GREENSBORO -- American Indian mascots will be retired in Guilford
The Guilford County Board of Education agreed Tuesday night to
create a policy forbidding the use of such mascots. The policy would
affect only two schools: the Andrews High School Red Raiders and the
Southern High School Indians. Alamance Elementary switched from the
Indians to the Wolves at the beginning of this school year.
The board voted 9-1 with member Anita Sharpe dissenting. Board
member Garry Burnett was unable to attend because of illness, but
board member Susan Mendenhall said he told her he would support
eliminating the mascots.
What do you
County Board of Education is planning to enact a policy
banning Indian mascots from its schools. The policy
would mean the end to the Red Raiders at Andrews High
School and the Indians of Southern High School.
Bob Roberts: "I believe this decision is overdue.
American Indian organizations have protested the use of
these images for years. The images used as mascots tend
to portray a stereotype that is not particularly
accurate. The only respectful decision here was to
eliminate the usage of Indian Mascots."
From Jere Kannegieter: "I think it is
ridiculous! Some of the mascots have been in place for
as long as the school has been around..."Kill The
Warriors" was shown on a sign at the board meeting last
night. So what? When schools play Page, they display
"Kill the Pirates" or whatever other team they are
playing. Is this to say that if a group of modern-day
pirates were to approach the school board, that Page too
would have to change their mascot? Next I suppose
they are going to go to the NFL to have the Washington
Redskins changed to some sissy Washington Woodpeckers or
something. Some people just have too much time on their
From Tori Lancaster: "I think it was a very
hasty decision made by the school board. I think it is
an honor to American Indians to have themselves
represented as mascots. I would have like to have
attended a school myself with a Native American mascot.
And what about all the money it’s going to cost to
change these schools to something else…it’s just
From Jeff Johnson: "I have never looked at the
name of the Southern Guilford "Indians" as being
deragatory to Native Americans, but rather to honor them
for their bravery, but then I'm not Native American.
Maybe Southern should change their mascot to the most
feared thing in all of NC..........the orange and white
From Cindy Register: "This is just crazy! Many
times, a mascot, like the Indians, was chosen because
they were known to be strong warriors. It was not meant
to be an insult but, yet, a compliment. Also, where is
the money coming from to make these changes? Children
have to share books at school because there are not
enough to go around...every time you turn on the news
all you hear is the big "budget crunch." Maybe people
should look at the real issues instead of issues that
will cost unnecessary spending.
voted no because she wants the board to get community response
before proceeding with a policy. Other board members said the
community could comment during the 30-day period before the policy
can be finalized by a board vote.
The issue first came before the board during the summer when the
state Board of Education asked schools statewide to reconsider their
use of Indian mascots.
If the mascot is honoring that culture, then why aren't there
mascots for whites, blacks or Chinese, Gilmour wrote.
"Educators can't ignore American Indian sports mascots," Gilmour
told the board Tuesday. The mascots are being eliminated at many
schools nationwide through the push by American Indian groups, he
In North Carolina, 20 percent of schools that had Indian mascots
have retired them, he said. There are about 40 schools remaining
with such mascots, Gilmour said.
North Carolina has an American Indian population of about 100,000
with about 18,000 of them in public schools.
Gilmour urged the board to listen to the majority of American
Indians who have called for the end of mascots depicting their
Board member Deena Hayes said the mascots are another example of
"institutional racism" where a dominant culture imposes its views on
a minority group.
"I don't think this is a political correctness issue," she said.
"I think it's a humane and justice issue."
Board member Johnny Hodge said he understands what Native
Americans are going through.
"I went from ... Negro to black to African American. Now I don't
know what I am," he said, eliciting a few laughs.
He added the board needs to "stop being hypocritical and address
the issue. We have a tendency to put things that are important to
our constituency under cover. You got to look at life as it is now."
Loretta Jennings, president of the Guilford County Association of
Educators and a Native American, was pleased with the board's vote.
She agreed with the board's intention to bring Native American
groups to the school communities to discuss why the change is
"I think to educate is important," she said.
Amanda Sheek, a Lumbee Indian and Southern High alumna,
volunteered to speak at her old school. She thinks it will be a
difficult issue, but it must be addressed.
"I think it's going to be hard to convince any alumni to
understand where we're coming from," Sheek said.