Change Bellefonte School District Mascot

Change Bellefonte School District Mascot

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Concerned Alumni & Parents started this petition to Bellefonte School Board and Superintendent Bellefonte School Board and Superintendent

The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), the nation's oldest, largest, and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native advocacy organization, launched a campaign in 1968, 52 years ago, to address stereotypes of Native people in popular culture, media, and sports. The organization states that “there has been a great deal of progress since then in ending harmful "Indian" mascots in sports”. It is time that Bellefonte Area School District supports the end of their own harmful mascot, the Red Raider, and the creation of a new mascot. 

Directly taken from the NCAI: 

"NCAI's position is clear, longstanding, and deeply rooted in our seventy years as a leading voice for Indian Country - we advocate for and protect the civil rights, social justice, and racial equity of all Native people in all parts of American society. 

About "Indian" Sports Mascots & Harm

Born in an era when racism and bigotry were accepted by the dominant culture, "Indian" sports brands have grown to become multi-million dollar franchises.

The intolerance and harm promoted by these “Indian” sports mascots, logos, or symbols, have very real consequences for Native people.

Specifically, rather than honoring Native peoples, these caricatures and stereotypes are harmful, perpetuate negative stereotypes of America’s first peoples, and contribute to a disregard for the personhood of Native peoples.

As documented in a comprehensive review of decades of social science research, derogatory "Indian" sports mascots have serious psychological, social, and cultural consequences for Native Americans, especially Native youth. Of today’s American Indian and Alaska Native population, those under the age of 18 make up 32 percent, and Native youth under the age of 24 represent nearly half, or 42 percent, of the entire Native population.

Most concerning in considering negative stereotypes of Native people is the alarmingly high rates of hate crimes against Native people. According to the Department of Justice analysis, “American Indians are more likely than people of other races to experience violence at the hands of someone of a different race.”

These factors together indicate a very real need to take immediate action in a number of areas, including the removal of harmful images as well as the education of the general public, to diffuse additional hateful activity against Native peoples.

Hundreds of tribal nations, national and regional tribal organizations, civil rights organizations, school boards, sports teams, sports and media personalities, and individuals have called for the end to harmful “Indian” mascots.

Rooted in the civil rights movement, the quest for racial equality among American Indian and Alaska Native people began well before NCAI established a campaign in 1968 to bring an end to negative and harmful stereotypes in the media and popular culture, including in sports. As a result, there has been significant progress at the professional, collegiate, and high school levels to change once accepted race-based marketing practices.

Since 1963, no professional teams have established new mascots that use racial stereotypes in their names and imagery. In 2005, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) established an extensive policy to remove harmful “Indian” mascots. As a result of ongoing education and advocacy, in total, two-thirds or over 2,000 “Indian” references in sports have been eliminated during the past 35 years. Nearly 1,000 still remain today.”

Per the National Collegiate Athletic Association's August 5th, 2005 News Release:

"Colleges and universities may adopt any mascot that they wish, as that is an institutional matter," said Walter Harrison, chair of the Executive Committee and president at the University of Hartford. "But as a national association, we believe that mascots, nicknames or images deemed hostile or abusive in terms of race, ethnicity or national origin should not be visible at the championship events that we control." The policy prohibiting colleges or universities with hostile or abusive mascots, nicknames or imagery from hosting any NCAA championship competitions takes effect February 1, 2006." The NCAA objects to institutions using racial/ethnic/national origin references in their intercollegiate athletics programs," said NCAA President Myles Brand. "Several institutions have made changes that adhere to the core values of the NCAA Constitution pertaining to cultural diversity, ethical sportsmanship and nondiscrimination. We applaud that, and we will continue to monitor these institutions and others. All institutions are encouraged to promote these core values and take proactive steps at every NCAA event through institutional event management to enhance the integrity of intercollegiate athletics related to these issues." 

Since September 8th, 2007 when Indiana University of Pennsylvania introduced their new mascot, going from the Indians to the Crimson Hawks, there are no longer any post-secondary education institutions in Pennsylvania using Native American mascots.

Across the country, bills are being introduced in a number of states to actively ban Native American mascots from being used. In the year 2020, does Bellefonte need a bill to come to terms with the racism and prejudice that "Red Raiders" provokes? It would be admirable of us as a community to honor the Native Americans who lived in these lands for 12,000 years, but does our school name "Red Raider" and the current sports logo represent pride or racism? According to U.S. News, only 0.1% (1 out of 1000) of Bellefonte residents identify as Native American, and according to the Census taken since 1890, Pennsylvania has always had one of the lowest Native American populations across all US states, less than 0.2% statewide.

The Bellefonte community deserves a school logo and mascot that is anti-racist, anti-bias, all-inclusive, and honors our great community and its history! Our students deserve better than the "Red Raider." Sign this petition in support of removing the Red Raider as the Bellefonte school mascot and supporting actions to create a new mascot. Together we can create a new mascot and improve our community for our children and each other. 


Resources for parents and other stakeholders for supporting anti-racist, anti-biased, inclusive environments 


Petition for anti-racist, anti-biased education in Bellefonte: 

Petition for anti-racist, anti-biased education in Bellefonte: 

Statement by the Council of the American Sociological Association on Discontinuing the Use of Native American Nicknames, Logos, and Mascots in Sport:

Documented psychological and sociological harm of Native American logos and mascots: 

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP):

Young Children notice and think about race:

Center for Education and Civil Rights:

NAEYC Statement: Advancing Equity in Early Childhood: 

Sesame Street Message about Racism:

USA Today What do we tell our children about George Floyd?:

Five tips for helping preschoolers understand tolerance:

10 tips for teaching and talking to kids about race:

The Whole Child Blog – empathy and racism:

31 Children's books to support conversations on race, racism and resistance:

Books that encourage kids of all colors to be inclusive and empathetic:

Teaching Young Children about race:

A resource for talking about race with young children:

Embrace Race – How kids learn about race:

Sesame Street: Color of Me Song:

Sesame Street: We're Different, We're the Same | Read Along:

Sesame Street: Lupita Nyong'o Loves Her Skin:

Sesame Street: We Are So Much Alike Song with Alessia Cara:

Sesame Street: I love my hair:

Sesame Street: What makes you special?:

Being Different is Beautiful by

Song: Together We Can Change The World:

Song: Thomas Rhett – Be a Light:

A History of Native Americans in PA:


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