A newly elected school board in southern Pennsylvania is bringing back one school’s American Indian mascot.
The school board for the Southern York County School District, about an hour north of Baltimore, voted 7-2 on Thursday to let Susquehannock High School bring back its traditional logo.
The new Southern York County school board defied cancel culture to restore a logo celebrating Native American Indian heritage pic.twitter.com/iql6Gr7jmw
— Catherine Salgado (@CatSalgado32) January 23, 2024
The school’s “Warrior Head” logo, which depicts a Native American in a feather headdress with a tomahawk and a pipe, honors the Susquehannock Indian tribe.
The vote comes two months after the district elected five new school board members, who ran on pro-American Indian platforms.
All seven board members who voted to bring back the old logo were elected after another vote to eliminate the logo back in 2020, a move that sparked outrage in the community.
A new logo was created, a “W” with an arrow through it, showing “movement and a forward, upward direction symbolizing the district’s direction in academics, athletics and as a community,” according to graphic communications teacher Wade Bowers.
Critics argued that the push to retire the logo was erasing the area’s history.
In 2020, the school board’s diversity committee found that the Susquehannock tribe supposedly never lived in the area of the district.
However, local historians disagree, saying the Susquehannock people were known to reside in the area.
“The Susquehannock lived in large fortified towns, the largest of which may have had a population of nearly 3,000 people,” the Susquehanna National Heritage Area says on its website.
“Their communities were located along the Susquehanna, especially in Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, and York counties,” the website says.
Nevertheless, the Southern York County school board at the time went ahead with the vote to remove the American Indian mascot despite a petition against it that garnered 3,800 signatures.
Jennifer and Nathan Henkel, the parents of three children, are two of the new school board members who voted to bring back the old logo.
“This movement was about erasing Native American culture and I wasn’t about to stand for it,” Jennifer Henkel told Fox News.
“This school was built on Susquehanna land,” one community member said at Thursday’s meeting. “Those people lived here. You cannot rewrite history. You can’t cancel the past.”
One group that urged the school board to restore the logo was the Native American Guardians Association, which has also pushed for the NFL’s Washington Commanders to return to its former “Redskins” name.
“The SYCSD school board stands as a role model and blueprint for other communities fighting for their Native names and imagery,” the group said in a statement hailing Thursday’s vote.