Remove the "Waterville Indians" mascot from WCSD!

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We, the undersigned, petition the Waterville Central School District to remove the "Indian" mascot and all associated symbolism.


This is an injustice to Indigenous and First Nations people everywhere, and as a community we must do better. A race and culture is not a mascot. This is a dehumanizing practice that descends from years of colonialism. It opens up doors for bigotry and cultural appropriation amongst educators, administration, and students. This does not foster an environment that protects our Black, Indigenous, Students of Color. If WCSD wishes to prepare their students with compassion, empathy, and a commitment to justice, then this symbol of ignorance must be removed from all schools. 


The federal government condemned such mascots in their 2001 statement by the US Commission on Civil Rights; “Schools have a responsibility to educate their students; they should not use their influence to perpetuate misrepresentations of a culture or people…[and these mascots] block genuine understanding of contemporary Native people as fellow Americans...The elimination of stereotypes will make room for education about real Indian people, current Native American issues, and the rich variety of American Indian cultures in our country”. The School District should act swiftly to uphold the values put forth in this statement. The leadership must also make a more global commitment to social justice related to civil rights issues impacting students, educators, and administration from all backgrounds. 

We demand that all dehumanizing symbols and words involving the “Waterville Indians” be removed. We demand the District issue a statement expressing their commitment to anti-racism, and their regret for past inaction. We demand that Indigenous and First Nations' history, culture, and lives be recognized, taught, and respected within our schools. We demand a comprehensive plan be put forth that articulates an ongoing commitment to culturally responsive and sustaining practices.


We must do better.

 


Postscript

Several Waterville residents have indicated that a representative of the Brothertown Indians has supported this mascot under the condition that it be portrayed respectfully. Speaking as a former student of Waterville, this condition has not been met. Additionally, Indigenous and First Nations people speak from many different perspectives, from many different communities. I have attached a link to the National Congress of American Indians that condemns such mascots and explains why they are harmful to their community. I implore you to read this and to amplify Indigenous and First Nations people's voices.

http://www.ncai.org/proudtobe?fbclid=IwAR1S1ttBM4iZTV3nH45NBYho6kmqM0jDnTzbVUn5wilUjqJivTSSMumBf_4