A new high school opening in Loudon County, Va.  next year and  named after the Tuscarora Indian tribe has left the principal to negotiate a political minefield as she chooses the school’s mascot.

Once upon a time before the politically correct thought police took over the landscape choosing a mascot was a fun and easy exercise.

But now the principal faces the challenge of finding a name that will evoke school spirit and pride while at the same time avoiding offending any and all ethnic groups and minorities.

The principal  Pamela Paul-Jacobs told the Washington Post last week that in choosing a mascot that  she wanted to pay respect to the Tuscaroras’ heritage and didn’t want to create controversy.

That controversy meant that names like Squaw, Warriors and Indians were out before anyone had a chance to vote.

After the school board in Montgomery County, Md where I live outlawed Indian names as mascots in 2001 Poolesville High School was forced to drop their beloved mascot after 50 years to become the Falcons.  My old high school which was also known as the Indians for the first 30 years of its existence is now the Warriors after re-opening after being closed for nearly 20 years.  I’m sorry but as happy as I am that the school has been given new life, I will always be an Indian.

How did we get here?  Well one reason is that activists on the issue received the backing of the American Psychological Association and the American Sociological Society who have jumped on the anti-Indian mascot bandwagon by claiming there is a  growing body of research showing that the mascots create a hostile learning environment for Native American students and hurt their self-esteem.

This is another case where the feelings of the majority are being ruled by the supposed feelings of the minority.

For those at schools that have resisted the call to drop their Indian named mascots they see the names as evoking pride and honor. 

I know that when I was going to high school that it never occurred to me that the name Indian was demeaning to anyone and none of my Native American friends ever complained about the mascot.   Our mascot evoked  not only a sense of pride but one of what I’ll call toughness.  In sports you want an edge and as a athlete I would have more fear of an Indian or Warrior than a Falcon or Clown.

Paul-Jacobs thought she found a winner in the name Tribe as it conveyed a sense of family and people coming together for a greater cause, the collective group.

But fearing the PC police she decided to consult with Teresa Morris, founder of the Coastal Carolina Indian Center and a descendant of Tuscarora Indians.

Morris told Paul-Jacobs that she was honored that the school community chose the name Tuscarora but felt that was as far as it should go fearing people showing up to a game wearing war paint and making Indian chants which would be disrespectful.

Rather than the Tribe Morris suggested the state bird which is the cardinal.

Won’t that offend bird lovers who might worry that the mascot will be a meaner looking bird?

In the end Paul-Jacobs decided to drop Tribe from the list and instead will choose from Timber Wolves, Huskies and Tigers.

Political correctness run amok.  You betcha!

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