This is a printer-friendly version of an article from Zip06.com.Article Published November 17, 2020
The Mascot Search Committee, a group of parents, faculty, students, and community members tasked with replacing the Guilford High School (GHS) Indians mascot that was retired last summer, has released a shortlist of possible new nicknames.
Those possibilities are the Bears, the Eagles, the Falcons, the Giants, the Green Wave, the Grizzlies, the Gryphons (or Griffins), the Hawks, the Hurricanes, the Mariners, the Rams (GHS’s original mascot), the Seahawks, the Whalers, or the Wolfpack.
On Monday, Nov. 23, students in grades 5 to 12 will vote on these 14 possibilities, narrowing down the selection to five finalists. Sometime after the Thanksgiving holiday, another vote of the same demographic of students will choose the new mascot.
More than 300 community members submitted ideas for the mascot, according to schools’ Communications Coordinator Lorri Hahn, from which the 14-name shortlist was derived.
In 1949, GHS changed its mascot from the Rams to the Indians, using generic western tribal imagery as well as racist caricatures in yearbooks to represent the new name. In the early 1990s, the school updated some of the branding in an attempt to more accurately reflect the indigenous peoples who live in the area, though it does not appear any of those people were consulted at the time.
Though controversy followed the name for at least the last 30 years, the schools resisted a change until this past summer when, following a handful of community conversations and public input from regional tribes, the Board of Education voted on June 29 to immediately retire the Indians moniker.
The change saw significant support, particularly from GHS alumni, though it was also vocally opposed by many in the community. Use of native or indigenous mascots and nicknames have long been associated with harmful effects and negative outcomes for those people, and surveys have shown most indiginous people oppose their use.
Some tribes, including the Mohegan in Connecticut, have reached agreements with schools to appropriately use mascots or tribal imagery.