There Are So Many Ohio High Schools with Native American Mascots

click to enlarge Mascot for the Mohawk High School "Warriors," in Wyandot County.
Mascot for the Mohawk High School "Warriors," in Wyandot County.
Sunday, the Toledo Blade published an important story about the use of Native American mascots in Ohio High Schools.

Ohio ranks number one in the nation for total native mascots, according to the report, with 85 schools that use them (by its count). Eleven use the "Redskins" slur, including Cuyahoga Heights High School, and five use "Redmen," including Parma High School. 

In 2014, reported that Ohio was behind only Indiana and South Dakota for states with the highest percentage of high schools that used native mascots — 11.2 percent of Ohio high schools use them. The same report found that Native Americans made up less than 0.5 percent of the state's population.

The Blade piece quoted rural school district superintendents on the subject, and asked whether or not there was any appetite for (or conversations about) changing these names and logos. Though it's perhaps superfluous by now to mention, these are regarded by Native American communities, and a growing number in the general population, as racist (or at the very least disrespectful). 

In every case, at least in the Blade's coverage area, there was no momentum for making a change. Community pride and "tradition" were the largest road blocks, though the financial impediment was mentioned in one case. 

“It would be interesting to see what it would cost to change over," said Bruce Kidder, the superintendent in Hancock County, a district which includes Arcadia High School (one of the state's "Redskins" schools). "It would be fairly expensive. We’ve got uniforms, templates, carvings, letterhead. It would have to be a serious financial commitment for a small rural district. I don’t know any superintendent in Ohio who would unilaterally make that move.”

The piece notes that the gear and clothing brand Adidas, in 2015, encouraged high schools nationwide to drop Native American mascots and offered to provide financial resources and staff for any school that wished to make a change. No school in Ohio took the offer.

The Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) maintains that school mascots and logos are entirely up to the schools themselves. The statewide body has not intervened. Nor has the state of Ohio adopted legislation to ban Native American Mascots in high schools, as has happened elsewhere. In Oregon, schools that use native mascots can't receive public funding. In California, "Redskins" has been outlawed for team names.

Scene analyzed the full list of OHSAA high schools and their mascots, last updated for the 2014-2015 school year. We found a total of 79 schools, (not 85), that use Native American names and logos.

The reason for the discrepancy? Among the "Warriors" schools, though most employed Native American imagery — have a look, for example, at the festively painted fellow bursting through the bricks in the upper left hand corner of Trumbull County's Brookfield Local Schools' website, or the image above from Mohawk High School in Wyandot County — six used a "Spartan" or "Trojan"-style soldier.

Among the four schools that use "Arrows," one has no native branding or markers. Two of the other three feature feathers dangling from arrows in a Native American style.

Here they all are, with counties in parentheses. Schools in Cuyahoga and its six contiguous counties are in bold.

  1. Fairview Apaches (Defiance)
  2. Ashland Arrows (Ashland)
  3. Preble Shawnee Arrows (Preble)
  4. Tecumseh Arrows (Clark)
  5. Badger Braves (Trumbull)
  6. Indian Hill Braves (Hamilton)
  7. Indian Valley Braves (Tuscarawas)
  8. Logan Elm Braves (Pickaway)
  9. Olentangy Braves (Delaware)
  10. Shawnee Braves (Clark)
  11. Talawanda Braves (Butler)
  12. Whetstone Braves (Franklin)
  13. Bellefontaine Chieftans (Logan)
  14. Hopewell-Loudon Chieftans (Seneca)
  15. Logan Chieftans (Hocking)
  16. Canal Winchester Indians (Franklin)
  17. Carlisle Indians (Warren)
  18. Cedarville Indians (Greene)
  19. Cincinnati Country Day Indians (Hamilton)
  20. Copley Indians (Summit)
  21. Fairfield Indians (Butler)
  22. Fort Recovery Indians (Mercer)
  23. Girard Indians (Trumbull)
  24. Hillsboro Indians (Highland)
  25. Mechanicsburg Indians (Champaign)
  26. Mount Gilead Indians (Morrow)
  27. Newton Local Indians (Miami)
  28. Canal Fulton Northwest Indians (Stark)
  29. Peebles Indians (Adams)
  30. Piqua Indians (Miami)
  31. Rittman Indians (Wayne)
  32. Shawnee Indians (Allen)
  33. Salineville Southern Indians (Columbiana)
  34. Stebbins Indians (Montgomery)
  35. Valley Indians (Scioto)
  36. Waite Indians (Lucas)
  37. Wauseon Indians (Fulton)
  38. Latham Western Indians (Pike)
  39. Norwood Indians / Lady Indians (Hamilton)
  40. Madison Senior Mohawks (Butler)
  41. McAuley Mohawks (Hamilton)
  42. McDermott Northwest Mohawks (Scioto)
  43. St. Wendelin Mohawks (Hancock)
  44. Bucyrus Redmen (Crawford)
  45. Fostoria Redmen (Wood)
  46. Parma Redmen (Cuyahoga)
  47. Rock Hill Redmen (Lawrence)
  48. Bellevue Redmen / Lady Red (Huron)
  49. Anderson Redskins (Hamilton)
  50. Arcadia Redskins (Hancock)
  51. Caldwell Redskins (Noble)
  52. Coshocton Redskins (Coshocton)
  53. Cuyahoga Heights Redskins (Cuyahoga)
  54. Fort Laramie Redskins (Shelby)
  55. Indian Creek Redskins (Jefferson)
  56. Port Clinton Redskins (Ottawa)
  57. St. Henry Redskins (Mercer)
  58. Utica Redskins (Licking)
  59. Wapakoneta Redskins (Auglaize)
  60. Monroe Central Seminoles (Monroe)
  61. Calvert Senecas (Seneca)
  62. Adena Warriors (Ross)
  63. Brookfield Warriors (Trumbull)
  64. Buckeye Trail Warriors (Guernsey)
  65. Carrollton Warriors (Carroll)
  66. Winchester Eastern Warriors (Brown)
  67. Edgewood Warriors (Ashtabula)
  68. Fairview Warriors (Cuyahoga)
  69. Lebanon Warriors (Warren)
  70. Mariemont Warriors (Hamilton)
  71. Mohawk Warriors (Wyandot)
  72. Springfield Northwestern Warriors (Clark)
  73. Ontario Warriors (Richland)
  74. Walsh Jesuit Warriors (Summit)
  75. Watkins Memorial Warriors (Licking)
  76. Wayne Warriors (Montgomery)
  77. West Branch Warriors (Mahoning)
  78. Winton Woods Warriors (Hamilton)
  79. Goshen Warriors / Lady Warriors (Clermont)
There has been one change locally. Oberlin High School, formerly the "Indians" changed its mascot to the "Phoenix" in 2007 after local organizing from Native American activists and others.
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Sam Allard

Sam Allard is the Senior Writer at Scene, in which capacity he covers politics and power and writes about movies when time permits. He's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and the NEOMFA at Cleveland State. Prior to joining Scene, he was encamped in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on an...
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