As proud students, faculty, and community members of the Onteora Central School District, it is our opinion that the Onteora Indian is no longer a suitable mascot for our school.

For many of us, the mascot represents antiquated stereotypes of Native American people and culture. As a public school, it is our duty to provide a welcoming learning environment to people of all ethnic groups, including the 5.2 million Native Americans living in the United States. The National Congress of American Indians has long been vocal in their opposition to Indian mascots, and it’s about time we listen up.

Not everyone is offended by the mascot, but having such a divisive symbol represent our community is detrimental to school spirit. Mascots are supposed to unite us, not divide us. How are we supposed to cheer for a name that so many find derogatory?

The Adidas Mascot Change program has offered us copious resources to create an inclusive and proud identity for our school and community. Heritage is important. But if history classes have taught us anything, it’s that sometimes, tradition has to make way for change. It’s time for Onteora to move into the 21st century and drop the Indian.

To sign the petition or for more information, click here.