SUSQUEHANNA TOWNSHIP, Pa. (WHTM) — A Dauphin County School District is bringing back a controversial mascot. Susquehanna Township is once again the Indians.
While the name is back, the Indian head logo is not. Thousands of people viewed the mascot and logo as a harmful stereotype and offensive to Native Americans.
The board voted to reinstate the Indians in a six-to-two vote with one absent.
“I’m extremely disappointed that the last graduating class essentially graduated Susquehanna Township, it’s not the end of the world, they were Indians before hopefully there’ll be Indians again after this evening,” said John Deitrich, school board president.
Board Vice President Jesse Rawls Sr. took issue with Deitrich being the only one who developed the concept for the new logo.
“I don’t think it’s fair to the community that you or me as a board member would take on this task,” Rawls said.
“I felt we needed to have something out here we’ve been discussing as we went through this something with the ST and the arrowhead motifs,” Deitrich said.
This logo isn’t the end-all, however.
“I am pleased that the Indian Head is not there that the face is no longer there. I do believe there’s still more work to do. But again, once we go back to our stakeholders, we may be able to transition a little bit more,” said Superintendent Dr. Tamara Willis.
Willis says there’s always compromise and their work isn’t done.
“We certainly need to get our folks back around the table specifically the students because Originally we wanted them to have a voice and what it looked like, and I think we can still make that happen,” Willis said.
Some parents still aren’t happy about going back to the Indians.
“The community had a committee we decided on a new, we decided on lions and this board or the board immediately before it voted that down because they wanted to restore Indians, which is a slur at best,” Tom Iwancio said.
But at this point, Iwancia said “I just hope that this board actually gets back to work on real issues for the students and just, you know, political pandering about logos.”
Dr. Willis says the administration will continue to push the message that diversity is the district’s strength and that includes continuing to teach students about local native American history.
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“If you come into our rooms, you see all nationalities, all it all ethnicities represented. And so we want to make sure that we live that everyday in our classrooms,” Willis said.
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