Tomahawk debate continues: School mascot appropriation or pride?
April 4, 2018
Tomahawk not offensive, brings pride to Algonquin tribe
Over the past few years, several sports teams such as the Washington Redskins have been ridiculed for having racist or upsetting images for their team logo. I do not believe that these teams deserve the heat that they get. These teams and organizations celebrate their mascots, not insult them. Algonquin Regional High School is the perfect example.
We are a very prideful school, with the utmost respect for our maroon and gold colors. We don’t insult the Algonquin Native American tribe that our school resembles, or the tomahawks that represent us as a mascot. Many view it as a form of honor to be a tomahawk, and go to this school. I have not encountered anyone insulted by the Native American origins of our school. It is a symbol of pride, unity and excitement for every student and faculty member that attends Algonquin.
During football season, Algonquin football games are one of the must-go events of the weekend. Everyone looks forward to cheering on the team and screaming, “Let’s go T-hawks!” We look forward to dressing up in whatever the theme is each game to show our pride and unity as a school. Being a tomahawk brings unity to everyone rivaling against other schools in competition between anything. Whether it be sports, DECA or anything in between, it definitely feels good to be the school that all other towns are jealous of. Our mascot and name positively celebrated their tribe.
I am a senior at Algonquin, and I wouldn’t want to go to school anywhere else after experiencing the life of a tomahawk these past four years. I have difficulty placing anything offensive around our mascot. We are not alone in being represented by Native American tribes. Several other local schools such as Wachusett, Nashoba and Tahanto are represented by Native American symbols. All of these schools take pride in their mascots, and none of them insult what represents them. That is why people should find no offense towards our school name and mascot. They are made to represent, promote pride and celebrate, not hate.
Tomahawk exemplifies cultural appropriation, disrespects culture
At this moment in history’s arch there is no room for debate. Overcompensation is worth it. As a nation we have so deeply wronged Native Americans. I do not just mean the glorification of Christopher Columbus or the first Thanksgiving (though the first scars are always the most painful); I mean the blatant lack of attention or representation that manifests itself in the astronomical suicide, addiction and sexual assault rates on reservations. Our debt is so great, we must return all that we have stolen, starting with their name.
If you are going to claim the argument pride and honor, by all means, but as the saying goes: “walk the walk, do not just talk the talk.” Capitalizing off of history is not honor. The honoring of Natives would be a massively progressive stride. Push for Native representation in our school sanctioned literature, protest such disregards as the Dakota Access Pipeline, lobby for the representation of reservation officials in state and federal politics and most importantly inform yourself. Enroll in Silenced Voices. Know why the tomahawk represents strength. Know how long it would have taken you to earn each feather on your headdress. Know the sanctity of chants. It would be a ton of work, but if you want honor and you have pride, it would be worth it.
Our fear of change has grown bigger than our need for progress, and that is detrimental to a society. The answer is simple here. It is a lesson we learned in childhood: if you take something, give it back. A change in mascot or name is not jurassic. If your passion for the Northborough-Southborough school community is that deep, a simple and essential history correction should not be earth shattering. You must learn and adapt to satisfy the needs of society: the Native Americans did.