Retire Roy C. Ketcham “Indians”
Retire Roy C. Ketcham “Indians”
First, congratulations to the Roy C. Ketcham High School Class of 2020 Graduates! As alumnae, we are so so proud and share in the joy and celebration of their achievements. For our future students and the community, educators in the Wappingers Central School District and Roy C. Ketcham High School must develop a process to retire and replace the "INDIANS" mascot.
In 1962 when Roy C. Ketcham High School was established and decided on the “INDIANS” mascot, the offensive and detrimental nature of Native American imagery in sports as harmful to Native communities were largely ignored. In 1968, the Nation Congress of American Indians began their ongoing campaign to end the era of harmful "Indian" mascots. 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."
Over the last 60 years, a ground swell of support has mounted to end the era of racist and harmful "Indian" mascots in sports and popular culture. Today, that support is stronger than ever. In 2005, NCAA banned "displaying hostile and abusive racial/ ethnic/ national origin mascots, nicknames or imagery" at NCAA championships. Just recently, the Washington R*dskins NFL team and the Cleveland Indians MLB team announced reviews of their team names within hours of each other.
Hundreds of tribal nations, national and regional tribal organizations, civil rights organizations, school boards, sports teams, sports and media personalities, and individuals have called for the end to harmful “Indian” mascots.
Although the Native American headdress imagery was removed from some of the Roy C. Ketcham’s logos, the sports teams are still called the “INDIANS” and caricatures of Native Americans still remain displayed on RCK social media accounts (here and here and here), school signs, and athletic paraphernalia (here and here and here). It is 2020 - the wholesale retiring of “INDIANS” is long overdue. We urge Roy C. Ketcham High School to make this change.
There is precedent from nearby districts retiring and replacing "Indian" mascots. In 2002, the Ossining school district changed its nickname from the “Indians” to the “Riverhawks,” after Ed Commissioner Richard Mills recommended that districts stop using Native American symbols as mascots. In November 2019, Superintendent Andrew Selesnick and the Katonah-Lewisboro School Board voted to retire their “Indian” mascot stating: "In 2019, maintaining the mascot is at odds with our educational mission...If we are to teach our students the importance of truly listening when someone or some group tells us that our behavior or our words are harmful or unwelcome, then we as a district should serve as a model.”
What can you do?
1) Sign this petition;
2) Share this petition with friends and RCK alumni via social media, emails, texts, carrier pigeons;
3) Email the school principal at David.Seipp@wcsdny.org and Wappingers Central School District governing board members at email@example.com (President), firstname.lastname@example.org (Vice President), email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, and firstname.lastname@example.org to urge them develop the process to create a new school nickname and mascot!
Let's live up to the school mission of Dedicated to Excellence and retire “INDIANS” from Roy C. Ketcham High School.
Yvonne A. Gor and Krisy Lawlor
Proud Alumnae of Roy C. Ketcham High School, Class of 2001
Below are linked resources that provide additional details about NCAI and tribal nations’ broad and longstanding opposition to the use of these mascots, as well as the harms that they cause:
NCAI Statement on Washington Football Team's Retirement of Racist Mascot <http://www.ncai.org/news/articles/2020/07/13/ncai-statement-on-the-washington-football-team-s-retirement-of-racist-mascot>
NCAI’s “Ending the Legacy of Racism” Report <http://www.ncai.org/attachments/PolicyPaper_mijApMoUWDbjqFtjAYzQWlqLdrwZvsYfakBwTHpMATcOroYolpN_NCAI_Harmful_Mascots_Report_Ending_the_Legacy_of_Racism_10_2013.pdf>
Washington Post: NCAI President Op-ed: Ridding Football of Racial Slurs <https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/heres-something-id-be-thankful-for-ridding-football-of-racial-slurs/2018/11/21/455be8da-edc3-11e8-8679-934a2b33be52_story.html>
NCAI Applauds Decision by Little League International to Ban Racially Offensive Team Names and Mascots
Cleveland Indians manager says it’s time to change the team name <https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/05/us/cleveland-indians-mascot-trnd/index.html>
National Education Association Resolution: Supporting Removal of Native Themed Mascots
National Indian Education Association Resolution: Elimination of Race-Based Indian Logos, Mascots, and Names
American Psychological Association Resolution - Retiring American Indian Mascots <https://www.apa.org/pi/oema/resources/indian-mascots>
Study finds only harmful effects from Native themed mascots
Leading National Civil Rights and Racial Justice Organizations Announce Joint Opposition to Washington NFL Team Locating New Stadium in District of Columbia <http://www.ncai.org/news/articles/2018/08/24/leading-national-civil-rights-and-racial-justice-organizations-announce-joint-opposition-to-washington-nfl-team-locating-new-stadium-in-district-of-columbia>
CNN: Maine to become first state to ban Native American mascots in public schools
NCAI: Ending the Era of Harmful “Indian” Mascots
NCAI 2013 Resolution: Commending Efforts to Eliminate Racist Stereotypes in Sports and Calling on the U.S. President and Congress to Combat These Continuing Affronts to Native Peoples <http://www.ncai.org/attachments/Resolution_OYdGFAZFMqQHpjvyNLpIcWKmsrTcaUnlcqeMnyetmhetMvcyVZn_TUL-13-050%20Final.pdf>
NCAI 2005 Resolution: Support for NCAA Ban on “Indian” Mascots <http://www.ncai.org/attachments/Resolution_dZoHILXNEzXOuYlebzAihFwqFzfNnTHDGJVwjaujdNvnsFtxUVd_TUL-05-087.pdf>
Op-ed: The destructive dynamic of dehumanizing Native Americans <https://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/civil-rights/296846-the-destructive-dynamic-of-dehumanizing-native-americans>
Why Educators Can’t Ignore Indian Mascots <http://aistm.org/cornel.why.educators.htm>