Braves mascot receives new look
Published: Friday, August 31, 2012
Updated: Friday, August 31, 2012 01:08
A Native American has always represented Talawanda High School and for decades the mascot has been The Braves. It wasn’t until this year, that mascot finally had a standardized image to represent all of Talawanda.
At the Board of Education meeting August 20, members approved a Native American silhouette in blue with a red T within it by a 3-2 vote, Mark Butterfield, president of the Board, said.
Butterfield, Darrell Smith and Lois Vollmer all voted for the image, while Board Vice President Michael Crowder and Mary Jane Roberts opposed the decision.
The image was one of eight considered and differed in the way the mascot’s head looked, Butterfield said. The jewelry and feathers were more pronounced in the other seven images, and according to Butterfield, both Crowder and Roberts voted against it because he said they did not appear to be comfortable with the image that was approved.
In the past, Talawanda has received some concerns about whether or not a Native American representing the school was discrimination. This concern has come from a couple of students, a parent, and a few members of the community, Butterfield said, however, the number of people who approved the image overpowered those who did not.
Even though members of the Talawanda community did not vote for the image, their concerns were taken into consideration when the Board members discussed and voted on it.
“Literally hundreds if not thousands approved the existing image,” Butterfield said. “So many supported it. That’s why they ended up with the image that they did.”
According to Butterfield there was the perception that by approving this image they were changing the school mascot, which he says is not the case.
“We were not trying to create a new mascot. We were just trying to standardize because there are so many images out there,” he said. “What was happening was all of our athletic teams and administration staff were using something different and we wanted to come up with one that represented Talawanda at this time.”
Even though the use of a Native American mascot may have upset certain members of the Talawanda community, since the image has been approved there have been no complaints, Tom York, Talawanda Principal, said.
“I haven’t heard any comments or complains from anyone at this point, none of them directed to my office,” York said. “I don’t have a feel for what’s going to happen down the road, but right now it seems to be that it’s acceptable to whomever would object.”
However, even though York has not received complaints directed to his office, there are still those who are upset with the mascot. Some students, such as Andrea Christman, a Talawanda alum and Miami University sophomore, said she believes the use of a Native American as a mascot is extremely discriminatory.
“It is absolutely discrimination,” she said. “There are studies, psychological studies, that show having your people, ethnicity, as a mascot is harmful to the children that associate with that [group]. How would you like to be the Talawanda Caucasians or the Talawanda Oxfordians?”
The image for The Braves has been approved regardless of the concerns of some students and members of the Talawanda community. The future of the image is still uncertain.
“Well I know there are people who are never going to give up,” Christman said.