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Camanche school board votes to remove Indian mascot at end of school year

The board voted 5-to-1 to change the mascot with one not present
Published: Mar. 16, 2021 at 8:40 AM CDT
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CAMANCHE, Iowa (KWQC) - During Monday night’s school board meeting, the board voted 5-to-1 with one person not present to vote, to retire the school’s Indian mascot at the end of the school year. The mascot has been around since the school opened in 1961.

The move comes after decades of recommendations from Native American groups and school agencies to address the Indian nickname.

“Quite honestly, our school mascot is a stereotype,” Camanche Superintendent Thomas Parker.

Most who spoke during the meeting’s public forum spoke in favor of keeping the mascot, many cited the “pride” they felt in the nickname. Some even said the name change is a result of cancel culture, but board member Shane Bark noted the recommendations to change have been around for decades.

“Given the fact that we were contacted over 30 years ago almost repeatedly to remove our mascot then, I find it hard to believe that this could be labeled or considered as a product of today’s cancel culture, how are we honoring the Native Americans by ignoring their repeated requests to remove the Indian mascot?” Bark said, “I personally have requested to see if there’s a way that we could work with the tribal council in seeking a resolution or an agreement in which we could preserve our mascot or some use of acceptable Native American imagery and through that communication, they had declined our offer.”

According to ia.Varsitybound.com, 11 schools in Iowa use Indian as a nickname, including Wapello. Wapello’s Superintendent said they do not have any plans to change their nickname at this time.

Camanche has yet to decide what the school’s new nickname will be.

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