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Camanche School Board to discuss the use of ‘Indian’ nickname and logo

The Superintendent believes it is time to move on from the indigenous stereotype and says he...
The Superintendent believes it is time to move on from the indigenous stereotype and says he does not believe it is appropriate for an educational institution.(Camanche School District)
Published: Mar. 14, 2021 at 8:16 PM CDT
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CAMANCHE, Iowa (KWQC) - The Camanche School Board is planning to discuss and possibly take action regarding the district’s use of a Native American mascot as their logo and as a nickname. Their monthly school board meeting will be Monday, March 15 at 7:30 p.m.

Superintendent Thomas Parker commented to the school board in February’s meeting that he acknowledges the “Indian” mascot has been a part of the school district since 1961 but recognizes now there needs to be a respect for “cultural differences and sensitivities.” He goes on to say he does believe it is time to move on to their future and retire the “Indian” mascot at the end of the school year. He notes no other race other than the indigenous are used as mascots and does not believe having the stereotype is appropriate for an educational institution.

You can read Superintendent Parker’s comments to the school board below:

The topic of the use of Native American mascots is one part of a larger national discussion as evidenced by seeing two nationally prominent professional teams discontinue their use of a Native American mascot. I don’t believe anyone wishes to see their school mascot cause negative feelings for any group of people, be a source of controversy, or have it cause a divisive debate. We do need to acknowledge that no other races of people are used as mascots. As sincerely stated by Lawrence SpottedBird, the Executive Director of the Meskwaki Nation, “All we want is to be thought of and treated as human beings like everyone else. No more, no less.” Although Mr. SpottedBird’s quote speaks for itself, we should recognize that an “Indian” mascot promotes a stereotypical image of Native Americans. To have a stereotype as a mascot does not seem at all appropriate for an educational institution. The “Indian” mascot has been a part of Camanche Schools for the past 60 years. We continue to be proud of the multiple generations of teams, groups, and individuals who saw much success while representing our school and community. I do believe that it is very possible for us to be proud of who we were and to be proud of who we will be. While discussing mascots, Dr. Terry Grier, the former Superintendent of the Houston Independent School District stated, “While traditions matter, nothing is more important than respect for cultural differences and sensitivities.” In closing, I do believe it is now time to prepare the school district to focus on our future, while yet respecting our past. With that final thought, I recommend that the Camanche School District retires the “Indian” mascot at the end of this current school year.

More information from the Camanche School district on the mascot discussion is available by clicking here.

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