School board position on mascots


On March 8, 2019, Professor Mark Blaauw-Hara, PhD, from North Central College, authored a Letter to the Editor to the Escanaba School Board titled “Escanaba’s School Mascot.” Within it, he states, “I’d like to suggest that you read an excellent analysis of Mo in particular, written in the context of Native mascots in general: https://www.sfu.ca/ipinch/outputs/blog/appropriation-month-eskimo-our-imagination/”. This article was published by Canada’s Simon Fraser University in October 2015. It contains a photo of the Escanaba water tower with the slant eyed caricature of MO and Eskymos written on it. The article also shows another caricature of MO pointing to a hockey stick. The piece states “Cultural appropriation, the often-unwelcome ‘borrowing’ of elements from one culture by members of another, encompasses a broad range of issues from identity to cultural oppression. Misappropriation, as George Nicholas reminds us, “isn’t always clear or simple, and is often nuanced or contextual” (2014). At the heart of this issue is often sheer ignorance and, in some cases, overt racism.”

Has anybody read it besides me? If not, please do. Dr. Blaauw-Hara eloquently closes his LTE with “The decisions you make about your town, your school, and its mascot represent larger concerns; they are not limited to your community. They represent your values to those outside Escanaba.” It’s been two months since Dr. Blaauw-Hara’s letter was printed, and I’ve been waiting for a Letter to the Editor in response from anyone on the Escanaba School Board, or anybody. But, there hasn’t been one. I haven’t seen the subject of his letter on any agendas of the Escanaba School Board meetings to date either. Just what is the Escanaba School Board’s position?

Gerry Niedermaier



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