Yesterday, the New York State Education Department ordered “all school districts in the state to remove the ‘Indian’ mascot and associated icons (the arrowhead included) from the public school system,” Glens Falls City School District said in a release.
The Corinth Tomahawks and Lake George Warriors could also be effected by the order.
Glens Falls said it intends to comply by the 2023 deadline, but “we have yet to determine a timeline for removal of Indian-associated items on our sports uniforms, furniture, and in our buildings (ex. the high school gymnasium floor). As you may know, our turf field is already scheduled to be replaced as part of the upcoming capital project.”
The state order said districts that fail to comply with “replacing its Native American team name, logo, and/or imagery by the end of the 2022-23 school year,” could receive penalties that include “removal of school officers and the withholding of State Aid.”
“Arguments that community members support the use of such imagery or that it is ‘respectful’ to Native Americans are no longer tenable,” the order added.
The Glens Falls District release said, “This decision from the state was made without our consultation, and we are digesting the decision in real time, just as many of you are as well. We want to create a process to work together as a community and figure out how to best navigate this new road we’re traveling down together.
“Our community has long embraced the ‘GF Nation’ moniker as a source of pride and togetherness. While we’re at the very beginning stages of this process for finding a new mascot, we feel it’s important to look back on our unique legacy and create something original that reminds us all of where we come from and what we represent.”
The district said the current student body will play a role in the new mascot process, “we want them to have a voice in how the district can best represent all of our students moving forward.”
The release added, “We are extremely appreciative and understanding of the history that is tied to our team name and the passion our school community feels towards our logo. Many of us have deep memories tied to victories and moments of triumph from our student-athletes over the years. This decision doesn’t change any achievements made on our various playing fields. We have an obligation to follow the ruling, and we will honor the mandate as written by our state officials.”