MENOMONEE FALLS HIGH SCHOOL MASCOT CHANGE
The School District of Menomonee Falls Board of Education (school board) voted on 12/9 to change the Indians name, by a 5-2 vote. School Board President Faith Vanderhorst emphasized that the board’s job is to create a welcoming learning environment for all students.
Menomonee Falls High School is in the midst of a emotional debate over its nickname and mascot. The current nickname is the Indians and the mascot is represented by a feather attached to the letter ‘F’ for Falls.
Menomonee Falls High School has changed its nickname and mascot before. Twice, since 1985.
MENOMONEE FALLS HIGH SCHOOL MASCOT HISTORY
HOW THE CURRENT DEBATE CAME TO BE
In July, Wausau School District contacted the Menomonee Falls School Board and Superintendent regarding a resolution to support legislation requiring school districts across WI to stop using Native American mascots.
Since then, there have been several community forums and board meetings to gather feedback from the community as well as representatives from local Native American tribes.
Read letter to the community from School Board President Faith VanderHorst.
The final vote was planned for a December 9th meeting.
FEEDBACK FROM THE COMMUNITY
Educational Native American Presentation
Presented by Oneida Nation
Watch 2nd Public Hearing in Full
Comment from Menomonee Falls Action Team member, Ian Dickmann
“First, I’d like to say thank you for holding this process. I think it has given an opportunity for a lot of people to have voices, who didn’t necessarily feel they could have a voice in this matter.
The Menomonee Falls Indians mascot FAILS to act as a unifying symbol of our school. We have heard the negative impacts and concerns our mascot has long caused. Some wish to dismiss those concerns. To tell people to “get over it,” or “it’s just a name,” that it’s “not a big deal.” It is a big deal. To some the mascot is a source of school pride, yet to others in the community, it is a source of embarrassment, offensiveness, and a sign our school is out of touch. Multiple times the logo changed. It is time the name changed, too. This board was elected to oversee policies providing ALL students, faculty, and community members, a place of education where they can feel safe, proud, and welcomed. The school district’s vision states, “The relentless pursuit of excellence, one person at a time.” Please, continue to pursue excellence…each one of you. Change our mascot. Thank you!”
Written Comments From the Public on Menomonee Falls High School Mascot
“No one is in this room to try to offend someone else. Nonetheless, I think we should also agree that while it may be OK with some Native Americans to have elements of their ulture used as a mascot, we can’t disagree that it’s equally not OK with some others. So my question to yours: How many kids can be made to feel unwelcome in their own school and offended by their own mascot before it’s not OK – how many?” – Meg Browning, resident
“The dog and pony show continued. They brought in speakers and they brought in plants in the audience to show a different view than I think (exists) overall in the community, and what I’ve received from the community as well.” – Steve Taggart, resident and Village Board Trustee
“In order to feel inclusive of all students and backgrounds, I believe changing the mascot is important. I’m sure you will receive strong opinions both for and against changing the mascot, but strong stances and politics should not get in the way of sound decision-making. The fact is that there are Native Americans that would feel uncomfortable with the Indian mascot, which should result in a change. Thank you for leading this discussion in a meaningful and community-driven way! Proud to be a Menomonee Falls resident.” – Provided by the school district, without citations
“As a person of native American heritage, I find the mascot perfectly fine. It is not derogatory, defamatory, oppressive or otherwise offensive. Mascots like this make me proud of my heritage. They respectfully convey an empowering sense of strength as mascots are supposed to do – the warrior construct is a very robust traditional example.” – Provided by the school district, without citations
“I don’t think the current mascot promotes a feeling of belonging to all families. It would be weird if another ethnicity was caricature-ized and used as a mascot, especially for a predominantly white school district. It’s not like we have a large American Indian population here who created the mascot to represent their culture.” – Provided by the school district, without citations
“The Indian mascot reflects a pride and admiration of an indigenous race of courageous people that inhabited our lands before us. It symbolizes strength, resilience, pride, admiration, courage and community. There has never been and there will never be any other way to interpret our mascot.” – Provided by the school district, without citations
“To me, to my family, and to my ancestors. Not only was I was disappointed, but angry and confused that in 2017, the racism was still present here in our ̈diverse school. As a native from the Menominee tribe and the Oneida tribe, I don’t agree with the school’s name, nor its carefree opinions about ¨honor.¨ As much as I want to believe that the logo is for honor, I know that deep in my heart, it will only ever mean something negative….. …would you approve of the Menomonee Falls Whites? The Menomonee Falls African Americans? Or would you rather a name that is respectful and isn’t based on any culture? ….. There aren’t many Native Americans in this village, but as one of the few, I will fight for the others who can’t, and I will fight for the sake of respect to my ancestors.” – Provided by the school district, without citations