Native Tribe Gives Special Permission For School To Keep ‘Warriors’ Nickname After Statewide Ban

(Screenshot/YouTube/WKBW TV Buffalo, NY)

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Alexa Schwerha Contributor
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The Salamanca City Central School District, located in New York, will be allowed to continue being known as the “Warriors” despite a statewide ban after a local tribe gave their permission on Wednesday, The Associated Press (AP) reported.

The New York Board of Regents voted on April 18 to ban school districts from using words or images affiliated with Native American history unless they get permission from a native tribe. Seneca Indian Nation President Rickey Armstrong Sr. said that the school district, which is located on its Allegany Territory, has the “the most unique of circumstances” and many staff members and students are Native American, according to the AP. (RELATED: Kansas Board Of Education Suggests Schools Remove Native American-Themed Mascots)

“The Salamanca City Central School District values our relationship with the Seneca Nation of Indians and is honored to receive the endorsement of our Warrior identity and the continued use of our logo,” Mark Beehler, district superintendent, said in a statement. “Over the next week, the district’s Native American Curriculum Team will be releasing educational resources that will be used to teach the history and meaning of our logo and what it means to be a Warrior in Salamanca. It is our hope these resources will educate and contribute to the eradication of stereotypes and misunderstandings that lead to bias and racism.”

The school’s logo depicts a Native American man and was designed by a Seneca tribe artist, the AP reported. Armstrong told the outlet that the regents’ ruling gave them “much to consider.”

“While the Nation reserves our ability to revoke this support at any time … it is our hope that the district will continue to cultivate a culture with which our students can identify, where they feel respected, and where they can excel as students and as individuals,” Armstrong wrote in a statement to the AP.

Salamanca is built on land that was leased from a Native American reservation, the AP reported. Approximately 38% of the district’s students are members of Seneca Indian Nation.

A majority of Salamanca students wanted to keep their “Warrior” moniker, according to a survey sent by the district. Some students and parents viewed a potential change as another way to erase their Native American heritage.

There are currently 966 school districts that currently have a Native American-affiliated mascots including “Redskins,” “Indians,” “Braves,” “Chiefs” and “Warriors,” according to the National Congress of American Indians. There are at least 21 states that have “taken or are considering taking formal actions” against such mascots.

“The regulation allowed public school districts with existing relationships with a federally or state-recognized nation to utilize an Indigenous name, mascot, or logo if an agreement exists in writing between the tribal nation and public school prior to May 3, the effective date of the proposed rule,” a New York State Education Department official told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Salamanca City School District’s agreement with the Seneca Nation preceded this deadline, as it was finalized April 27th.”

Seneca Indian Nation did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment. Salamanca City Central School District referred the DCNF to its public statement.

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