MHS should revisit changing school mascot

Taryn Robinson, Opinions Editor

Parents, administrators and students have recently brought up the Manhattan High mascot as a topic in light of recent human rights issues. However, because of COVID-19, it has not been the school board’s top priority recently. 

But it’s the feeling of The Mentor Editorial Board that Manhattan High should revisit the decision to change its mascot. 

Many in the Manhattan community are skeptical of what the Indian actually stands for and why it’s appropriate in our current time. It’s a topic that has been brought up many times over the years. Through discussion between MHS and the community, the decision to make adjustments was brought up again four years ago. 

At that time they wound up changing the physical mascot, but not the mascot as a whole. Therefore, MHS is still the Indians but will have a wolf physically perform at pep rallies or sports games. Students were involved in the vote to pick between three options of what they would want their physical mascot to be. Plans are in place, but a wolf has not performed at any school events.

The mascot was an Indian to honor a former administrator and coach — Frank Prentup, who coached football at MHS in the 1940s. The intention at that time wasn’t to be offensive, it was to honor him and to remember the influence he had on the school. 

However, there have been rare occurrences where people purposely disrespected the Native American race. In the 1990s, a student dressed up as an Indian and ran around making the tribal calls of Indian people and leading students in cheers related to that. Because of that, MHS has not introduced an Indian mascot at school events because it was seen as racist.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, MHS has different priorities at the moment that don’t relate to changing the mascot and concluding plans for the physical mascot. Not to mention, many students and faculty feel the same way. However, the school board should look into revisiting the idea in effort to be more attentive towards human rights issues.