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Old 01-29-2004, 06:53 AM   #1
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Fighting Mascots in Greensboro, NC--Go Help!

Mascot issue on agenda of school board tonight

1-29-04

By Bruce Buchanan Staff Writer
News & Record


GREENSBORO -- Representatives of Southern High School asked the Guilford County Board of Education on Wednesday to reconsider a proposed ban of American Indian mascots.

The proposal would affect two high school mascots: the Andrews Red Raiders and Southern Indians. Board members tentatively agreed to the ban two weeks ago, but several members had second thoughts at last weekend's board retreat.

The board listened to representatives from Southern High School on Wednesday afternoon. The Southern supporters said the Indian symbol is intended to honor their community's Native American heritage. Want to go?

What: The Guilford County Board of Education discusses a ban on American Indian sports mascots and proposed attendance zone changes for High Point's three high schools.
When: 6:45 p.m. today

Where: Guilford County Courthouse, 301 W. Market St., Greensboro. The meeting was moved from the board's normal meeting site on Eugene Street.

But Ruth Revels, a longtime American Indian activist, said the board needs to talk to local American Indians before deciding, and several board members agreed.

Jay Terrell, an award-winning agricultural-science teacher who has taught at Southern for more than 30 years, told the board the Indian symbol comes from the strong, peaceful relationship the Keyauwee tribe had with Quaker settlers in southern Guilford County.

"We look at our Indian more as a symbol than a mascot," Terrell said. "It's part of our history, part of our heritage and part of our tradition."

Southern parent and graduate David Murray said he would support getting rid of the mascot if it were disrespectful toward American Indians, such as the cartoonish "Chief Wahoo" mascot used by the Cleveland Indians baseball team. But Southern employs a serious, dignified symbol, he said. School officials consulted with American Indians when designing the mascot costume, Terrell said.

"We are very proud of the legacy of Southern Guilford," said Southern parent Don Shore.

Southern didn't open until 1970, but the Indian mascot and logo were used by Sumner School, Southern's predecessor.

"You don't name a sports team after something you don't respect," said Fannie Kenan Blackwood, a 1934 Sumner graduate.

But Revels disagreed.

"Do you respect the devil because of the Duke Blue Devils?" she said.

Unlike the other speakers, Revels had not been invited to speak by the board but attended Wednesday's meeting. The other speakers either are members of the school's leadership team of senior staff and parents or were invited by that team.

Revels also questioned the historical accuracy of Southern's mascot, noting that the feathered headdress and teepee weren't used by tribes in this region.

Board members are scheduled to meet with Andrews representatives this morning and discuss the issue at tonight's board meeting. If the board votes to ban American Indian mascots, such a policy would have to pass a second vote in February before taking effect.

"Before I would make any final decision, I would want to hear from each group that would be profoundly affected," said board member Dot Kearns.

In 2002, the State Board of Education asked, but did not order, local school boards to ban American Indian mascots. About 20 high schools across North Carolina use American Indian mascots. District officials have said switching mascots at Andrews and Southern would cost about $125,000 per school.

Contact Bruce Buchanan at 373-7078 or [email protected]
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Old 01-29-2004, 09:07 AM   #2
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N.C. board delays removal of two Indian mascots
Thursday, January 29, 2004

The Guilford County Board of Education in North Carolina has put off the removal of two Indian mascots pending further discussion, including with Native Americans.

The board tentatively agreed to get rid of the Andrews Red Raiders and Southern Indians mascots. But supporters of the Southern mascot said it honors Native Americans. Debate continues as the board meets tonight to consider the issue.

In 2002, the state Board of Education asked school boards to remove Indian-related mascots.

Get the Story:
Mascot issue on agenda of school board tonight (The Greensboro News-Record 1/29)

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