Pennsylvania school board reinstates Native American mascot after it was banned for 'bigotry'

The decision to revert to the old mascot was met with support from First Nations groups.

Jarryd Jaeger Vancouver, BC
A Pennsylvania school board has voted to bring back its Native American mascot, which represents the Susquehannock Indians who once inhabited the land.

The previous Southern York County School District administration had decided to do away with the longtime Susquehannock High School figurehead after its diversity committee argued that members of the tribe had never lived in the area, however their claims contradicted hundreds of years of local knowledge and evidence.

According to Fox News, the motion to reinstate the Warriors' mascot was approved 7-2, with all Yea votes coming from members who had been elected since the chief was removed in 2021. Five had won their seats in November after campaiging on a promise to bring him back.

Among them was Jennifer Henkel. The mother of three, whose husband, Nathan, was also elected and serves as president, argued that the decision to scrub the chief from school property "was about erasing Native American culture," and made it clear that she "wasn't about to stand for it."

In the lead up to the vote, former school board member Deborah Kalina penned an op-ed in the York Daily Record, accusing the Henkels of "[coming] into their new positions with bravado to push their personal agendas, and not with humility to learn their jobs." She labeled the newly elected crew the "ideological majority."

As Fox reports, however, the decision to revert to the old mascot was met with support from First Nations groups.

"The SYCSD school board stands as a role model and blueprint for other communities fighting for their Native names and imagery," the Native American Guardian Association said. The North Dakota-based group played a role in getting the chief reinstated, appearing at the board meeting to make its case that it was the right thing to do.

Native American activist and historian Andre Billeaudeaux, who also made his voice heard during proceedings, told Fox that the vote was "the Lexington & Concord moment in the effort to defeat cancel culture."
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