SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — At least ten school districts in Central New York are at risk of losing state funding or removal of administrators if they don’t commit to changing their team name or mascot by the end of this school year.
Thursday, the State Education Department sent a memo to all school districts with the new guidelines.
The Department informed school districts of a recent State Supreme Court ruling “that public school districts are prohibited from utilizing Native American mascots.”
Nine districts across Onondaga, Oneida, Madison, Oswego and Cayuga Counties use either a Native American-inspired team name, logo or both.
Those districts’ teams are:
- Canastota Red Raiders
- Fulton Red Raiders
- Groton Indians
- Morrisville-Eaton Warriors
- Oneida Indians
- Oriskany Redskins
- Sauquoit Valley Indians
- Waterville Indians
- Weedsport Warriors
- Whitesboro Warriors
The guidance goes on to read: “Arguments that community members support the use of such imagery or that it is ‘respectful’ to Native Americans are no longer tenable.”
The memo threatens “the removal of school officers and the withholding of State Aid” for districts not in compliance at the end of the 2022-2023 school year.
Local districts still using Native American-inspired mascots
|Canastota Red Raiders|
Despite its use of “Red Raiders” for a team name, the district’s logo on its website and social media does not have an apparent Native American cultural influence.
|Fulton Red Raiders|
While the Fulton City School District’s website has no obvious Native American-influenced icons, the name “Red Raiders” is the team name. A version of the district’s logo, used on Facebook as recently as this summer, includes feathers and arrowheads.
The Groton Central School District uses the team name “Indians” and Native American imagery on at least two versions of district seals or logos.
In combination with the team name “Warriors,” the Morrisville-Eaton School District has arrowheads and feathers as part of its logo prominently placed on its website.
While historically using the team name “Oneida Indians,” the Oneida City School District website makes no reference to it with text nor graphic. Its athletic departments Twitter account icon reads “Oneida Indians.”
The Oriskany Central School District uses the team name “Redskin” along with a headdress-style icon in multiple locations on its website and social media.
|Sauquoit Valley Indians|
In addition to the team name “Indians,” the district for the Sauquoit Valley Central School District uses its initials as a logo with Native American-influenced feathers.
The Waterville Central School District uses the team name “Indians,” along with depicting a Native American headdress surrounding the “W” in its logo.
In combination with its team name “Warriors,” the Weedsport Central School District uses an icon, placed on its website, apparently inspired by a Native American.
The Whitesboro Central School District has long used the team name “Warriors” and used a Native American depiction as its logo.
A day after the NYSED announcement the Weedsport Central School District responded in a letter to the community saying they would follow the state directive, once clarified.
Five school districts use names that could be connected with Native American culture, but have made changes to their inspiration and graphical representation and might exempt them from the state rule.
A spokesperson for the Liverpool Central School District tells NewsChannel 9 the district changed its mascot to a Roman-era “Warrior,” which is still used as the team name.
Westhill and Hannibal schools seem to have similar strategies.
The Clinton Central School District uses the team name “Warrior,” with no apparent reference to a culture. The Southern Cayuga School District uses the team name “Chief” with no graphical depiction connecting its use to Native American-inspiration.
Local districts using generic words formerly inspired by Native American culture
|Southern Cayuga Chiefs|
While the team name “Chiefs” appears inspired by Native American culture, the word now seems to be used generically, with no culturally-inspired depictions on its website.
The Hannibal Central School District uses the team name “Warriors,” but appears to use a Roman-era mascot.
While using the term “Warrior” as a team name, it makes no reference textually or graphically to Native American culture. The district logo used online iconizes a building.
Similar to Liverpool, Westhill uses a Roman-era figure with the team name “Warrior.”
Keeping the name “Warrior” as a generic term, a district spokesperson says the mascot was changed to a Roman-era figure more than a decade ago.