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Dartmouth voters approve measure to retain Indian logo and mascot – CBS Boston


DARTMOUTH (CBS) — Clyde Andrews sat on his couch Wednesday night, showing clippings from his running back days at Dartmouth High School — nearly 50 years ago. It was then that tribesman Aquinnah Wampanoag helped create a version of the Indian that still adorns school helmets today.

“It honors the Native Americans who walked this land many, many years ago,” Andrews says. “And we are still here.”

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On Tuesday, Dartmouth voters urged the school board to retain the Indian as the school’s mascot and logo by a three-to-one margin – after years of debate.

This, of course, runs counter to a national trend of schools and professional sports teams to weed out many Native American nicknames as disrespectful or downright insulting — even Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Indians.

“In Cleveland,” says Sean Carney, a member of the Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe, “you had a very cartoonish portrayal of a Plains Indian who really didn’t respect the culture.”

Carney thinks context is everything here, with no “one size fits all” solution.

But he sees the Indian sportsman from Dartmouth as a tribute.

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“In Dartmouth, you have a historically accurate depiction of an Eastern Woodland Indian,” Carney explains. “And the name ‘Indian’ is not offensive on the face of it.”

“I can’t let my city ignore this,” says Youth Minister Gretchen Baker-Smith, “as the data shows very clearly that it is harming some people.”

Baker-Smith argues that such images are demeaning and undermine the self-esteem of Indigenous youth – no matter what his fellow citizens voted for.

“To me personally,” Baker-Smith says, “we shouldn’t vote on a civil rights issue.”

The truth is, not even all of Aquinnah’s Wampanoags agree on this issue – and that puts the Dartmouth School Board in something of a pickle when it comes to grips with the fate of the controversial mascot and logo – April 25.

But both sides would like to see schoolchildren given a more serious dose of local Native American history – including Clyde, the former running back.

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“It’s just respect,” he said.


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