New agreement could cause schools to lose Native American mascot - WNEM TV 5

New agreement could cause schools to lose Native American mascots

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)

A new agreement between the state and a Native American tribe could set a precedent for schools to ditch mascots touting a native theme.

The deal gives funding to schools to remove and replace logos and mascots that critics have deemed racist or discriminatory. It could impact several Mid-Michigan schools.

"At this time I don't think the mascot needs to change at Western High School," said Judy Cox, principal for Bay City Western High School.

The school's mascot has been the Warriors since the school opened in 1973.

"We're very diligent about being respectful to the Native American and respecting the warrior and making sure our jerseys and anything we put out is very respectful to the heritage and the rich history of the Native Americans," Cox said.

A new agreement between the state and the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi could open the door for a change. The agreement would give schools, like Western, thousands of dollars to change the Native American logos.

"Probably in the neighborhood of 90 percent of our uniforms have some type of warrior head, as far as part of the program," said Mike Thayer, Western's athletic director.

He said it would take a lot of money to make a change as the warrior is entrenched in and around the school's campus.

"About $100,000 to make the change to any of the posters that we have, any of the logos that we have - whether it was on the uniforms, whether is was on the school documentation that we had - so it would be quite an undertaking," Thayer said.

As for Cox, she said she is glad to know there's money out there to help with a potential mascot change, even if there are no places in place to replace the warrior.

"If we were in that situation, where we had decided it was in the best interest to change, we would definitely look to that resource and be very grateful to have that," Cox said.

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