Shelter Island School has maintained its offensive and insensitive mascot of the Indians for far too long. It invites the abuse of stereotypes that perpetuate the injustices inflicted on the Native people. The image on the newly-painted gym floor is a blatant and historically inaccurate stereotype. An educational institution has the obligation to dismantle stereotypes, not encourage them and certainly not force the students to be proud of them.
We ask the Shelter Island School Board to promptly change the mascot and eliminate the stereotypes displayed around the school and on its website. This change is long overdue, and we must hold ourselves to a higher standard. This issue extends far beyond the largely homogenous Shelter Island community and is a legacy of racism that has haunted this country from its inception. We must prove to our children that we know better, we are better, and we are always capable of learning and growing.
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