Dare BOE endorses ‘Braves’ and ‘Redskins’ mascots

By on October 13, 2020

After a presentation from a group that wants to retain the “Braves” and “Redskins” mascots and names for the Manteo Middle and Manteo High School athletic teams, the Dare County Board of Education unanimously endorsed keeping those names at its Oct. 13 meeting.

The presentation, in the form of an 11-minute video from a group loosely known as “Save the Redskins,” followed a September presentation before the board by a group pressing for the school district to change the mascots, claiming the names were racially tinged, insulting and disrespectful to Native Americans. That group submitted an online petition with more than 12,000 endorsing a change.

Judy Cage, one of the organizers of the group supporting the mascots, told the Voice in an interview that, “We formed as a response to the group that wanted the mascot changed…We just feel like [those] people are dismissing the mascot out of hand without realizing the history and context” of the names.

That issue was recently re-ignited when what is now the Washington Football Team dropped its longstanding and controversial Redskins nickname amid considerable pressure, including from sponsors. For her part, Cage said, “The NFL changed their mascot out of financial fear…It’s a really different situation with a small high school.”

The presentation at the Oct. 13 meeting by Cage’s group included some history, some advocacy and some testimonials, largely from a number of Manteo alum and students.

Carol Meekins, a 1956 grad of Manteo High School, talked about Chief Manteo’s good relationship with the British explorers and their colonists on Roanoke Island, said he was the first Native American to be baptized into the Church of England, and described him as “an early example of positive racial and cultural relations in North America.”

Meekins also reported that the first known depiction of Manteo High’s Redskins mascot was in a yearbook from 1937, the same year the curtain came up on the first performance of The Lost Colony play. The presentation also included Manteo High students and alum declaring themselves “proud to be a Redskin.”

Board of Education Chair Bea Basnight opened the discussion after the presentation by stating that after a very difficult year of closed schools, remote learning and little social bonding, “I think it’s not the wisest thing to consider taking away one more thing [the mascot] from our students.”

Board Member Harvey Hess spoke of the dangers of American communities being “intimidated” into erasing their histories, and  he and criticized the efforts of the change-the-mascot movement as “an attempt from people from a lot of other places to instill their beliefs in our community.”

Noting that “I received a lot of information on both sides of the topic,” Board Member Frank Hester said, “You can see the passion on both sides of the subject. I also feel it’s not the right time to” change the names.

While Hess offered a more proactive motion to endorse keeping the Braves and Redskins mascots, Hester suggesting tabling any action on the matter now, in order to “focus on getting the kids back in school” and further studying the issue down the road.

In the end, the board unanimously approved the Hess motion.



Comments

  • themoreyouknow

    The wonderful Union army that fought the South to free the slaves, is the same army that went west and murdered, raped, and enslaved the Native Americans to reservations. Did the north really fight to free the slaves, or just protect the union? Seems they simply fought to keep the union because they didn’t seem to care about enslaved people when they went and killed Native Americans in the west. So to call them Braves, Warriors, to fight against the US Army in the 1870’s, are honorary words.

    Thursday, Oct 15 @ 4:55 pm
  • Jenna James

    Maybe if the mascot was changed from a native American to a peanut, we could all get along?

    United we stand…

    Thursday, Oct 15 @ 7:30 pm
  • Obxboxer

    I wonder if the old farts that want to keep the name got 12,000 signatures in favor. Since it is a public school hopefully it’ll be “revisited”
    As a mhs graduate and life long local I support changing the redskins name because it is ridiculous. I don’t believe that the agrument holds water that it would divide the kids or the kids will feel like something has been taken away. I am proud to be a mhs alumni BUT that isn’t because of the freaking mascot it is because at one time it was an amazing school. Once you go off to college or don’t you high school mascot doesn’t really matter. You either went to manteo high school or you didn’t. I don’t know anyone who would say I’m a redskin graduate on a resume. Mascots aren’t a big deal unless it is racist and in 2020 not 1900 it is hard to find much to support that. No kids will be harmed in changing the mascot of a small high school. Mascots do not erase history STOP using that as a reason! As for most of us people from here or manteo high school alumni we aren’t making native americans proud that is dumb to even reach that far. When mhs becomes a privately funded facility it can take a vote and have whatever mascot.

    Friday, Oct 16 @ 3:14 am
  • Manteo

    Where were all of you PC’s one year ago or six months ago? You were not protesting the “Red Skins” name then? You were not out petitioning to get the name changed. Just recent arrivals trying to stir things up.

    Friday, Oct 16 @ 9:31 am
  • Surf123

    Recent arrivals are a constant problem. They move here after several years of vacations thinking it is the same as living here (it’s not). After getting moved in they figure out there are things they do not like and start pushing their “ideas” on us as if we cannot think on our on or that they will enlighten us. If you want to move here the fine, but do not try and change it as it will morph into what you moved away from.

    Friday, Oct 16 @ 10:01 am
  • Harvey Hess III

    My father is a school board member and was a strong proponent in keeping the name Redskin and Brave for our Roanoke Island schools. I agree with the board’s decision to keep the names. I applaud them for their hard work and dedication to our county. I also feel that hiding behind fake screen names is cowardly in criticizing thier descions. If you have and opinion just have the guts to put your name next to it. Our elected officials Democrat or Republican put their hard work and time into our county. Agree or disagree at least you know where they stand because they have to attach their names to their statement. My name is Harvey Hess III, I don’t hide behind screen names on a computer.

    Friday, Oct 16 @ 8:03 pm
  • Rob Ross

    To Harvey Hess III, my congratulations. You show real courage in stating your position and doing so clearly and forcefully. Your stance that people need to provide their names and not hide behind screen names is long overdue. Well said. I am glad you are a member of our proud community.

    Saturday, Oct 17 @ 8:41 pm
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