Retire the Spaulding High School Red Raider (Rochester, NH)
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Spaulding High School in Rochester, New Hampshire has used the image and name “The Red Raider” as its mascot since the 1950’s. This issue has come before the Rochester school board several times in the past, with the board continually voting to keep the mascot. In 2002, the NH State Board of Education made a proclamation stating the use of Native American depictions was offensive. The American Psychological Association (APA) confirms that these symbols and mascots have a negative effect on the mental health and education of Indigenous children, as well as the community’s ability to work against the stereotyping of BIPOC (Black-Indigenous-People of Color) groups. In the wake of the tragic murder of George Floyd and the historic movement for racial equity, we are calling on the community of Rochester to once and for all retire the racist mascot of “The Red Raider.”
This petition is seeking for the gradual phasing out and retirement of Spaulding High School's racist mascot, the Red Raider.
The identities, histories and cultures of the Wabanaki Peoples are not to be tokenized as the mascot of Spaulding High School. We respectfully request the removal of any depictions or imagery relating to, or of, appropriated Indigenous persons or heritage from Spaulding High School branding, attire, merchandise, architecture, uniforms and additional formal or informal school related materials.
While many people have worn the uniform and supported this mascot with no ill intent, it evokes a negative stereotype that has contributed to the discrimination against Indigenous peoples for hundreds of years. Just because we do something without malice, it does not mean that it cannot be harmful or insensitive.
The New Hampshire State Board of Education passed a resolution in 2002 which states that, “the use of Native American symbols have a detrimental effect on American Indian students and sends an improper message to everyone of the true meaning and spirit of American Indian heritage.” A substantial and growing body of research also shows that continued use of appropriated Indigenous persons, symbols, images, and culture undermines the “educational experiences of members of all communities…especially those who have had little or no contact with Indigenous peoples.”
The American Psychological Association (APA) confirms that these symbols and mascots have a negative effect on the mental health and education of Indigenous children, as well as the community’s ability to work against the stereotyping of BIPOC (Black-Indigenous-People of Color) groups. If we as a community are condoning these negative impacts, then we are not providing the highest quality education we can to the children of Rochester.
In 2019, Maine passed a law prohibiting the use of Native American symbols and imagery in school mascots. The bill was supported by Maine’s federally recognized tribes, who unequivocally told that legislature that the use of such mascots was hurtful to them. Just because not all of this pain was intended, it does not mean it was not felt by the people who we are supposedly representing with respect. Five other New Hampshire High Schools are currently evaluating the removal of their Indigenous mascots, and on the national level this issue is gaining momentum as The Washington Redsk*ns and Cleveland Indians move to evaluate this change as well.Despite this wealth of information, Rochester has refused several requests over the years to remove the Red Raider as Spaulding's mascot based on “school pride and popular opinion of Alumni.”
A school’s mascot is what people in and out of the community know it by. It is what people see when they look up our schools online or when athletes and fans from other districts compete and spectate here. It is our first impression. Regardless of the quality of our schools, the dedication of our staff, and the values of our community, we are opening ourselves up to be seen as a place of intolerance and poor judgement if we continue to use this racist symbol as our chosen mascot.
We want Rochester to continue to grow and thrive, to become a more vibrant community where everyone feels welcomed and valued. This is an opportunity to educate our community, alumni, and students and engage them in creating a new mascot that represents school pride without causing ongoing harm to BIPOC; one that represents a new and united vision for the future of our community and country.
We ask that you please consider signing this petition in support of the future of Rochester and the well being and full inclusion of all current and future citizens.
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