Change the Mascot
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First and foremost, this petition is not just for current Amesbury residents, but for all people who would like to see a change in this shameful practice.The goal is 10,000 electronic signatures that I can bring forward to the Amesbury Office of Superintendents. This petition needs 'People Power.'
As a public institution Amesbury High-School has a duty to create an inclusive learning environment for all current and potential students; however, the use of indigenous symbology and caricatures backed by appeals to school tradition is an obstacle that we must first surmount. In practice, this usage is tantamount to confederate flags flying over public institutions in the South and at a base level, both the former and the latter's appeal to tradition is the same argument, typified by a majority group's claim that to them “it means something different." But a misguided sense of tradition does not negate harm. Moreover, the traditions of Amesbury High School are likely far removed from those of the Naumkeag Nation that once occupied this land. Claims that you are doing a service for indigenous peoples by "honoring their warrior spirit" are at best misguided, and at worst grossly reductionist, racist, and deleterious to the development of all students.
This is not an appeal to your intellect, so I won’t waste your time by referring you to the vast amount of literature outlining the psychological and sociological affect this has on students, but rather I am appealing to the outside for solidarity, and to your sense of shame as well as your sense of decency. Adidas has offered money to all schools willing to change their "Indian" mascots, and directly to Amesbury High School, yet, to this time, a small group of alumni residents with the power of vote has been unresponsive. The message that you are conveying to your children, to the community, and to the outside is that the wants of the unaffected and predominantly white majority group come first. That it does not matter who you have or will hurt to preserve what in 2018 is a misguided tradition of years past.
My suggestion is that in your search for a new mascot, allow the students to come up with something that they believe conveys tradition, but is sensitive to the needs of all students. Allow them to rally around an idea of the community that they live in that takes into consideration the concerns of America's indigenous peoples and the students of the future. Amesbury is a community that is rich in history, yet ever-changing and if it will allow itself this opportunity to change, the community will find itself on the right side of history and be better for it. As a revision of Bill S.291 is likely to pass any day now barring the usage of native caricatures and symbols as well as words such as "Indian," by public schools in MA. if you make this change, you could be ahead of the curve.
In 2018, the "Indian" mascot has to go!
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