[source: NativeNews; Tue, 29 Feb 2000 20:52:18]
MASCOT:WI, Students protest over old mural
From: "Robert Eurich" <email@example.com>
Students protest over old mural
WAUWATOSA, Feb. 29 - A group of high school students staged a protest Tuesday at Wauwatosa East High School. The students are upset over an old mural in the school containing their old mascot symbol: a Native American.
'It's a racist character. It's something that if it wasn't a Native
American, if it was an African American or Asian American depiction, it
would not be up there. It would come down right away.' -BEN CHANDLER
STUDENTS AT WAUWATOSA EAST are known as the Red Raiders. For decades, their mascot was a caricature of a Native American Indian.
But in 1992, the principal got rid of that caricature. However, one mural still remains in the basement of the school, and that's what is prompting some students to protest.
Approximately 50 students wore t-shirts to school Tuesday that said, "ERASE RACISM." The students believe the old mural is offensive to Native Americans, and they want it to come down.
But 80 percent of the students voted just two weeks ago to keep the picture, saying it's part of the rich history of the school.
Opinions on both sides of the issue are strong.
"It's a racist character. It's something that if it wasn't a Native American, if it was an African American or Asian American depiction, it would not be up there. It would come down right away," said senior Ben Chandler.
The shirts the students wore during the protest display the old mascot. "Well, it's tradition, and I think it has a long history at the school. And I don't think it's really offending anybody, and I think it should stay," said freshman Tom Flatley.
The principal of the school said he would like the picture to come down but is honoring the vote that students took two weeks ago to keep the mural up.
School nickname and mascot controversies have been debated at other Wisconsin schools. Some Marquette University fans are still unhappy about the switch from Warriors to Golden Eagles.
And in the Rock County community of Milton, a switch from Redmen to
Red Hawks led to a recall attempt against three members of the Milton School
Board. Those board members survived the recall vote in January.
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