Youth-Led Organization Pressures Local Schools to Stop Using Native American Mascots, Nicknames

Donna Fann-Boyle is a parent of Cherokee descent fighting to make Neshaminy School District drop its Redskins nickname. Image via Alejandro Alvarez, Philadelphia Inquirer.

The Pennsylvania Youth Congress, a youth-led organization that advocates for inclusive education, is putting pressure on school districts, including four in Chester County, to stop using Native American mascots and nicknames, write Jeff Gammage and Maddie Hanna for The Philadelphia Inquirer.

“It’s our job to support Native individuals in getting these mascots removed,” said Jason Landau Goodman, executive director of the PYC. “Wrong is wrong.”

A new study published by the organization on “racist public school mascots” in the state refers to the use of Native American imagery as an “epidemic” that creates a hostile environment for students by promoting offensive imagery “as a core community value.”

The study has found that there are 64 public schools in the Keystone State with Native American nicknames and mascots. Together, they serve more than 55,162 students, including at least 397 Native American students.

One example in Chester County – Indians – was retired last month by the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District. The four other local school districts that still use Native American nicknames are Coatesville (Red Raiders), Octorara (Braves), Twin Valley (Raiders), and West Chester Henderson (Warriors).

Read more about the use of Native American mascots and nicknames in The Philadelphia Inquirer here.

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