Monday, 22 July 2024

Kelseyville School Board hears mascot argument

Image
Kelseyville resident Peter Windrem speaks at the Tuesday night meeting. Photo by Maile Field.

 

KELSEYVILLE – A school board agenda featuring a possible change of the high school mascot from the “Knights” back to the “Indians” drew a crowd of 150 here Tuesday night.


Public comments ranged from “Let’s move on,” which arose repeatedly, to County Supervisor Rob Brown waving a check for $1,000 in the air to support the cost of changing back.


The open-ended “Approve/Disapprove/Discuss” item followed a controversial but unanimous decision almost two years ago to change from the Indian mascot, at the request of a local Native American tribal member. The decision to change the name was unanimously upheld two months later then was hotly debated during the most recent school board election.


Speaking to neither side of the issue Tuesday night was high school English and world history teacher Meredith Lahmann. “Is the cartoon we use while playing games really a top priority compared to our children’s academic needs?” she asked.


“Where were the outcries from the community when test scores plummeted?” she continued.


“I was happy as a Kelseyville Indian but I am also happy as a Kelseyville Knight because a mascot is a cartoon used to represent a team when it is playing a game,” she said. “Therefore, I do not invest much energy in it.”


Marr Olsen, wearing an Indian-logo black sweatshirt that read “ALWAYS AN INDIAN” on the back, objected. “It’s not a cartoon character,” he said.


“It’s like the eagle on top of the flag,” he explained, “that’s not a cartoon.”


Responding to remarks from Kelseyville resident and attorney Peter Windrem, who stated clearly that he is descended from “the earliest settlers,” Olsen said, “If anyone wants to be that sensitive about it, then deed your land back to ‘em.”


Windrem had reviewed the origin of the term “Indian,” noting that it was applied to Native Americans by early travelers from Europe who thought they had reached India. He said the name “Indian” is owned by a group of people who have now requested it not be used.


“The graceful thing to do,” Windrem advised, would be to thank the group for its permitted use and now that permission is withdrawn we stop using the name … “and we go on with our lives.”


Members of Mendocino County’s Native American community spoke as well, including a woman who identified herself as “Tony,” who said the issue is about respect.


“If my people went out and massacred your people and then called ourselves 'The Oakies' or something,” she said, that would not be respectful.


But Leah Palmer disagreed. Palmer, who identified herself as a member of Kelseyville’s class of ’93, addressed the crowd while holding an infant. She said she is teaching her daughter cheers that use the term “Indian” with respect.


“If anyone thinks they were disrespected, it was because they didn’t understand,” she said.


Palmer said that abandoning the “Indian” mascot name is like “uprooting a family.”


Several speakers commented that the discussion was creating “strife” and “derision” in the community.


“Our billboards on the highway call Kelseyville a Friendly Country Town,” Lahmann said. “Are we?”


The board decided to continue the mascot discussion until next month.


{mos_sb_discuss:2}

Upcoming Calendar

23Jul
07.23.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
24Jul
07.24.2024 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
ReCoverCA Homebuyer Assistance Workshop
27Jul
07.27.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
30Jul
07.30.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
3Aug
08.03.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
6Aug
08.06.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
10Aug
08.10.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
13Aug
08.13.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
17Aug
08.17.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
20Aug
08.20.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park

Mini Calendar

loader

LCNews

Award winning journalism on the shores of Clear Lake. 

 

Newsletter

Enter your email here to make sure you get the daily headlines.

You'll receive one daily headline email and breaking news alerts.
No spam.