Keller High School’s Indians logo and costumed mascot have come under fire for imagery and displays that some critics and Native Americans call racist.
This isn’t a new issue. Many schools and teams have been called into question for Native American imagery plastered in bold colors, or for cartoonish designs.
Even at Keller, people have spoken before opposing the Indians name or image. Keller resident Mittie Lois Fort Fadick spoke out against the name about 15 years ago. She said Thursday the district dismissed her concerns.
We agree with her and others who call for trustees to convene a community conversation now so everyone’s perspectives can be heard. Having said that, we believe the costumed mascot and cultural inaccuracies need to change.
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A heated discussion took place at the board meeting, and it illustrated both sides of the argument. Members of the Society of Native Nations want the Indians nickname and logo removed. Some older Keller alumni want to keep the nearly-80-year-old tradition.
We cannot begin to understand how advocates for change — those with Native American roots and heritage — must feel. For this reason, we agree change is needed for the logo, which includes an Indian wearing a ceremonial warbonnet, to end depictions that are culturally inaccurate and rude.
The Keller High emblem of a revered historic figure has been treated as a caricature. Would you want a cartoon version of your cherished culture splashed across spirit banners and uniforms?
We wouldn’t, and we wouldn’t want anyone else to deal with their culture being demeaned for the sake of school pride.
Regardless whether Keller High School changes its team nickname, it all comes down to respect for others. If the name of a school, team, city or place is respectful of the historical and racial significance of Native Americans, the name might not need to change.
And the headdress should go.