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?
Photo credit: Chris P.