Change the SMN Mascot by the School's 100th Anniversary

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Since the school's founding in 1922, the Shawnee Mission North mascot has been the Indians. As the Shawnee Mission School District advertises its Strategic Plan to address systemic racism, we demand real change. SMSD continues to allow Shawnee Mission North HS to use an Indian as their mascot. This is where real change could be made. The use of the Indian as a mascot needs to end.

Having an Indigenous person as a mascot is racist and an example of cultural appropriation. It is now time to stop being racist. The United States and Indian Nations have experienced strained relations in the past. This includes a record of racism, bloodshed, forced relocation, and oppression. In modern day America, Native Americans still face racism and the use of Native American tribes, individuals, customs or traditions as mascots in our schools is supporting that concept, whether it be of any foul intention or not. 

Currently, Native American are still suffering from the long term effects of forced relocation and assimilation, including but not limited to the following:

-“American Indians are the most impoverished racial group in the country” (The Institute for Family Studies)
-“More than 4 in 5 American Indian and Alaska Native women have experienced violence, and more than 1 in 2 have experienced sexual violence” (Indian Law Resource Center)
-“Lower life expectancy and the disproportionate disease burden exist perhaps because of inadequate education, disproportionate poverty, discrimination in the delivery of health services, and cultural differences” (Indian Health Service).

A study by the American Psychological Association identified why schools with Native American mascots are detrimental to Native Americans, especially the youth, and make it hard for Native American traditions to be taken seriously. Also the APA concluded that the mascots undermine the educational experience of the community, especially if the community has little connection to Native American culture. 

In 2017, The Eastern Shawnee Tribe refused to give SMN permission to have an Indian as a mascot. Going against the wishes of Native Americans for three years is far too long. Let’s stop being racist. 2022 will be SMN's 100 year anniversary, a milestone that is extremely significant. By signing this petition, you are showing your support of the following demands:

 

-Starting during the 2020-2021 school year, the Indian will no longer be acknowledged as the SMN Mascot and the culturally appropriative traditions will stop.

-By 2022, a new mascot will be announced and all signage and uniforms will no longer feature the Indians by image or name.
-Starting during the 2020-2021 school year, no new uniforms, signage or class gifts will feature Indians by image or name.
-Class gifts will be handled in accordance with the wishes of Native American Tribes by 2022.
-Efforts will be made to highlight Native American History curriculum in all SMSD schools for the 2021-2022 school year. 


We know that this change cannot happen overnight. However, we need to start the process of change now. 

Sources:

https://www.apa.org/pi/oema/resources/indian-mascots 

http://www.ncai.org/proudtobe