Retire Millis Middle/High School Mascot The Mohawk

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Hello!

My name is Rebekah Kohls and I’m a former student, athlete, staff member, and volunteer of the Millis Public School systems. I was a proud member of the Millis Public Schools family from 2000-2014.

I now live in Austin, TX. I have, since graduating, been less than vocal about my public school experience. I had great teachers, coaches, mentors, and friends but, there’s always been a shadow cast over my time there. I cannot say the word “Millis” without thinking, “Mohawk”. I often think back to our small white suburban town and cringe at the ignorance. Maybe I cringe the most because I attended countless rallies, football games, and athletic events with a feather in my hair or with “war paint” on my face. After leaving Millis I was educated on the harmful implications of misusing and misrepresenting an indigenous people in western culture. I, along with other alumni, staff, parents, and students believe it is time to remove the Millis Mohawk. We would like to show the Millis School Council the abundant support in this change.

The goal: Retire, acknowledge, and apologize for the use of the Mohawk as a mascot, name, and any associated logos from the Millis Public School Systems.

The plan: The Millis High School Students will be leading this change. This platform will serve as a conduit of outside voices and support. We will be making updates on this page in the Facebook group. 

This is the first step towards creating a more empowered, educated, and inclusive student body in the Millis Public School System. 

I hope you stand with me.

 

Take Action:

1. Sign this Petition!

2. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. @RetireTheMohawk 

3. Tell the school committee and WHY this change is important to you! See our email links at https://linktr.ee/retirethemohawk  or email us at changethemillismascot@gmail.com

4. Support this reform at the State level. Email senate members and house members to protect Native American heritage: http://maindigenousagenda.org/native-mascots/

5. Donate to the Mass. Center for Native American Awareness http://www.mcnaa.org/ways-to-donate-to-mcnaa 

6. Educate yourself and others, start here! https://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/abolishing-racist-native-mascots-toolkit-change

Why?

1. Representing sports teams with the names and mascots derived from indigenous people is a form of appropriation that trivializes the oppression and violence they endured. https://insights.som.yale.edu/insights/when-the-school-mascot-is-native-american-stereotype https://www.apa.org/pi/oema/resources/indian-mascots 

2. The use of the mascot reinforces a culture of disrespect among our students and faculty. It teaches young children that you can take the ideas or property from someone without acknowledging or respecting their history. 


3. The school and athletic teams have profited from and widely distributed the image in the town. Again, continuing the narrative that parents and faculty are okay with the use and profit of the image.


4. Indigenous groups have been calling for the removal of these names and mascots since the 60’s. http://www.ncai.org/proudtobe


5. 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. http://www.ncai.org/proudtobe
- Let’s get our name off of here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_secondary_school_sports_team_names_and_mascots_derived_from_indigenous_peoples

- Change the Mascot campaigns have become increasingly popular
https://www.changethemascot.org/
http://www.mcnaa.org/massachusetts-mascots-materials.html

6. Of the Native people presently residing in the United States, nearly half of the population is individuals under the age of 24. In studies done by the Oneida Indian Nation, it was found that use of Native people as mascots negatively impacts the mental health of Indigenous youth.

7. Native Americans are more likely to be subjects of hate crimes in America than any other race, by someone of a different race. https://www.changethemascot.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/DrFriedmanReport.pdf and http://www.ncai.org/proudtobe