A century of tradition: Shawnee Mission North Indians may be thing of the past

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — The Shawnee Mission Board of Education will vote Monday night whether or not to retire a district mascot.

According to the meeting’s agenda, it’s recommended that the board determines the mascots “Indians” and “Braves” fail to comply with Policy ACA. If that happens, any mascot including either name will be retired.

Hundreds of alum have worked with current Shawnee Mission North students to get the school board to change the name of it’s mascot. Shawnee Mission North has been the Indians for 98 years. 

Organizers of this movement to retire the Indian mascot said they hope to enter a new era of cultural awareness by unveiling a new mascot to be used for the next 100 years. They feel the Indian moniker is racist and offensive to the Native American culture. 

While current and former students all agree most are respectful toward their mascot, the school does typically have a white male dressed up as a Native American at school events. Research shows Native American mascots encourage stereotypes and cause lower self-esteem among the Native American people.

If the new policy is approved, all school mascots must meet the following requirements:

  • Mascots will not be derogatory or offensive toward a person or class of persons based on a protected class, as that term is defined in Policy AC. Mascots will not make reference toward a person or class of persons based on a protected class, as that term is defined in Policy AC.
  • Mascots will be culturally and racially sensitive and appropriate.
  • Mascots will depict individuals with fairness, dignity, and respect.
  • Mascots will not run counter to the district’s mission of creating a fully unified, equitable, and inclusive culture.

New mascots for the schools will be chosen through a process approved by the district superintendent with input from the school principal and students. The principal may get input from other school community members.

The superintendent will have final approval for the mascot.

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