List of secondary school sports team names and mascots derived from indigenous peoples

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Among the categories of names for sports teams in North America, those referring to Indigenous peoples are second in popularity only to the names of various animals. In the top ten, "Warriors" is number six, and "Indians" is number eight – the others are Eagles, Tigers, Bulldogs, Panthers, Wildcats, Lions, Cougars, and Knights.[1] The typical logo for these teams is an image of a stereotypical Native American man in profile, wearing a Plains Indians headdress; some are more realistic, while others are cartoons or caricatures. Other imagery include dreamcatchers, feathers, spears, and arrows. Individual schools may have performance traditions, such as the tomahawk chop, a mascot or cheerleaders in stereotypical Native attire, and chants adapted from Hollywood movies. These fictional representations stand in the way of any authentic understanding of contemporary Indigenous peoples, and promote racism.[2]

The use of terms and images referring to Native Americans/First Nations as the name or mascot for a sports team is a topic of public controversy in the United States and in Canada, arising as part of the Native American civil rights movements. Since the 1960s, there have been a number of protests and other actions by Native Americans and others targeting the more prominent use of such names and images by professional franchises such as the Cleveland Indians and the Washington Redskins.[3] However, the greatest change has occurred in the trend by school and college teams that have retired Native American names and mascots at an increasing rate in recent decades.

The documents most often cited to justifying the trend for change are an advisory opinion by the United States Commission on Civil Rights in 2001[4] and a resolution by the American Psychological Association in 2005.[5] Both support the views of Native American organizations and individuals that such mascots maintain harmful stereotypes that are discriminatory and cause harm by distorting the past and preventing understanding of Native American/First Nations peoples in the present.

Defenders of the current usage often state their intention to honor Native Americans by referring to positive traits, such as fighting spirit and being aggressive, brave, stoic, dedicated, and proud; while opponents see these traits as being based upon stereotypes of Native Americans as savages.[3] Supporters also state that the issue is not important, being only about sports, and that the opposition is nothing more than "political correctness", which change advocates argue ignores the extensive evidence of harmful effects of stereotypes and bias.[6]

An exceptional case is the Salamanca Central High School "Warriors" in the city of Salamanca, New York. The city is within the boundaries of the Allegany Indian Reservation of the Seneca Nation of Indians, and 26% of the high school students are Native American. In 2001, when the commissioner of the New York State Education Department sent a letter to all New York school boards calling for the elimination of Native American mascots, the Seneca Nation Tribal Council joined with other members of the community in seeking to retain the Warrior imagery, although with individual differences of opinion. Salamanca may be unique in having a mixed but not fully integrated community, with the Warrior identity combining elements negotiated between the Seneca and non-Seneca population. For example, the school logo now depicts a Seneca man, replacing the stereotypical Plains Indian warrior image that was used prior to 1978.[7]

The trend towards the elimination of indigenous names and mascots in local schools has been steady, with two-thirds having been eliminated over the past 50 years according to the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI).[8] In a few states with significant Native American populations, change has been mandated by law, such in Wisconsin,[9] Oregon,[10] and Washington.[11][12] The list below for U.S. High Schools however remains substantial, with over 400 teams currently calling themselves "Indians", over 100 "Braves", over 100 "Warriors" using indigenous imagery (there are many with the name using generic, Greek or Roman mascots), and 49 "Redskins". The latter has shown the greatest decline, due to an association with the Washington Redskins name controversy.

Current usage[edit]

The following schools are listed in alphabetical order by team name:

Apaches[edit]

Centennial High School

Arrows[edit]

The following use Native American arrows, feathers, or arrowheads in their logos:

Aztecs[edit]

Big Reds[edit]

Blackhawks[edit]

Most of the schools with the name use a bird logo, therefore are not directly derived from an indigenous people although there may be an indirect reference to Chief Black Hawk. The following use Native American images/symbols:

Brave(s)[edit]

Brownies[edit]

Cherokees[edit]

Chickasaws[edit]

Chiefs[edit]

Chieftains[edit]

Chinook[edit]

Chippewas/Chippewa Raiders[edit]

Choctaws[edit]

Comanches[edit]

Dine' Warriors[edit]

Eskimos or Eskymos[edit]

Halfbreeds[edit]

Hurons[edit]

Indian(s)[edit]

A-F[edit]

Cheyenne Mountain High School Logo
Dartmouth High School Indian

G-L[edit]

M-R[edit]

S-Z[edit]

Marauders[edit]

  • Monache High School, Porterville, California – There is a large mural of a Native American on the side of the school's gym, created by Adam Sanchez, class of 2002. This refers to the high school's mascot, the "Marauder".

Mohawks[edit]

Mohigans[edit]

Red Raiders/Raiders[edit]

Redmen[edit]

Reds[edit]

Redskins[edit]

Renegades[edit]

Sachems[edit]

Sauras[edit]

Savages[edit]

Scouts[edit]

Seminoles[edit]

Senecas[edit]

Sioux[edit]

Squaws[edit]

When the boys' teams have a Native American mascot, the girls' team may be the Squaws.

Thunderbirds[edit]

Although indirectly related to Native American culture, these schools use bird images as logos/mascots.

Tomahawk(s)[edit]

Tribe[edit]

Two schools that dropped the Redskins name, in compliance with California law, choose Tribe as a new name to retain their logo and other Native American imagery.

Wamps[edit]

Warrior(s)[edit]

A number of schools with the name "Warriors" never used indigenous imagery, or changed in response to the controversy.

Prior usage[edit]

School City State / Provence Old Name New Name Year Notes
Afton High School Afton New York Indians Crimson Knights 2001
Alto Pass High School Alto Pass Illinois Apaches NA 1969 School closed and consolidated into Cobden High School, nicknamed Appleknockers
Arvada High School Arvada Colorado Redskins Reds 1993 Bulldog mascot[173]
Austine School for the Deaf Brattleboro Vermont Arrows NA 2014 All K-12 programs suspended
Bedford Road Collegiate Saskatoon Saskatchewan Redmen Redhawks 2014 [196]
Belding High School Belding Michigan Redskins Black Knights[197] 2016 The Belding Area Schools Board of Education unanimously voted December 19, 2016 to drop the Redskins and begin the process of selecting a new name.[198]
Brebeuf College School North York Ontario Redmen Bulls 2004
Canajoharie High School Canajoharie New York Redskins Cougars 2000 [173]
Capitol Hill High School Oklahoma City Oklahoma Redskins Red Wolves 2015 Redskins retired December 2014 by a vote of the school board,[199] students selected as their new mascot in 2015.[200]
Cardinal Gibbons High School Fort Lauderdale Florida Redskins Chiefs 2006 School retains Native American imagery
Carrollton High School Carrollton Alabama Indians
Centennial High School Blaine Minnesota Chiefs Cougars
Chowchilla High School Chowchilla California Redskins Tribe 2016 School plans to retain Native American imagery.[181]
Colusa High School Colusa California Redskins RedHawks 2012 [173]
Conrad Schools of Science Wilmington Delaware Redskins Red Wolves 2017 The name was dropped in June 2016[201] The "Red Wolves" was selected by a student vote in February, 2017.[202]
Cooperstown Junior-Senior High School Cooperstown New York Redskins Hawkeyes 2013 Students voted to change the mascot over the objections of alumni and parents.[203] In appreciation the Oneida Tribe of New York donated $10,000 to assist with the cost of the change.[204]
Copper Cliff Sudbury Ontario Braves Crushers 2013 [205]
Cumberland High School Cumberland Kentucky Redskins NA 2008 Consolidated with two other schools into Harlan County High School
Effingham County High School Springfield Georgia Chiefs The Rebels
Enterprise High School Enterprise Oregon Savages Outlaws
Flint Central High School Flint Michigan Indians Phoenix 2005
Frontier Regional School Deerfield Massachusetts Redskins Red Hawks 2000 [173]
Gardena High School Los Angeles California Mohican Panther 1997 Located in the Harbor Gateway neighborhood of LA.
General William J. Palmer High School Colorado Springs Colorado Terrors 1985 Did not change the name but the original mascot was a caricature of a Native American called "Eagle Beak", replaced with an Eagle.
Glenwood High School Chatham Illinois Redskins Titans 2001 [173]
Goffstown High School Goffstown New Hampshire Redskins Grizzlies 1994 [173]
Goshen High School Goshen Indiana Redskins Redhawks 2016
Grafton High School Grafton Wisconsin Blackhawks "Black Hawks"
Grand Forks Central High School Grand Forks North Dakota Redskins Knights 1992 [173]
Grand Rapids High School Grand Rapids Minnesota Indians Thunderhawks
Gridley High School Gridley Illinois Redskins NA 2004 Merged with another school to become the El Paso–Gridley Titans.[206]
Gustine High School Gustine California Redskins Reds 2016 Became the first to comply with the Californian state law, adopting the name used by the school from 1913 to 1936.[207]
Hall High School West Hartford Connecticut Warriors 2012 Kept name, remove Native American imagery.[208]
Hiawatha High School Hiawatha Kansas Redskins Red Hawks 2001 [173]
Hot Springs High School Hot Springs Montana Savages Savage Heat 2007
Huntley High School Huntley Illinois Redskins Red Raiders 2002 Native American Bar Association threatened litigation.[209]
Idaho School for the Deaf and the Blind Gooding Idaho Redskins Raptors 1990 [173]
Immaculate Conception High School Lodi, New Jersey Apaches Blue Wolves 2004
Iowa Falls-Alden High School Iowa Falls Iowa Redskins Cadets 1999 [173]
James S. Rickards High School Tallahassee Florida Redskins Raiders 2000 [173]
Jefferson High School Daly City California Indians Grizzlies
John Swett High School Crockett California Indians Warriors 2015 While dropping the Indian name,[210] adoption of the Warriors is seen by many as a way of retaining Native American imagery.[211]
Lamar High School Houston Texas Redskins Texans 2014 Houston ISD voted to change racially insensitive mascots.[212][213][214]
Lancaster High School Lancaster New York Redskins Legends 2015 After contentious community meetings, the school board voted to retire the name.[215] The new name was selected by a vote by students.[216]
Ledgemont High School Thompson Township Ohio Redskins NA 2015 School closed.[217]
Logan High School Logan South Dakota Arrows NA School closed.[218]
Marist High School Chicago Illinois Redskins Redhawks 1997 Change was discussed, then made with little comment except a few alumni.[219]
Marshall High School Marshall Michigan Redskins Redhawks 2005 [173]
Massena Central High School Massena New York Red Raiders ~2000 With no new mascot to replace it, some parents and alumni continue to use the prior "Indian head" logo and Raiders name, including on new athletic memorabilia. The school is 11% Native American, and there have been racial incidents associated with the controversy.[220]
Meadowdale High School Edmonds Washington Chiefs Mavericks 1999
Milford High School Highland Michigan Redskins Mavericks 2002 [173]
Millard South High School Omaha Nebraska Indians Patriots 2000
Mohawk High School Marcola Oregon Mohawk Indian 2017 Name derived from Mohawk Valley.[221]
Montevideo High School Montevideo Minnesota Mohawks Thunderhawks
Monticello High School Monticello Minnesota Redmen Redhawks
Mountain Empire High School Pine Valley California Redskins Redhawks 1997 [173]
Naperville Central High School Naperville Illinois Redskins Red Hawks 1992 Alumni retained an attachment to the old name, but most think the change was a good one.[222]
Natick High School Natick Massachusetts Redmen Red Hawks 2012 Change voted 2007, new name selected 2012.[223][224]
North Douglas High School Drain Oregon Warriors 2016 Name will be retained, but the mascot "Willie the Warrior" will be retired at the end of the 2016 school year and other Native American imagery will be removed.[225]
North River High School Cosmopolis Washington Redskins Mustangs 1995 [173]
North Side High School Fort Wayne Indiana Redskins Legends 2015 The school's yearbook had always been the Legend.[226]
Northwest Catholic High School West Hartford Connecticut Indians Lions 2015 [227]
Oak Park High School Oak Park Michigan Redskins Knights 1990 [173]
Onteora High School Boiceville New York Indian Eagle 2016 [228]
Osseo-Fairchild High School Osseo Wisconsin Chieftains Thunder
Ossining High School Ossining New York Indians No mascot
Owatonna Senior High School Owatonna Minnesota Indians Huskies 1994
Park High School Cottage Grove Minnesota Indians Wolfpack 1994 An "Indian Head" mosaic created in 1965 in the main hallway of the school has become the subject of contention between Native Americans and their supporters who want it removed, and others in the community who consider it a work of art and part of the school's history.[229]
Parsippany High School Parsippany-Troy Hills New Jersey Redskins Redhawks 2001 [173]
Penfield High School Penfield New York Chiefs Patriots 2001
Pontiac Central High School Pontiac Michigan Chiefs NA 2009 School closed
Port Townsend High School Port Townsend Washington Redskins Redhawks[230] 2014
Potomac High School Oxon Hill Maryland Braves Wolverines
Poynette High School Poynette Wisconsin Indians Pumas 2009 [231]
Reading Memorial High School Reading Massachusetts Redmen Rockets
Red Cloud Indian School Pine Ridge Indian Reservation South Dakota Chiefs Crusaders
Red Lodge High School Red Lodge Montana Redskins Rams 2011 The trustees of the school favored a change, while the community was divided.[232]
Reedsport Community Charter School Reedsport Oregon Braves Brave 2016 The school board decided to change name and remove Native American imagery.[225]
Runnymede Collegiate Institute Toronto Ontario Redmen Ravens 1994
St. Alphonsus High School Dearborn Michigan Arrows NA 2002 School closed[233]
Salesian High School Richmond California Chieftains "Pride" the Lion 2006
Sanford High School Sanford Maine Redskins Spartans 2012 New mascot select by students.[234]
Saranac Lake High School Saranac Lake New York Redskins Red Storm 2001 [173]
Sauk Rapids-Rice High School Sauk Rapids Minnesota Indians Storm 2007 [235]
Scarborough High School Scarborough Maine Redskins Red Storm 2001 [173]
Seneca High School MCA Louisville Kentucky Redskins RedHawks 1997 [173]
Storden Jeffers High School Storden Minnesota Chiefs NA High schools consolidated
Tamalpais High School Mill Valley California Indians Red Tailed Hawks 1990 [236]
The Dalles-Wahtonka High School The Dalles Oregon Indian Eagles Riverhawks 2014 [237]
Thomson Collegiate Institute Scarborough Ontario Redmen Titans 2005
Tulare High School Tulare South Dakota Chieftains NA Hitchcock-Tulare Schools consolidated
Tulare Union High School Tulare California Redskins Tribe 2016 Plans to retain Native American imagery as much as possible.[238]
Turners Falls High School Montague Massachusetts Indians 2017 Both the school and Turners Falls, Massachusetts are named in honor of Capt. William Turner, who led troops into a battle during King Philip's War where 300 Native Americans were killed.[239] Citing the viewpoints of Native Americans and historians, the Gill-Montague Regional School Committee voted to change the "Indians" mascot in February 2017,[240] which prompted a walkout protest by about 120 students.[241] The town of Montague, Massachusetts voted 4-1 in a non-binding resolution to keep the Indians name. Although Montague is not part of the school district, some residents attend Turner Falls by paying tuition.[242]
Vallejo High School Vallejo California Apaches RedHawks 2014 [243][244]
Warrenton High School Warrenton Oregon Warriors 2015 Native American images removed. In addition, the grade school in the same school distinct will change from "Braves" to Warriors.[245][246]
Wauwatosa East High School Wauwatosa Wisconsin Red Raiders 2010 Nickname retained, but mascot changed to a pirate.[247]
Wells High School Wells Maine Warriors 2018 The school will remain the Warriors, but remove all Native American imagery.[248]
Wiscasset High School Wiscasset Maine Redskins Wolverines 2011 Change was approved in 2011, but the Redskins name was retained until the end of the school year.[249] The new name was then selected by a public poll.[250] In August, 2014 selectmen of the town of Wiscasset voted to name a private road "Redskins Drive" as an indication of their continued attachment to the name of the school.[251] However, following weeks of criticism by members of Maine's Indian tribes and others, a second vote changed the name again, to Micmac Drive.[252]
Woonsocket High School Woonsocket South Dakota Redmen Blackhawks 2016 [253]
Ypsilanti High School Ypsilanti Michigan Braves Grizzlies 2006

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

  • MaxPreps is a site for U.S. High School sports information, and can be searched by mascot name as well as school name, but the data is not kept up-to-date so it is only a starting place.
  • MascotDB is a searchable database of mascots from Pro to High School.
  • New England Anti-Mascot Coalition

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