Remove Harmful Images
Remove Harmful Images
Merrimack Valley High School in Penacook, NH has reintroduced the image of the old racist mascot back into the fabric of the school by reconditioning old decorations and investing in new ones depicting the headdress image. The mascot and image were removed in 2004. When the mascot was changed, it was because teachers and community members recognized the injustice and harm the mascot caused to our Indigenous communities and the harm it causes everyone. It is a form of racial bullying.
It is often heard that "Once an Indian, always an Indian" in our community as a response to the new lion mascot. There is a sense of loss, and in some ways it is understandable. The truth, we shouldn't have been using the image in the first place. It is also true that feeling of loss doesn't cause pain, depression, anxiety and a sense of not belonging. For Native peoples it can do all those things. We are all human beings and no one should not be reduced to a caricature or stereotype. It also causes harm to all students as it reinforces racial stereotyping.
Please consider how this image affects learners in the Merrimack Valley School District and those who visit the campus.
For learners who come from homes and families that are bigoted, that believe human beings with more melanin are somehow less than, this image reinforces and validates that thinking.
For our learners with Indigenous roots, it is a reminder of how they are still discriminated against in our culture. No one should go to school with this dehumanizing image.
For our learners of color who understand the racist nature of the image, what are they thinking about their own belonging in the learning space.
For all the learners who know how unethical, degrading and inhumane this image is, what are they thinking about the leadership who allowed these signs to be put up? What are they thinking about their teachers who are not actively speaking out against it?
We are calling on this board to educate themselves on the harmfulness of these mascots and live up to its bullying policy.
To remove the new display in the school and the harmful flags in the parking lot.
To create a plan that ensures the gym floor and banners in the gym do not display this image by start of school in fall 2020.
To create a policy that communicates to the community why this image and mascot will never be used in the future.
To ensure Abenaki history is part of the curriculum in any course that includes NH history.
To ensure school leaders participate in professional development around culturally responsive schools with a presentation to the school community on what they learned.