According to data collected by the Massachusetts Department of Education, from 2019-2020, 0.0% of Arlington High School students were Native American. Arlington High is a majority white school, (75%) and the usage of a Native American man as the schools mascot is disrespectful and dehumanizing. Not only does it perpetuate harmful stereotypes about Native Americans but by letting this slide we are teaching our youth that stereotypes and racial caricatures are okay. If we are known as the “Spy Ponders” why do we have a Native American man kneeling as our mascot? Native Americans are PEOPLE, not MASCOTS. It is not “honoring” Native Americans to reduce an entire people to a mascot. It is disrespectful. A mascot is an animal or a leprechaun, something imaginary or inhuman.
On top of this, Arlington High has no right to be using the image of Native Americans, much less benefiting from it. Arlington has a past of being racist, and it is our townspeople’s responsibility to address uncomfortable issues and to create an environment free from racial stereotyping of any kind. Right now.
We are settlers on stolen land, and we cannot continue to disrespect the people that our ancestors terrorized and killed.