The Washington Post had a great graphic the other day showing the changes in Indian or Indian-related mascots at area schools as part of the movement to rid sports teams of symbols that have been dubbed “hostile,” “abusive,” or racist, including by the National Collegiate Athletic Association and some Native Americans (like the ones that have been trying for nearly two decades to get the Redskins’ name changed; that case could end up at the Supreme Court).
The Poolesville Indians became the Falcons after Montgomery County banned the use of Indian mascots in 2001, while the Wakefield High School Warriors in Arlington County kept their name but traded in a headdress-wearing Indian for what appears instead to be a generic head atop an accordion wearing an armor helmet with a torch-like thing – or maybe a feather – sticking out, next to a big, sharp sword (because an image of someone impaling someone else with a sword is not nearly as problematic as the Indian).
The graphic came with the news that the incoming class at the new Tuscarora High in Loudon County, opening next year, was itself set to vote this week on a mascot.
The school is named for an Indian tribe, and one of the top student picks, from among some 200, was the Tribe. But principal Pamela Paul Jacobs was unsure.
Paul-Jacobs was excited at the overwhelming response but paused at the suggestion of the Tribe. She had flashes of Chief Wahoo, the Cleveland Indians’ mascot, and thought it might be too controversial. But then again, “maybe I am being too sensitive,” she said. Her students had compelling reasons for choosing the name. A tribe signifies “a family and people coming together for a greater cause, the strength of the collective group,” she said.
But she couldn’t stop thinking about Chief Wahoo. And, after consulting a Native American activist from North Carolina who is descended from the Tuscarora, she ended up nixing the name. Without the Tribe in the running, the three finalists were the Huskies, the Timber Wolves, and the Tigers.
Update: Paul Jacobs has confirmed: Huskies it will be.