The National Congress of American Indians and others have worked long and hard to pressure teams around to country to abandon native cultural images. A few weeks ago, Radnor High School banned their Red Raider mascot. The decision was praised by some and condemned by others. However, it has caused a spotlight to be placed on area schools, like Octorara Area School District and Coatesville, that use Native American imagery.
I personally believe both sides over react to the issue. My impression is the harm claimed caused to Native Americans is exaggerated. However, there is no harm caused by teams avoiding use of Native American symbols.
At the end of the day, Octorara will have to change the mascot at some point. Popular opinion, political pressure, and the courts will make keeping the mascot impossible, no matter how positive an image the district tries to create. It is what it is.
Just for fun, I have created this list of 5 team names/mascots that I think would work well:
Not one of the better ones on my list, but is a tip of the hat to the Christiana riots. On September 11, 1851, Christiana was the site of the Battle of Christiana (also called the Christiana riot), in which the local residents defended a fugitive slave. Blue Coates refer to Union soldiers, but Rioters probably would not go over well.
Another name with significance, and honoring Chester County’s historic role in shaping American history. The name would honor those how fought and died in the American Revolution. We would be celebrating independence and freedom, not conquest and domination.
We have here another name to celebrate local history. The Parkesburg Iron Company was the driving force behind Parkesburg’s prosperity for the first fifty-four years of the borough. The plant began operations on April 22, 1872 and closed on October 26, 1926.
Don’t laugh!! Wheat Ridge High School in Colorado has the Farmers as their team name, and the Fighting Farmer as their mascot. It would be appropriate for Octorara to honor local farmers. Not only do we live in an area with the most productive farmland in Chester County, but Octorara has the last Agricultural program in the county.
The name honors a major group who settled in Pennsylvania, William Penn who created Chester County and also the principles he used to setup Pennsylvania’s government. This gives us another opportunity to focus on the positive, rather than the negative.
There are also a whole list of other names like the Giants, Kings, Sharks, Lions, Mammoths, Raptors, Eagles, Heroes, Titans, that someone would really have to work hard at being offended over.
Incidentally, has anyone every wondered about the lack of creativity? Randor and Coatesville are both the Red Raiders. Octorara and Pequea Valley are both the Braves. It seems odd, doesn’t it?