BROOKVILLE — Members of the community pleaded with the Brookville Area School Board to keep the Indian Chief’s head as the school district’s mascot and logo.
The concerns were voiced after last week’s announcement at the school board’s work session that a new logo was being designed for center court of the main gym at the high school, to avoid possible problems in the future.
Pam Ames carried with her a portrait of Chief Joseph of the Wallowa band of the Nez Perce Tribe. “He became known as a peacemaker and humanitarian,” and many memorials across the nation honor him, she said.
Referring to statues and memorials which have recently been defaced and destroyed, she said, “we can’t keep giving in for everything. Somewhere you have to draw the line and you have to stand.”
Ames said she would “make a motion that we name our mascot Chief Joseph. He is someone we can admire and someone we can learn from.”
Madelynn Rittenhouse, a graduate of BAHS, said she “always felt pride, even to this day, when I looked at the Indian chief and the totem pole. That stood for many, many things. Whenever I learned that the school board was considering taking that away, it was like a jab in the heart. I honestly feel this is a political move. I don’t think we should buckle to the worldly things. I think we should think of our students and what example we are giving. If we follow a political agenda we are bowing to the world. That isn’t a lesson we want to teach our youth. We want to teach our youth to be tall, be proud, be strong, be brave — many of the things our Indian mascot stands for. I would implore you to please reconsider and keep our Indian mascot because it means an awful lot to a lot of people.”
Erin Byerly, also a BAHS graduate, said “the community is very upset. Our mascot is a source of pride for us. We always looked to the Indian chief as someone we wanted to be like. There is a lot of pressure from the world today, and racism, but this stands for a sense of pride and heroism. There are people that have moved away, but when we see that picture we are Brookville, we are Brookville proud. The emblem enhances the players. It stands for the pride in what they are playing for. I think this is just the beginning. Please keep that mascot and keep our community together.”
Football coach Scott Park reminded everyone that “the football program has always been a part of the Raider Brookville school. Since 1970 there has never been a Raider head on a helmet. It has always been a B.”
Superintendent Erich May responded, saying, “I want to make it clear that at this time we are not getting rid of the mascot. We are the Raiders, the mighty fighting Raiders. What’s changing is the emblem at mid-court.” He said it is “the intention that when people walk into the gym, students are the focus of the activity in that gym, not some political scuttlebutt. That’s what we are doing here, to make sure our kids are the focus in that gym. We are working with some of our community partners to develop a logo for the gym floor. We are avoiding a fight we don’t need.”