North Central High School will consider officially changing its mascot after a group of Native American students raised concerns that the symbol is dehumanizing to Indigenous people.
North Central High School has had an Indian as its mascot for almost 100 years, adopting it in 1923. In the 1990s students voted to not use the symbol for athletic events, but it is still visible on school property, and the image is used by the Alumni Association.
Ivy Pete is a junior at North Central Highschool and member of the Pyramid Lake-Paiute Tribe of northern Nevada. On Wednesday night, she asked the school board for the change.
“This is not an attempt to erase North Central’s history,” she said. “Now is the time to move forward with our student’s well-being at the forefront because as long as we retain the name Indians at North Central, it is at the expense of the true and real depiction of Native students and their connection to their peoples, their nations and their cultures.”
School Board Member Nikki Lockwood said she was proud to be a part of the process, and said it could be the first step in reversing the harm done to Indigenous students.
“I think this is really important,” she said, “and I’m glad to be a school board member who can look forward to working on some sort of repair for this issue.”
School Board members decided to pursue changing the mascot, which will eventually require a public hearing. Even if the school board doesn't act voluntarily, the high school may soon be required to make the change. A bill prohibiting the inappropriate use of Native American names or symbols has already made its way through the state House and is now being considered in a committee in the Senate.