(Focus on Buncombe County(NC) and Clyde A. Erwin H )
Should images of American Indians and American Indian religous symbols and imagery be used as sport mascots?
WNCCEIB & its Mascot Education & Action Group (MEAG) concludes that the answer to this question is "NO".  The time for change is now.

Scroll down through the links below for the situation at Clyde A. Erwin High School in Asheville, North Carolina, the statewide issue in N.C., and the issue in east Tennessee OR for LINKS & RESOURCES on the overall national mascot situation, Click Here

Before you leave, please send an email to the Chair of the Buncombe County Board of Education, Mr. Wendell Begley requesting him to re-open the issue and to eliminate American Indian mascots at Erwin and in the Buncombe Co. (NC) Public Schools. Also, you can contact otherBuncombe County School Board Members or Superintendent or Attorney Thank you!

You may also use this internal search engine to look for specific people or other aspects of the mascot issue:


June 6, 2002,     N.C.State Board of Education Passes Resolution Regarding Indian Sport Mascots
      -Recommended by the N.C. Advisory Council on Indian Education, the Resolution calls on all public schools in North Carolina to "educate themselves on the educational, curricular, and psychological effects of using American Indian sport mascots and logos, and; that all public school administrators review their policies and procedures toward the use of American Indian sport mascots, logos, and all demeaning imagery."

June 5, 2002,     The Charlotte Observer: "Indian mascot moniker at issue: N.C. board may ask schools to revisit images of Native Americans"
      -article by reporter Anna Griffin, the CO's Raleigh Bureau

May 19, 2002,     State School Board Chair corrects April 30, 2002 Asheville Citizen-Times editorial
      -He wants it understood that the State Board is not calling for elimination of Indian mascots but will vote only for school distircts to study and review the issue

May 4, 2002    School Board should reconsider Erwin mascot issue
      -Guest commentary by Dr. Robert Phillips in the Asheville Citizen-Times

May 1, 2002    N.C. Advisory Council on Indian Education presents resolution to NC State Board of Education
      -Associated Press story

April 30, 2002    Asheville Citizen-Times Editorial praises N.C. Advisory Council's Resolution: "It's time to consider some changes on symbols that can divide us"
      -NC Advisory Council on Indian Educaton calls for elimination of Indian sport mascots in N.C. public schools
Also see links to letters-to-editor prompted by Editorial

February 26, 2002    N.C. Advisory Council on Indian Education passes Resolution on Indian sport mascots (Not announced publically until presentation to State Board of Education on May 1, 2002)
      -Endorses N.C. Commission on Indian Affairs goal of June 2003

February 20, 2002     The Smoky Mountain News(Waynesville, NC) "Mascot Display Takes Aim At Stereotypes"
      -Mascot Education & Action Group (MEAG)'s display "It's Only A Game?" at Western Carolina University well received
Also, see impact the exhibit had on a perceptive 8th grade Student Body President, "Taking on Tradition: Cullowhee Valley eighth grader wants to do away with the school's long-time Rebel mascot" Smoky Mountain News, Feb 20, 2002

November 8, 2001     The Greenville (TN) Sun: "Open Discussion Centers On Use Of American Indians As Mascots"
      -NC Mascot Education & Action Group along with Intertribal Association show "Images of Honor" in east Tennessee to large crowd

November 7-13, 2001     The Mountain Xpress(Asheville, NC): "All--Native--American Hero: Activist-In-Training Bruce Two Eagles"
      -Cover story feature on a leader in the N.C. and national mascot movement

August 26, 2001     Asheville Citizen Times: Erwin educator forms school mascot education group
      -Western NC teacher starts "North Carolina Educators for the Elimination of Racist Mascots"(NCEERM)
Note: NCEERM's News Release    Email NCEERM at
    web site address:

April 27, 2001     Family that filed USJD complaint in Erwin High School case raise the issue in Tennessee
      -Pat & Don Merzlak now live in Mosheim, TN

April 22, 2001     Asheville Citizen-Times Guest Column: "Using 'political correctness' label as a battering ram"
      -WNCCEIB/MAEG coordinator Monroe Gilmour addresses the issue using Erwin Indian mascot issue as prime example

April 14, 2001     Asheville Citizen-Times: "Commission on Civil Rights calls for the end of Indian nicknames in schools"
      -Local angle on the national story; U.S. Commission on Civil Rights calls for elimination of Indian sport mascots; includes link to full Commission statement

April 10, 2001     Letter to North Carolina Principals
      -Cover letter for information packet sent to principals of about 60 non-Indian North Carolina public schools which have American Indian sport mascots. This letter is a follow-up to a workshop on mascots given at the March 26-28 Dept. of Public Instruction statewide conference on "Closng the Minority Achievement Gap"

March 13, 2001     Asheville Citizen-Times Guest Column: "Mascots are 'at best inaccurate, at worst a mockery' by Lawrence Sampson
      -Guest column addresses earlier column by pro-mascot Cherokee One Feather editor Joseph Martin

February 17, 2001     Charlotte (NC) Observer: "Indian mascots secure for now?"
      -Article about statewide mascot issue, includes Buncombe County Board of Education as example of county Board that is intransigent on the issue; Also see Feb. 26, 2001Letters to Editor in response from Buncombe County mascot group members

February 16, 2001     Asheville(NC) Citizen-Times "Camp ditches Indian motif: Owners make move out of respect for climate of the times"
      -Largest boys summer camp in the southeast (located in Buncombe County where Erwin High School is) shows "vision and courage" in nationally significant move

February 15, 2001     Former Eastern Band Cherokee Chief, Joyce C. Dugan's Report on Imagery At Clyde A. Erwin High School
      -Chief Dugan endorses "Warrior" mascot but calls for removal of Erwin's 25' American Indian "Lawn Jockey"; Report led to US Justice Department "Closure Letter" on their investigation and compromise agreement with the Buncombe County Board of Education.

February 7, 2001     Asheville(NC)Citizen-Times "It's a question of justice, true healing" by Lori B. Girshick
      -Letter to editor commenting on Buncombe County (NC)Board of Education closing mascot issue at Clyde A. Erwin High School

February 2, 2001     Asheville(NC)Citizen-Times "Board: "Warrior" Issue Over"
      -Board ignores NC Governor, State School Superintendent & NC Commission of Indian Affairs in its decision

February 1, 2001     Asheville(NC)Citizen-Times "Erwin High Mascot Case Officially Ends"
      -The U.S. Justice Department closes its case at Erwin but citizens to continue their effort to eliminate offensive mascots

September 30, 2000     EDITORIAL, Asheville(NC)Citizen-Times "Indian mascots an idea whose time has passed"
      -U. of Kansas' Dr. Cornel Pewewardy visit to Asheville prompts powerful editorial in the region's largest newspaper

September 26, 2000     Asheville Citizen-Times: "Education key to fighting negative ethnic stereotypes"
      -U. of Kansas' Dr. Cornel Pewewardy speaks in Asheville, NC

September 25, 2000     Intertribal Association Brings Dr. Cornel Pewewardy to Asheville
      -National education leader and famed musician to speak at      UNC-Asheville

August 8, 2000     North Carolina Governor Jim Hunt sends encouraging letter to WNCCEIB
      -Governor points to mascot's negative impact on "integrity of our public education curriculum"      

June 8, 2000     N.C. Commission of Indian Affairs calls for end to sports mascots in North Carolina
      -Resolution asks for public schools, state agences to act      by June 30, 2003

April 17, 2000 Intertribal Association Request to N.C. Human Relations Commission
      -Intertribal Association mother sends poignant letter asking     for action not words

April 12, 2000 NEWS RELEASE: "National Spotlight To Shine On Erwin Mascot Controversy"
      -Local American Indian Leader to speak in Illinois & Ohio
      -National importance of US Justice Dept. report on Indian
      imagery at Erwin High School

February 4, 2000 Asheville(NC)Citizen-Times
      Headline: "Is Buncombe School Board serious about its anti-       bullying program?"
    -Guest column by Monroe Gilmour; draws parallels between Board intransigence on mascots and school yard bullies

November 23, 1999 Asheville(NC)Citizen-Times Editorial
      Headline: "It's time for action on symbolism at Erwin High"
    Note: The AC-T also printed Dr. Jace Weaver's entire report opposite the Editorial

November 19, 1999 Asheville(NC)Citizen-Times
      Headline:"Report: Erwin High imagery offensive"

November 16, 1999 NEWS RELEASE
      Intertribal Assoc. hails Justice Dept. report, urges Erwin to implement

November 10, 1999 Release of Justice Department Report
      Yale University Professor examines sacred American Indian imagery used offensively at Erwin High School

October 21, 1999 Showing of film: "In Whose Honor?"
      Confused by Erwin Mascot issue? Come see this!

October 16-20, 1999 Erwin mascot to be presented at National Indian    Education Conference in Oklahoma City"
      Intertribal Assoc.'s Bruce Two Eagles to present

  October 5, 1999 Erwin 'Warrior' mascot: Symbol of a state and national concern "
      WNCCEIB letter to Buncombe Co. School Board

August 9, 1999 News Conf: "S-word gone, Indian Warrior should go too"
      S-word painted over; schools' hiring practices symbolic of indifference to Indians

June 18, 1999 WNC Methodists Call For Elimination of Indian mascots
      -Lead editorial in "Asheville Citizen-Times"

May 22, 1999 "Schools must banish negative images of Indians"
     -WNCCEIB Commentary in "Asheville Citizen-Times"

May 14, 1999 Erwin High distributes derogatory t-shirt at field day

* * * * * * * *

To read more about the two year history of the Erwin High mascot controversy and the U.S. Justice Department probe, scroll down the page and click on specific events, news items, or documents. The first section covers early 1999 and the Justice Department probe. That section is followed by the previous history from November 1996 through the end of 1998 and by links to web sites on national efforts to eliminate American Indian mascots.

Late January  1999
US Justice Department Investigates Use of American Indian Mascots
in the Buncombe County School System in NC
 Newspaper Article
US Justice Dept Opens Probe of Buncombe County (NC) Schools
News Release: 
Buncombe Co Native American Intertribal Assoc responds
       Newspaper Editorial: 
Erwin issue clouds impressive gains by students
Early Febuary,  1999
Erwin Faculty, Buncombe County School Board, Intertribal Association respond to
unfolding events.
Faculty Statement:
Faculty Members call for Mascot Change
School Board Statement:
School Board's Version of Mascot Issue History
Intertribal Statement: 
Intertribal Assoc. responds to inaccuracies in School Board Statement

Febuary,  1999

Local (Asheville) Newspaper speaks out on the Mascot Issue.
Newspaper Editorial: 
School Board Must Rise to Occasion on Volatile Issue 
News Commentary: 
Erwin Issue A Complex Maze of Ideas

Mid Febuary,  1999

National Media Focuses Attention on Discriminatory use of Indian Mascots in Buncombe County, NC.
CNN News Report (TV): 
Controversy Over Using Native Amer. Names for School Sports Teams
ABC News Report (TV): 
Mascots or Stereotypes? 
Washington Post : 
Use of Indian Mascots Brings Justice Department to NC Town  
Philadelphia Inquirer : 
Mascots Prompt a Federal Probe: 
Early March,  1999
Buncombe Co. School Board  Votes to Eliminate "S-word" but retain
Warrior and "Lawn jockey.

Philadelphia Inquirer: The Warriors will stay but squaws must go

School Board Action: Buncombe Co. School Board Resolution of March 4, 1999
U.S. Justice Dept. "compromise": U.S. Justice Dept. Letter March 4, 1999

Scroll or Page Down for history leading up
to the March 1999 School Board vote and for more links

   Brief Overview of the Issue:  
the mascot issue at Erwin High School
Commentary on the word "Squaw":  
Why is the word squaw such a derogatory term? 
Official School Policy: 
Buncombe Co School Board Nondiscrimination Policy
News Release: 
American Indians Work To Eliminate Indian Mascots
Newspaper Article: 
Indian Group protests Erwin mascot
Mascot should be one we can all be proud of
NPR Radio Segment: 
What's In A Name?
It's time to change Erwin's mascot 
 Public Forum: 
National Leader, Charlene Teters speaks at UNCA
Use of Indian Mascots is a Big Deal
Print, Sign, and Distribute: 
Resolution Of Respect For  American Indian Culture 
Phone, write, e-mail, etc.: 
Who to contact for more information
Links to other Web Sites: 


"Let us put our minds together and see
                      what life we can make for our children."

                                         -- Sitting Bull

Western North Carolina Citizens For An End To Institutional Bigotry


PO Box 18640
Asheville, NC 28814
Tel: 828-669-6677
Fax 828-669-8862