The NFL and MLB have become battlegroundsfor a social debate that has gotten very loud over the last decade.
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The question is whether Native-American mascots are offensive? As society changes and public opinion sways, the question is being asked on all levels of athletics. Recently, the New York State Board of Regents simplified the issue for school districts throughout New York this week. According to ABC 7, the board voted unanimously to prohibit the use of Native American themed images, names and mascots.
Team mascots and logos are expected to be changed by the end of the 2024-2025 season. Any schools who do not comply with the ruling will be denied state funding. This mascot ban will impact dozens of schools in New York State, including the Mahopac Indians.
By My Count
I raised questions about this in a December 2022 article titled: "Do You Think Mahopac High School Will Change it's Nickname from the Indians?" In the article, I ran two informal polls, asking readers to share their opinion on two questions, will Mahopac change it's mascot and are Native American mascots offensive. These are the results as of (4/19/23).
Do you think Mahopac Will Change it's Mascot?
Yes - 55.37%
No - 44.63%
Do You Find Native American Mascots Offensive?
I Do - 70.94%
I Do Not - 20.51%
I Don't But I Could Understand if Native Americans do - 8.55%
The Change is Happening
The mascot name change is no longer a question, it's a certainty.In January 2023, The Examiner News published an article laying out the framework for the process. According to the report, the name change will be worked on by the "Mascot Selection Committee" which is made up of around 60 individuals "representing diverse perspectives in the community."
That committee will be responsible for selecting a field of options to present to the students. Those options will then be shared with Mahopac students ages K-12th gradeand put to a vote. According to LoHud,one of those selectioncommittee meetingstook placethis week. The LoHud report states:
Mahopac students, parents and community members met privately in the high school cafeteria in the second of three meetings to select finalists for Mahopac’s new mascot. Students from kindergarten through 12thgrade will vote on the finalists in June.
Mahopac Superintendent Christine Tona reportedly denied LoHud access to that meeting. The winner will be announced in June and the mascot logo will be rolled out in September.
A Town Voice
I reached out to former Carmel/Mahopac Town Supervisor Ken Schmitt for his reaction to the impending transition. This is what Schmitt had to say:
"Hey Lou, I strongly believe there's a disconnect between the NYS Board of Regents and the people. The threats of withholding State aid funding ( our money )to School Districts that have Indian mascots is ridiculous and nothing more than extortion tactics. Mahopac people are proud of our strong Indigenous history and culture. We've honored the local Indiantribes for many years as the Mahopac Indians. Any notion or belief that we are somehow discriminating or disrespecting indigenous people is completely absurd andridiculous."
Scmmitt was the town's highest elected official for 14 years. After a few years on the sidelines, Schmitt has decided to run again and has already begun the process.The former Supervisortold us he submitted his Republican Nomination Petitions, collecting 715 signatures.
In the Name of Change
The move for a new mascot has been years in the making. A 2019Change.org petition organized by a 2012 Mahopac grad named Daniel Ehrenpreis hasnearly 8,000 signatures as of today. One petition signer named Ingrid left a petition comment in 2022 that read:
"It is embarrassing that at this point, the district leaders have to be pushed this hard to change the name. They are perpetuating backward and racist thinking."
A Way to Honor Those Who Came Before
Soon after the 2019 petition began to circulate, a counter-petition made the rounds according to the Mahopac Central School district Wikipedia page. The folks in favor of the mascot, argued the name 'Indians' was originally chosen to honor early Native Americans in the region.
It's worth noting that Mahopac Indians apparel is currently on sale for 25% off on the Spirit Shop. It's not immediately clear if that sale has anything to do with the name change.
What About the New Name?
I'm not 100% sure how this move will be received in Mahopac but it will be interesting to see how the town handles the change. The real question is, will they come up with a cool new name or blow it? There are professional marketing and PR people that can't get this type of thing right.
I'm sure the NFL team in Washington hired top-level PR people and marketing advisors when they transitioned away from the Redskins. The absolute best, those brilliant, well paid minds could come up with was "the Commanders!?" That is easily one of the worst names in pro sports. Cleveland's baseball team also spit the bit with "the Guardians."
My bet is that the children of Mahopac will do a better job with this transition than the multi-billion dollar pro sports franchises that have gone through it.
I humbly ask the students of Mahopac to consider the following options:
Mahopac Machine - It's gritty, tough and no one else has it. For the logo you could use a tank.
Mahopac Mailmen - This is a job that once carries great prestige in our country and it's almost completely dead. Let's let our Mailmen and Mail Ladies have their day.
Mahopac Murder - Slow your role, relax. A murder is a large group of crows and that is what I am talking about. How cool would a football helmet look with a bunch of menacing crows on it.
Mahopac Mustangs - You probably already have that one.
Mahopac Malarkey - Malarkey is just fun and funny.
Mahopac Mugwump - A Mugwump is a person who is independent or neutral in their political views. You can smell the irony on this name.
Mahopac Mermaid - This is a big change, big risk, big reward change. In my opinion, you would have to go with a completely different color scheme, moving away from yellow and blue but if we're doing this, let's do it.
Mahopac Centaurs - The Centaur is half man and half horse. You mean to tell me a human with horse legs is not going to dominate at field hockey?
Mahopac Phoenix - This is my favorite mythical creature. The phoenix is a symbol or rebirth, immortality and resurrection. The phoenix rises from the ashes, it cannot be kept down.
In case you could not tell, I'm way into alliteration. Thank you in advance for your consideration.
The Worst Name Change Ever - WCSU
Whenever the matter of mascot name changes comes up, I feel it is my duty to highlight and underscore the worst mascot name-change in history. It's not so much the mascot as the rationale for the change. In April of 2022,Western Connecticut State University changed their mascot from Colonial Chuck to the Wolves.
The reason the University provided was that Chuck was a Minuteman soldier. The Minutemen were soldiers from the Revolutionary War and that was "too violent" a time period in our country's history.
I s--- you not!
I would never s--- you on this
You're not being s---ted.
This is the absolute truth. I said it then and I believe now, WestConn should be embarrassed of the move and I intend to bring it up every chance I get. Apparently, I was in the minority on this because I started a Change.org petition to get them to change it back.
It's been afull year since and the petition has 60 signatures. I realize that is ahorrendous number and I have no real support but I'll go to my grave screaming about how ridiculous that decision was.
Vacant Putnam Lake Properties
Putnam Lake is a Hamlet of the Town of Patterson In Putnam County, NY. Originally, the community was a vacation getaway for city folks who wanted Lake property in the country. Today, it’s not any kind of weekend or destination getaway but a great place to live, I would know, I grew up there. Like any small town, Putnam Lake, NY has its setbacks. It’s difficult to open any business and even harder to keep the doors open. These are some of the long vacant commercial properties of “The Lake.”
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According to ABC 7, the board voted unanimously to prohibit the use of Native American themed images, names and mascots. Team mascots and logos are expected to be changed by the end of the 2024-2025 season. Any schools who do not comply with the ruling will be denied state funding.How many NY schools have Native American mascots? ›
The state's former education commissioner Richard Mills asked schools “to end the use of Native American mascots as soon as practical” back in 2001. However, at least 133 schools in 55 districts still had native-themed mascots as of March 2022, according to a report by the National Congress of American Indians.How many high schools still use Native American mascots? ›
And across the U.S., nearly 2,000 school districts also still feature a Native mascot, according to the National Congress of American Indians.What is the mascot of Mahopac High School? ›
For now, the team mascots for teams at both Mahopac and Ketcham are the Indians – the last schools in the Hudson Valley to retain the mascots that the state Department of Education since 2001 has sought to eliminate.How many teams still have Native American mascots? ›
Although the number has been shrinking, there are currently 1,232 high schools with Native American team names, according to my analysis of data from MascotDB. That includes 411 Indians and 107 Chiefs or Chieftains, and there are still 45 schools that bear the former name of the Washington Football Team.What is the most famous Native American boarding school? ›
For Col. Richard Henry Pratt, the goal was complete assimilation. In 1879, he established the most well known of the off-reservation boarding schools, the Carlisle Indian School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.How many schools use Native American mascots? ›
Such mascot changes follow decades of nationwide advocacy from groups like the National Congress of American Indians. The group recently found that about 2,000 schools continue to use Native American-themed mascots like “chiefs,” “braves,” “Indians,” and “warriors,” often coupled with racist imagery, slogans, or songs.Which state has the most Native American boarding schools? ›
According to a federal report, Oklahoma was home to more Indian boarding schools than any other state. The report, released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of the Interior, was based off a study that identified 408 Indian boarding schools across 37 states since the early 19th century.Are native mascots still a sticking point in high school sports? ›
While advocates have made strides in getting Native American symbols and names changed in sports, they say there's still work to do mainly at the high school level, where mascots like Braves, Indians, Warriors, Chiefs and Redskins persist.What schools use Native American mascots? ›
Eastern Connecticut State University (Warriors) East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania (Warriors) Merrimack College (Warriors) University of North Carolina at Pembroke (Braves) – originally created to educate American Indians, and since its creation has had close ties to the local Lumbee tribe.
What is Mahopac High School's ranking? Mahopac High School ranks among the top 20% of public schools in New York for: Highest overall rank (Top 20%), Highest math proficiency (Top 5%) and Highest graduation rate (Top 10%).What is the most common high school mascot? ›
You'd be unwise to pick a fight with a bulldog bulldog, no matter how cute they may look. It's no wonder the bulldog stands as of the most common high school mascots around today. And why not? Even the name is pretty effective, certainly more intimidating than a Pekingese or Chihuahua!
Mahopac Middle School is ranked #521 in New York Middle Schools.What two sports teams stopped using Indigenous peoples as their mascot? ›
When the Philadelphia Warriors basketball team moved to San Francisco in 1969, they decided to drop the Native American logo in favor of the locally known Golden Gate Bridge (but kept the name). Following student protests, North Dakota's Dickinson State University in 1972 dropped the Savages as the school's mascot.Why is Cleveland no longer the Indians? ›
Dolan believed that a professional sports team should unite a city, not divide it. The Indians had been criticized for decades over their name and use of Chief Wahoo. Dolan said the decision was based on discussions with fans and Native American groups and stakeholders in the team.What did they change the name of the Native American mascot? ›
Following its President's recommendation, along with support from coaches and student government leaders, Southwestern College in Chula Vista, California, wisely elects to change its “Apaches” mascot to “Jaguars.”What is the oldest Indian boarding school in the United States? ›
The first federally run Indian boarding school was the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania, in operation from 1879 to 1918.Are there any Native American boarding schools left? ›
Only four schools exist today: Chemawa, Sherman, Flandreau Indian School in South Dakota and Riverside Indian School in Oklahoma.How many Native American boarding schools are still active? ›
The federal government continues to operate four off-reservation boarding schools for Native American children through the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE), but in 2019, the BIE's deputy assistant secretary Mark Cruz said the schools were “no longer in the business of assimilation” and “their purpose was transformed to ...What is the politically correct way to refer to Native Americans? ›
In the United States, Native American has been widely used but is falling out of favor with some groups, and the terms American Indian or Indigenous American are preferred by many Native people.
In 2005, Chief Illiniwek was one of 19 mascots cited as "hostile or abusive" by the NCAA in a policy that banned schools from full participation in postseason activities as long as they continued to use such mascots.How many states had Native American boarding schools? ›
The investigation found that from 1819 to 1969, the federal Indian boarding school system consisted of 408 federal schools across 37 states or then territories, including 21 schools in Alaska and 7 schools in Hawaii.What were the horrors of Native American boarding schools? ›
According to a new report from the Interior Department released this year, abuse and violence ran rampant. Educators frequently renamed children with English names, cut off hair, prohibited the use of Native languages and religions, and demanded extensive manual labor.Why did Indian boarding schools close? ›
In the late 1800s, the federal government pursued a policy of total assimilation of the American Indian into mainstream American society. In 1918, Carlisle boarding school was closed because Pratt's method of assimilating American Indian students through off-reservation boarding schools was perceived as outdated.What religion were Native American boarding schools? ›
While it doesn't say how many were church-run, an earlier report by the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition found that more than 150 were, about half each by Catholic and Protestant groups.How do Native Americans feel about native mascots? ›
The psychological research is clear — the use of native mascots is detrimental for native people, said study co-author Arianne Eason, assistant professor of psychology at UC-Berkeley. These mascots decrease native individuals' self-esteem, community worth and achievement-related aspirations, she said.Did Oregon ban Native American mascots? ›
On May 17, 2012, the Oregon State Board of Education voted 5-1 to adopt a rule prohibiting Oregon public schools from using Native American names, symbols, or images as school mascots.What is the Native American team name controversy? ›
The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) maintains that names like Redskins perpetuate negative stereotypes of Native Americans, "Often citing a long held myth by non-Native people that 'Indian' mascots 'honor Native people', American sports businesses such as the NFL's Washington 'Redskins'... continue to ...What is the Native American Guardians Association controversy? ›
A group called the Native American Guardians Association (NAGA) sued in the U.S. District Court to block implementation of the bill as violating the constitutional rights of those Native Americans who favor retaining Native names and imagery, asserting that there are culturally-sensitive uses.Why do schools use the same mascot? ›
Your mascot provides a common label for all students, alumni, and faculty―it creates a sense of belonging. Your school mascot unites everyone under one name, makes everyone feel included, and connects students to each other and to the school.
In our culture, traditionally, one was not named at birth. We were gifted a name at an appropriate age based off of elements specific to the that person. This could include (but not limited to) significant happenings to or by the person, or characteristics that define the person.Is Mahopac a good school district? ›
Mahopac High School 2022 Rankings
Mahopac High School is ranked #4,672 in the National Rankings. Schools are ranked on their performance on state-required tests, graduation and how well they prepare students for college.
Mahopac High School is a highly rated, public school located in MAHOPAC, NY. It has 1,337 students in grades 9-12 with a student-teacher ratio of 12 to 1.What is the hardest high school to get into? ›
1. International Academy*, Bloomfield Hills, Mich. 2. Stanton College Prep*, Jacksonville, Fla.What is the #1 high school in America? ›
1. Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology.What high school sends the most students to Harvard? ›
Nationwide, these are the three top schools with the most graduates who registered at Harvard, Princeton or MIT from 2015-18: Thomas Jefferson High School in Alexandria, Virginia: 96; Stuyvesant High School in New York City: 94; and Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire: 87.What is the #1 middle school in America? ›
The Davidson Academy
#1 Best Public Middle Schools in America.
- Stowe Middle School.
- Minnesota Math and Science Academy.
- Lincoln Akerman School.
- Challenge Magnet School-Cherry Creek School District No. ...
- Rabbi Pesach Raymon Yeshiva.
- North Star Middle School.
- Harmon Middle School.
- Falmouth Middle School.
Mahopac Middle School is a highly rated, public school located in MAHOPAC, NY. It has 888 students in grades 6-8 with a student-teacher ratio of 9 to 1.Are Native American mascots banned in the NCAA? ›
In its policy promulgation, the NCAA declared that schools with offensive mascots and imagery could not display their logos on the court or field or on a uniform, nor could they allow students to don the mascot costumes on the sidelines during any postseason play.
New York is the latest state to ban Native American school mascots New York on Tuesday became the latest state in the nation to move to force schools to do away with the use of Native American team names or mascots.Why are Native Americans called Indians? ›
The term "Indian," in reference to the original inhabitants of the American continent, is said to derive from Christopher Columbus, a 15th century boat-person. Some say he used the term because he was convinced he had arrived in "the Indies" (Asia), his intended destination.Why was Chief Wahoo removed? ›
The team moved spring training back to Arizona in 2009 and the use of Chief Wahoo on signage and at the park was discontinued in a response to the large Native American community in the state. This was one of the team's first moves to retire the use of Chief Wahoo.Do Cleveland fans still wear Indians? ›
For most of us, the Cleveland “Guardians” will always be the Cleveland “Indians.” No matter how offensive the left claims that is. In fact, most fans in Cleveland still call them the Indians and still wear Indians gear to the games.Are the Guardians still the tribe? ›
Common nicknames for the Indians were the "Tribe" and the "Wahoos", the latter referencing their longtime logo, Chief Wahoo. After it came under criticism as part of the Native American mascot controversy, the team ceased using the name "Indians" following the 2021 season, and were renamed the "Guardians" for 2022.How many colleges have Native American mascots? ›
The group recently found that about 2,000 schools continue to use Native American-themed mascots like “chiefs,” “braves,” “Indians,” and “warriors,” often coupled with racist imagery, slogans, or songs.What schools have the Aztec mascot? ›
Azusa High's mascot has been Aztecs since the school opened in 1956.What teams use Native Americans as mascots? ›
|Team Name||Sport/League||Year Changed|
|Buffalo Braves||National Basketball Association||1978|
|Burlington Indians||Minor League Baseball||2006|
|Canton/Akron Indians||Minor League Baseball||1996|
|Cleveland Indians||Major League Baseball||2021|
College mascots that gained support from local tribes include the Central Michigan University Chippewas, the Florida State University Seminoles, and the Mississippi College Choctaws.How many high schools have an Indian mascot? ›
The list below for secondary schools in the United States and Canada remains substantial, with 358 teams currently calling themselves "Indians", 113 "Braves", 66 "Chiefs", 156 "Warriors" using Indigenous imagery (there are many with the name using generic, Greek or Roman mascots), and 37 "Redskins".
On the road, their god Huitzilopochtli forbade them to call themselves Azteca, telling them that they should be known as Mexica.What is the new mascot for the Aztecs? ›
Associated Students approve a resolution to oppose the Aztec warrior and hold a student referendum to vote on "non-human" mascots. The Aztec Warrior becomes official through a referendum vote of students and alumni. SDSU debuts "Zuma," a jaguar mascot, at football games.What religion did the Aztecs practice? ›
MATOS MOCTEZUMA: The Aztec religion was primarily polytheist. They had different gods, male and female. The sun god was Tonatiuh. There were many deities, and they were revered in monthly festivities with rich offerings.Are there any Native Americans in the NFL? ›
Today, the NFL includes several Native American players. To name a few, Kansas City Chiefs long snapper James Winchester is of full Choctaw descent. Chicago Bears quarterback Tyler Bray is Potawatomi. Legendary Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has mentioned that he is part Native American.Why did the Indians change their mascot? ›
However, there were still deeply problematic elements specific to the MLB team. Chief Wahoo remained the most stereotypical depiction of Native Americans in sports, and with backlash mounting against the Washington Football Team, Cleveland began phasing out use of the logo.What was the former Indians mascot? ›
Chief Wahoo is a logo that was used by the Cleveland Indians, a Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise based in Cleveland, Ohio, from 1951 to 2018.What was the Indians old mascot? ›
CHIEF WAHOO is a caricature of a Native American that was used from 1947 to 2018 in many facets of the CLEVELAND INDIANS' uniform.