t want this shame to hang over the current students too. I want them to hold their heads high, and say, we addressed this, and we fixed this. I want them to be inspired about their strengths and power for making change.

Purpose of the Identity Council: To review who UHS would like to be.

Additional thoughts: Thank you for this opportunity. It is wonderful that you have reached out to the alumni for their opinions. At the end of the day, this is now your school. This choice is yours.

Barbara Bruhin Kenney, Class of 1981

Support or oppose: Support—In my opinion, the tragic removal and inappropriate naming of the First Nations People in our area is too great to be reduced to a high school mascot. However, if students feel that they can move forward keeping the mascot with great respect and continued education for all, then, it is their right to make that choice without being pushed by alumni.

Why do you care about the mascot: I feel strongly that the conversation that is taking place is an important step forward as our nation’s people haltingly interpret the words “All men are created equal.”

Purpose of the Identity Council: For students and staff to explore thoughts on the use of the name “Indian” as it relates to our culture’s changing understanding of human dignity in a multicultural society and to consider the option of respectfully keeping the name or suggesting new options.

Additional thoughts: My hope is that First Nations students who walk through the doors of Unionville High School will be allowed the same human dignity as every other student in the building. It is up to the current students and staff to meet with local First Nations Leaders and educate themselves on how to move forward.

Anonymous, Class of 1993

Support or oppose: Support—My favorite argument in favor of keeping the mascot is always about some sense of “honoring” Indians. The vast majority of people who make this argument can’t tell you 10 non-stereotypical things about any given Indian person, whether Lenape or not. They want the benefit without having to do the work. Tired stereotypes about “honor” or “bravery” or “warriors” or whatever totally gloss over the systematic oppression the US government has used against its native population since white settlers first arrived. (Just look at newspaper comments about Indian gaming to see how we haven’t evolved as a society since the 1800s.)

Why do you care about the mascot: Cultures aren’t mascots—making a culture into a mascot is a way to systematically dehumanize an entire population (and yeah, I’m not fond of “Irish” as a mascot name either)

Evan Dupuis, Class of 2013

Support or oppose: Support—Because it doesn’t matter.

Why do you care about the mascot: I don’t

Purpose of the Identity Council: To anger former UHS football players who miss their glory days.

Additional thoughts: This really isn’t a big deal. Just change it, or don’t. It doesn’t matter.

James Klotz, Class of 1984

Support or oppose: Oppose—The Mascot was adopted to honor the Lenni Lenape Tribe decades ago. As a direct descendant of the tribe I object and believe the Mascot should not be changed due to political correctness or the whim of a few students who have no heritage or roots in the area and who may feel they are doing something important. There are many other ways they can leave their mark in this world and do something important. Changing the Mascot would damage Unionville not help it and honoring the Lenni Lenape would end, in a few generations it would all be forgotten and the students who changed it gone from the area and forgotten as well. Please reconsider your actions.

Why do you care about the mascot: As a direct descendant of the Lenni Lenape, I strongly care about the honoring of the Tribe.

Purpose of the Identity Council: When I hear about any type of council on identity I think of Progressive Liberal Political Correctness, which has no place in our school. Unless these students are Lenni Lenape they cannot Identify with the Tribe or a member of the race. Maybe they need to identify with who THEY are and not who the Lenni Lenape are nor matters that concern us. They need to find their current day Identity and leave ours alone. Their Council actions offend me.

Additional thoughts: The remaining Lenni Lenape who have commented on this action and attempt have objected. An action to change the Mascot is not up to the students, it is the decision of the adult community (Tax Payers). If one were to interject the Constitution (Pennsylvania or Federal) into the argument then the students would lack any Constitutional Authority to force their will upon the community or even express their concern unless they are the age of Majority (18) because they lack many Constitutionally Protected Rights until that time. Not to mention the TORT (Administrative Claim for Damages Act) that may ensue by those in the community who may feel damaged by such actions against the honoring of their race and Heritage.

Anonymous, Class of 1959

Support or oppose: Oppose—The history of the Unionville Chadds Ford School District goes way back and living in this area all our lives will leave a void of memories that many of us cherish. Be proud of your school and a mascot that presents history of our area. I guess they (Identity Council) don’t cherish that which was from long ago.

Why do you care about the mascot: I graduated from this school with pride, with a mascot that gave us that feeling of pride, whether in academics, sports, band or anything that involved the school.

Purpose of the Identity Council: I understand that the students are the Identity Council. If so, should they not talk to the senior citizens who know the history and why this mascot was chosen.

Additional thoughts: Please know that many of us were stunned at this request from students, some of whom have not or will not live in this area for many years. As a senior citizen I would like to ask that you call some of us for good info on this great school district and a mascot that should stay.

Anonymous, Class of 2007

Support or oppose: Support—Because it is racist.

Why do you care about the mascot: Because racism should be tackled where ever it can, in ones own community.

Additional thoughts: No one wants to be put in a box. When you use an image of an entire group of people that describes them as ‘warriors’, or ‘noble savages’, or ‘bloody, fierce competitors’, that has an affect on how Native Americans see themselves, as well as, how popular culture sees them. The image itself may be a positive one, but the negative comes from having to alter your own image of yourself to fit the narrative created for you; A narrative that is both untrue of their culture as well as their history. This is problematic because the people using the image do not see it as negative, and even some people who identify as Native Americans do not see it as negative. It is only in the broader, ideological sense that we can see clearly how stereotypes minimize growth within racial groups and furthers divides between minorities and white culture.

Opinions and polling to suggest that certain people or groups may or may not find such racially oppressive symbology as offensive is without merit, because such imagery was created and perpetuated at a time of great racial iniquity. Those racist ideologies are no longer acceptable in modern society and therefore should be stripped as symbols to portray racially discriminated peoples in such a light. Rather than rewrite their histories and describe them as honorable or celebratory, it is more effectual to remove them entirely.

Since culture has moved on from its racially insensitive past, so should its symbols that may promote a stereotypical view of certain races. Stereotypes, both positive and negative, have power in forming greater racial divides; Therefore, no racial stereotype should be accepted as a sports mascot.

Carolyn Loveland, Class of 1980

Support or oppose: Oppose—If the purpose of changing the mascot is to avert racism I honestly think that this is a short term solution to a very complicated long term problem. Changing the mascot will take away the Indian name but what does it really teach us? What results are we expecting if the mascot name is changed? That changing a name makes racism disappear or be diminished? I’m not sure that will happen.

I would rather see this used as a teaching tool to educate students, administrators, and community members what the Indian represents, its historic origins , how we can incorporate those lessons into the educational system, learn why and how racism exists, and how we can reduce and prevent it from occurring in our future.

In some of the comments from previous Facebook postings there were high schools (in the US) that kept their mascot name but incorporated lessons and activities into the school curriculum to honor their local history. This is the best of both worlds. The mascot name is kept intact while honoring the the origins of its name.

Why do you care about the mascot: I think it’s part of history. Albeit a small part of history, but if changed we are changing history. Not learning from it.

Purpose of the Identity Council: The Identity Council is a group of students who are concerned about the image of Unionville High School.

Cyrus Kapadia, Class of 2012

Support or oppose: Support—I was to be quite honest a bit indifferent until I read an interview with someone from the Lenni Lenape tribe members—where they found ANY Indian mascot and caricature to be offensive—if that is the case, even if we are saying it is a tribute / an honor, if the ones being “honored” are offended, it is time to change the name.

Why do you care about the mascot: I am a Unionville graduate, and have noticed a lot of anger around the mascot changing in the alumni group. I am very against the people who are attacking the current students who are bringing up this issue to begin with, anyone attacking kids should be ashamed of themselves—and it is a legitimate question. If the Lenni Lenape tribe felt honored by the name, and appreciated it, was included by the school, I would feel differently. But the fact that the only argument in favor of the mascot is “it’s actually a tribute” when the group that is being honored doesn’t feel that way, it means the mascot needs to change.

Purpose of the Identity Council: Not entirely sure—I would say from my limited knowledge is to that the purpose is make sure that Unionville becomes a leader in inclusion issues, and that any student or potential student feels comfortable bringing up important and difficult issues without being attacked or ostracized.

Additional thoughts: I answered “no” to the above questions about attending meetings—I am currently in graduate school and don’t live in the area. I am certainly not indifferent to this issue and would potentially attend if I was closer by. I did enjoy my time at Unionville, and would want any future student to feel welcome.

Nicol Baker, Class of 1999

Support or oppose: Oppose—In my opinion, I feel like it was meant to honor and not to defame.

Why do you care about the mascot: Because I went to UHS and I take pride in that. I didn’t have the best time in school but that doesn’t mean I won’t always feel a part of Unionville.

Purpose of the Identity Council: To determine whether or not the mascot was offensive or inappropriate.

Additional thoughts: I applaud your efforts for wanting to make change and including alumni. Everyone can have an opinion which is the beautiful thing about America. I also applaud the students for acting more like adults than most of the adults on the alumni page. Kudos to all of you and good luck. I’m sure whatever the outcome people will be upset but they will get over it (myself included).

Meg Heaton JD, Class of 1993

Support or oppose: Support—The Indian mascot is hurtful to Native Americans. Mascots should lift everyone up. Ours makes me sad.

Why do you care about the mascot: The Indian mascot is a part of my identity, for better or worse. The genocide of Native Americans was/is tragic, and there is no part of that history that inspires school or community pride in me. Given the choice I would prefer we could all recognize the need for change. It’s time for UHS to grow up and learn from this mistake.

Purpose of the Identity Council: To explore the concept of the mascot and consider whether a change is warranted.

Additional thoughts: I am glad that this is finally being discussed.

 

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