WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – There’s a push in Warren to stop using a student dressed as a Native American mascot during athletic events. There’s also an effort to keep it.
Eric Brown, a 2009 graduate of Warren Harding, is behind an online petition against the portrayal. He wants to keep the district’s nickname, “Raiders” — he doesn’t think that’s offensive.
He would, however, like to eventually get rid of the Native American logo, though he realizes that takes time and money and won’t get done quickly.
Still, Brown said it costs nothing to stop the student mascot.
“The attire of the mascot is super sacred and it’s, quite frankly, offensive to Native American people. The headdress and the feathers, they’re sacred and they’re reserved for spiritual leaders of the tribe, and the paint — it’s not just randomly placed on the face just because they think it’s a cool pattern. It’s earned, and there’s usually a lot of pain and bloodshed that’s behind that.”
Meanwhile, there’s a second online petition called “Keep the Raider.”
At last check Monday evening, there were 835 to get rid of the mascot and 675 to keep it.
We called Warren’s superintendent for comment, but haven’t heard back.
This follows an effort in Cleveland to stop using the name “Indians” for its baseball team.
The Cleveland Indigenous Coalition issued a statement about the baseball team’s name Monday:
“Last month, Cleveland City Council passed legislation declaring racism a public health crisis. Once Mayor Jackson signs it, the city will be bound by CDC requirements to eliminate the conditions that cause Clevelanders of color to have worse health than white Clevelanders. If this city is serious about this work, our leaders must call for the professional baseball team to end the use of all Indigenous themes and imagery.”