More on this petition:
It is time to retire the outdated and appropriated image of the 'Indian' from Mississinewa Community Schools. On the home page of Mississinewa Community School's website, Superintendent Tab McKenzie writes to the community in a letter that states the following, "We strive to provide a safe, productive, and welcoming atmosphere at each of our schools." I think we are failing to maintain this mission statement as we disregard the wishes of the community we are representing with our current mascot. The stereotypical and appropriated image of the native American gives a harmful and inaccurate depiction of the indigenous people of our nation. Why is it offensive? In the past, the football field has a teepee planted in the ground for thousands of spectators to see every year. The mascot at the games likely has on "war-paint" and wears a costume portraying a Native American wearing an Indian headdress. Native American cultural representatives and activists have expressed offense at what they deem the cultural appropriation of wearing and displaying of such headdresses, and other "indigenous traditional arts and sacred objects" by those who have not earned them, especially by non-Natives as fashion or costume. The NCAI (National Congress of American Indians) said in their words, "rather than honoring Native peoples, these caricatures and stereotypes are harmful, perpetuate negative stereotypes of America’s first peoples, and contribute to a disregard for the personhood of Native peoples." It is time we finally listen to the words of these people and put an end to the bigotry. Not only is the act of making the 'Indian' a school mascot offensive to those people who identify themselves as Native American, but it is also wrong to represent their culture in a false light in an academic setting. The APA (The American Psychological Association) is the largest scientific and professional organization of psychologists in the US with over 100,000 members. In 2005 they moved to a resolution that recommended the retirement of all American Indian mascots. Former president Ronald F. Levant, EdD wrote in the resolution, "The use of American Indian mascots as symbols in schools and university athletic programs is particularly troubling because schools are places of learning. These mascots are teaching stereotypical, misleading and too often, insulting images of American Indians. These negative lessons are not just affecting American Indian students; they are sending the wrong message to all students." Check out this study showing Native American views on the “Indian” Mascot https://psyarxiv.com/d5gte/ If you are here to argue against the measure we are asking, please read below. A community of over 95% of white people does not get to say what is racist and offensive to a specific community and what is not. As a fighter for change and inclusiveness, I urge the administration and school board of Mississinewa Community Schools to make this long-overdue change. Although our own native American population in Gas City, Indiana, and the surrounding area may be little to none, we should not continue to circulate and endorse these harmful and outdated images. What side of history do we want to be on? Let's make this change for the greater good of our community and the future of our school system! Email these school board members and school administration officials with your support of this change. Tab McKenzie- Superintendant of Mississinewa Community Schools: firstname.lastname@example.org Lezlie Winter- Assistant Superintendant of Mississinewa Community Schools: email@example.com Wayne Gaskin- President of School Board: firstname.lastname@example.org Denny Smith- Vice President of School Board: email@example.com Teresa Fratus - Member of School Board: firstname.lastname@example.org William (Chris) Cunningham - Member of School Board: email@example.com Mike Crouch - Member of School Board: firstname.lastname@example.org Conrad Herrera - Member of School Board: email@example.com Be nice and let's make our voices heard!