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NYS Might Be Revisiting The “Redskins” Issue

October 25, 2022

From The Canisteo-Greenwood FB Page:

Dear CG Family,

In July of 2020, I was directly contacted by the Seneca Nation regarding the use of our mascot. Dr. Stahlman and I had a few conversations around the use of the Redskins for our mascot but at the time, I was solely focused on getting our kids back in school after the abrupt closure of school in the spring due to the covid pandemic. I asked him to please give me some time to get the kids back in school and we would pick up our conversations after we dealt with covid. Well, 2+ years later, here we are.
During those past few years, we have seen some changes throughout the country and New York State around the use of Native American mascots. The Washington Redskins are now the Washington Commanders, and the Cleveland Indians are the Cleveland Guardians. A little bit closer to home, Odessa-Montour and Waterloo recently changed their names over the summer from Indians to Grizzlies and Tigers, respectively. There are currently two remaining schools in New York State with the mascot of Redskins. And in the country, it is just over 40 in total.
In New York State, Senator Biaggi from the 34th Senate District has proposed BillS1549E that would prohibit public schools from using a native name, logo, or mascot. The bill has been amended and recommitted to the Education Committee five times since its introduction on January 13th of 2021. Typically, in the Senate, if a Bill were not going to “make it through,” it would be introduced to the Education Committee once and stop there. It has been amended and recommitted five times to date which means it has a good chance of passing. If the Bill passes, it will be signed into law and become effective immediately. There is even some rumor that the issue may be legislated to end the “discussion” around this and just mandate it.
As I have stated before, if we feel that it is going to be mandated to change it, let us do it on our own terms as a community. That is why we decided to create the Mascot Committee and invite community members to join. The original thought was to have 15 members on the committee with 5 community members, 5 staff members and 5 students. After all who stated interest in the committee, we ended up with 18 members. There were 3 individuals that stated interest but because they had just participated in our Mission and Vision Committee, I asked that they “give up their spot” to another interested community member and they graciously accepted. Unfortunately, some members have had to back out after being selected due to scheduling conflicts. The committee has met 4 times to date and has created a timeline for their recommendation to the Board of Education. The conversations have been extremely professional and productive with all voices and opinions heard. Now they want to make sure that all your voices are heard.
Please take some time to read the supporting documents that are posted on the website. After you have spent some time with those documents, we ask that you please fill out the survey at the bottom of the Mascot Committee Resources webpage. Your feedback will assist the committee in preparing for the community meetings in November and allow them to focus on the most asked questions and concerns that our community members have.
Community Meetings:
November 15th – Greenwood School – 6:00pm
November 16th – Canisteo-Greenwood High School – 6:00pm
Meet the Committee Members:
Robin Robarge – Community Member and Alum
Don Lewis – Community Member and Alum
James Freeland – Community Member, Staff Member, and Alum
Riley Bloom – Student
Steve Morse – Community Member and Alum
Jon Amidon- Staff Member and Community Member
David Prete – Community Member
Nichole France – Community Member and Alum
Sarah Fuller – Community Member and Alum
Erin Freberg – Community Member and Alum
Domonic Dennis – Student
Isabell Dennis – Student
Bryan Lewis – Staff Member
Scott Burdick – Community Member and Alum
Jaiden Weitzel – Community Member and Alum
Kelly Houck – GST BOCES District Superintendent – Committee Moderator and Subcommittee Facilitator
Tom Crook – Canisteo-Greenwood Superintendent – Observer, Subcommittee Facilitator, Community Member, and Alum