Reappearance of Native American mascot stirs controversy
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A New Hampshire high school has brought back images of its former Native American mascot, as well as some controversy.
Merrimack Valley High School in Concord got rid of the Native American man in a headdress 15 years ago in response to concerns that the image was offensive. New Hampshire Public Radio reports the mascot has returned in the past two years on banners, walls and the gym floor as the school marked its 50th anniversary.
Banners designed for a Hall of Fame induction ceremony include the image of a Native American man in headdress along with the current lion mascot.
Administrators and some board members said the mascot was included to honor alumni who identify with the original mascot and motto of “Indian Pride.”
Carissa Corrow, an alumna, parent and former teacher at the school, said the image is “at best ignorant, and at worst racist and immoral.” She’s organizing a petition to remove the image and create a policy ensuring the mascot will not be used in the future.
“In 2019, there’s so much information out there about race and misnomers and how we talk about it that it’s just unacceptable for our school leaders not to know that,” she said.
The chair of the New Hampshire Commission on Native American Affairs, Kathleen Blake, signed the petition. She wrote that the district’s decision was “offensive and ill-advised.”
Lorrie Carrey, a school board member from Boscawen, said, “No mascot has been re-introduced. You have old alumni who have their old mascot. And you have young alumni who have their new mascot.”
The school board is expected to discuss the petition and the role of the former mascot at its meeting in December.