Recently, NYS passed an edict that all school districts must basically purge any mention of Native Americans in relation to their sports teams, mascots, and school names. They say it’s “offensive” and “derogatory” and “racist.” What they don’t say is that we named our schools, streets, housing developments, and mascots after native Americans out of respect and reverence for them. We named our sports teams after them because they are a tough, steadfast, fight to the end kind of people. Our teams are who we put forth with pride to compete against other districts, who we send to represent us in the fiercest competitions. We named many of them after Native American tribes because they embody what it means to be BRAVE and who we want our kids to emulate.
I think the Averill Park School Board needs to tell the state education department that we aren’t changing our name for these reasons. We want our kids to be fighters. We want them to be assertive and resiliant. We want them to stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. The school board needs to fight for our kid’s futures and their right to be WARRIORS. Otherwise, we should just change our name to the Possums, roll over, and play dead.
Steve Valente, Poestenkill