Recently, the Unionville Indian has been the center of controversy. Debates on whether the “Indian” should be retained as the mascot have risen throughout Student Council meetings, and alternatives for the switch have been discussed. Mr. Conley has even visited the leader of a Native American tribe to receive his opinion on the mascot. Ultimately, the tribe leader declared the use of the word “Indian” itself is acceptable in certain situations; however, the leader did suggest the use of other animals respected by the tribe, such as a wolf, as an alternate mascot.
Unionville should change their mascot from an “Indian” to another symbol. The use of the Unionville “Indian” was originally for respect to the local tribes that resided around the school district; however, how is using a race as a mascot culturally appropriate?
If there was a school using “Asians” or “Whites” as their mascot, they would immediately be scrutinized for using improper racial references as a symbol for their school. The Indians are no different a race than Asians, Caucasians, Africans, or any other races and ethnicities. In order to truly respect Native Americans, Unionville High School must change its mascot. Using a race as a symbol not only for a school, but also for sports, is culturally inappropriate. Changing from the Unionville Indian to another figure is a necessary switch that should not only be discussed in Student Council or the Administration, but throughout the entire school district, including students and their families. Substituting the historic mascot of Unionville High School may produce arguments of changing our identity along with it, but the “Indian” must be changed not only to prevent the use of a racial epithet as a symbol, but to set a standard for other schools across the U.S.