KELLER (CBSDFW.COM.COM) – A Native American group’s request to do away with Keller High School’s “Indians” mascot was met with opposition at Thursday night’s school board meeting.
The Society of Native Nations says it decided to get involved after being approached by parents of students in the school.
“Don’t make fun of my people. Don’t make fun of my kids,” said Mark Madrid, an American Indian with two children in the district.
Graduates of Keller High School, who attended the meeting, defended the mascot, saying it represents their history too. “The mascot of the Keller Indians is rich in tradition and heritage… our tradition as a Keller resident,” said one woman speaking to board members.
Madrid called the mascot a caricature that mocks Native American history.
“You’re dressing up Native. They got people dressing up native. It’s no different. You’re bullying. You’re making fun or mimicking,” said Diana Parton, whose daughter graduated from a rival school.
Parton claims Keller’s mascot has also inspired offensive comments at her child’s school. “A bunch of signs saying ‘Infect the Indians’ and ‘Watch out for the Trail of Tears.’”
Chelsea Cooper, who graduated from Keller in 2009, said she never saw anyone disrespect the mascot. She views it as a symbol of honor that is now being twisted to mean something else.
“I don’t think there’s any honor in telling a child that they’re racist or taking money or funding that could be going to their education to change a mascot,” she said.
The issue was not on the agenda for Thursday night’s meeting so school board members could not comment.
The Society of Native Nations say it hopes to get the topic on the agenda for the next meeting.