Following rising pressure from alumni and indigenous groups, the Manhasset Board of Education will discuss changing the Indian mascot at its meeting on Oct. 22.
District Superintendent Vincent Butera confirmed in an email to Blank Slate Media that the item was “scheduled to be discussed” at the meeting.
The discussion will take place less than two months after Sadanyah FlowingWater of the Montaukett tribe and Jeremy Dennis of the Shinnecock Indian Nation, both based on the East End, became the first Native figures to specifically request the mascot be changed, a conversation that began with Manhasset alumni who viewed the mascot to be outdated and racist, and a Change.org petition with over 3,000 signatures that started around the time the former Washington Redskins announced that they would be retiring their name and logo.
Over a week before the planned meeting, the Manhasset Justice Initiative, which has campaigned against the mascot for months, held an information session on Monday, the day that the state of New York and others recognize as Columbus Day but that some other municipalities, including 11 states, recognize as Indigenous Peoples Day.
“If Manhasset prides itself so much on academic excellence, it should respond to the plethora of evidence proving that ‘Indian mascots cause psychological damage to Indigenous youth by changing the mascot,” the organization said in a statement posted to Instagram. “As we learned in our educations at Manhasset, plenty of past societal norms were harmful and have since been changed.”
The Manhasset Board of Education will meet Oct. 22 at 8 p.m., viewable at youtube.com/user/ManhassetSchools.