This letter was sent by e-mail to the board of the William S. Hart Union High School District;
I’m trying to understand why some folks are so intent on eradicating Indians from our culture. Hart High School has been here since the late 1940s with our wonderful Mighty Indian as mascot. William S. Hart revered Indians and used only true Indians in his movie, “Tumbleweed,” and he was a huge influence in this valley. After all we are the William S. Hart School District.
A few years ago it was noted that the caricature style of our Indian and use of the hatchet were offensive to some, so the hatchet and chant were taken away and so was the face, which was replaced with feathers. Most were happy with the change to be more respectful in our use of our beloved Indian.
Now we are seeming to follow the country in the removal of Indian names as mascots, etc. I’m still trying to understand why so many have been convinced to eliminate our Indian as a mascot. Someone said it had to do with racism and I had trouble seeing how that made any sense and they couldn’t explain it to me. Then someone came up with “educate, not eradicate,” and I thought that was a better idea. Teach our children and city about the Indians of our valley. Show how they enriched our valley and country. Now that made more sense.
I also read the stats in The Signal of the poll taken at Hart on whether to keep our Indian. In each category — teachers, staff and the different levels of student — more voted to keep the Indian than not. I thought that should carry weight. But, no, there had to be more and more surveys. Why? Then I somehow came back to race. Are we racist against Indians? That must be it. I cannot see any other reason to fight so hard to eliminate the Indian. IS that it? Then shame on us. I was a Piqua (Ohio) Indian in high school and loved our mascot. Now my daughter was a Hart Indian (Class of 2001) and my grandson is a Hart Indian (Class of 2024) and both love being an Indian. And my daughter’s father was part Chiricahua Apache, so she is doubly proud.
Please consider very carefully what this means. Consider the elimination of the Indian and what that means to generations of Hart Indians past. Someone said this sounds like what they call “cancel culture.” I sincerely hope that term will NOT apply to us.