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Native American Mascot Honored at High School

Native American Mascot Honored at High School

While many Native American mascots have vanished from schools and sports team across the country in recent years, West Aurora High School in Aurora, Illinois celebrates and honors Chief Black Hawk, who has been the school’s mascot since 1905 when it was located on Blackhawk Street in Aurora.

The class of 1958 commissioned a statue of Chief Black Hawk as a gift to the school, which was revealed in a ceremony in the school’s library last week.

“This is a true symbol,” West High Principal Ross Treumper said. “It means something. It’s not just a decal on a football helmet.”

The Salt Creek Singers, a Native American song and drum group, performed at the statue’s unveiling. They showcased an authentic Native American drum decommissioned from Chicago’s Field Museum. One of Chief Black Hawk’s direct descendants, George Thurmond, also spoke at the event. According to Thurmond, Black Hawk “was a fierce warrior, strong leader, and a man who loved his people. He was also the first Native American to tell his story in an autobiography.”

Native American mascots are a contentious issue. What do you think about West Aurora High School’s attitude toward Chief Black Hawk?

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Photo credit: Chris P.

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68 comments

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4:17PM PST on Jan 30, 2013

I'm glad that there's a positive side to a school having a Native American hero.

11:52AM PDT on May 28, 2012

Now if we could get the "professional" athletic corporations to show similar respect for all the iconography they use.

6:13PM PDT on Apr 23, 2012

Beat the fascist pigs and their neo-Nazi storm troopers to death.

8:05PM PDT on Oct 1, 2011

Dear Melinda K:

I agree wholeheartedly with teaching everyone about the Turtle Island Holocaust, that's the term that I've been calling it for about the past 10 or 15 years. Ultimately, the whole rest of the world knows all about the Turtle Island Holocaust. It's the "Euro-Americans" here on our island who have tried to hide the truth about the estimated 15 to 100 million Turtle Island Elders, men, women, children and babies who were killed in the name of "God" and "Manifest Destiny." Also, there is no defense against the absolute truth!
It's about time for the Turtle Island Holocaust to be revealed, so that we as Turtle Island Nations, Elders, men, women and children can start our healing. Our people have tried to deal with it unsuccessfully; life-long abuse of alcohol and drugs or absolute denial to try and forget what really happened in history are what our Turtle Island people have done and are the direct results.
We have to look back to go forward and start our healing processes. There is a lot for the over four million Turtle Island Nations' Elders, men, women and children to try to start. That's all this is about, so we can heal and start looking forward to the future. This is what we need to do so we can start healing; which will take a generation or even, generations.
Thanks for your understanding, Melinda K.

Mikanuk "Larry A."

6:36PM PDT on Oct 1, 2011

I think the truth about Native American History should be taught in all schools and the US Government should make a formal apology to the indigenous peoples. I am surprised there are not more stories about them and their rights amongst the Care2 news and articles, its like everyone is hiding it. And no wonder, there is a lot to be ashamed about in the history there, that is why working on reconciliation would be very positive, starting with the truth in education.

2:13PM PDT on Sep 28, 2011

The fact that other people can still care about and give a chance to what is in our hearts..... even after seeing our white skin after decades of mistreatment by white people, says to me they are a better people, NOT the 'less than' that so many who look like me wish to assign to them.
My biggest supporters in my life, the one who did indeed show unconditional love do not look at all like me.

2:05PM PDT on Sep 28, 2011

when I was about 5, maybe 6 we lived way out in the country. A playmate of ours became very sick and they family set out for the hospital, about 45 minutes away by car. Three hours later they returned, Jodi was still with them, but Jodi was no longer alive. They were told at the hospital that there would be a clinic the next week, to bring her then. It was left to my uncle to explain to me that the only hospital in our county treated ONLY WHITE people, not 'Indians' or 'Mexicans' or even 'Asians' just WHITE people........ I cried for days, I felt such great shame...... it took a long time but my neighbors helped me get over the shock, and the shame and have shown me an example I work hard to live up to. You see, my neighbors loved me, helped me through my loss, and showed me they felt I was WORTH their effort, their love and support. With all the heartache and hell in our world it would have been easy to just look the other way. These people went out of their way to provide love and support for a totally heartbroken and defeated WHITE child and helped rebuild her hope for mankind.

Today some days I still feel that shame, but today I can speak-up against all and prevent at least some of the shameful activities from continuing

Our ancestors came and stole this land from others, the people here were willing to share, if we behaved as if we had respect for the land and others------ we took that as an unreasonable attitude and killed almost everyone ----- that does NOT

5:18PM PDT on Sep 25, 2011

Dear Richard Zane S:

Well, I don't think it really helps. What will help if all of these racially-insensitive mascots are completely eliminated, nation-wide. That's really the only thing that I think will help. In fact, that's the only thing that will help.

11:46AM PDT on Sep 25, 2011

Mikanuk "Larry A,

they aren't going to get it . descendants of the conquerors can't feel it until its explained to them by example.... so....lets see.....ok...

German village descendants of the Nazi regime want to HONOR those Jews killed in death camps by a Jewish Mascot for their soccer team... he will be called Ghetto JewBoy and he will be dressed in rags and wear a star of David on his shoulder..in fact to honor the Jews further ,the cheerleaders will all wear dirty striped prison garb and will wave their pom-poms shouting 'Shalom Shalom!' when Ghetto JewBoy comes limping out onto the field wearing a traditional Jewish kippa. He and the striped cheerleaders will perform a traditional Hasidic Jewish dance to Klesmer music in honor of those Jews that their own ancestors tortured.

does this help?
you who are descendants of those who beat our ancestors into submission by force,
have not conquered our spirits.

11:15AM PDT on Sep 25, 2011

Therefore, we are Turtle Islanders, which is anthropologically-, archeologically- as well as being politically-correct, mind you!
It's not too much for us to ask that a nation-wide moratorium on Turtle Island or "Native American" mascots takes effect immediately and forever! Again, this is the right thing to do, especially for everyone here on Turtle Island, as far as the majority of us Turtle Islanders are concerned.

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