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School Board Removes Native Imagery From Mascot

Tabatha Wethal

A school board in New York state has approved changing the district’s mascot, about eight years after the Seneca Nation of Indians asked the district to reconsider the imagery.

The Jamestown School Board unanimously approved the “big, red cat” as the new Jamestown High School mascot, WRFA reported

The new mascot stems from school history: the first mascot appeared in 1948 as a red, big cat. The Jamestown Board of Education voted to keep the name “Red Raiders” at its July 2021 meeting.

School Superintendent Dr. Kevin Whitaker said the process of changing the mascot started in 2014, after the Seneca Nation’s request, when a committee was formed of students, coaches, teachers and community members.

“We asked them to engage in the process whereby they learned about the Seneca Nation,” Whitaker said. “They were very open and accepting, invited us to come see their museum and cultural center, and provided us with guided tours which were very helpful and across those conversations the members of the committee said it was time for change.”

Board President Paul Abbott said he was excited that the mascot change has gone through, especially with this process starting in 2014,

“We did make the decision to finally remove all of the native imagery,” Abbott said. “And when we did that we knew that some day we would look to do something new for a mascot and you know, honestly, just from a student standpoint, I’m excited for our students that we have a new mascot to rally behind and continue on as the Red Raiders just as we always have.”

The new mascot was designed by 360 Graphics with input from the mascot committee. The district had a trademark attorney to make sure the new logo and mascot was not an infringement on any other existing logos or mascots, and the imagery passed the process, WRFA reported. 

The new mascot imagery can be viewed on the Jamestown Public Schools website at jpsny.org.

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