As we all know, America is stolen land. Indigenous Peoples were originally on this land first, before colonizers came and took it. To pay homage to the lives that were lost in colonization, many locations we know and love today are named after the tribes that originally resided there. One such example is Mohonasen, which is named after a combination of the Mohawk, Onondaga, and Seneca tribes. Mohonasen School District's mascot is the Warriors, with three Native Americans depicted on the logo. While the school strives toward inclusivity and equality, the mascot and logo seem to do the opposite. There is even a petition on calling for their removal.

Instead of asking the Native community how to properly represent their people or avoiding the issue entirely by not displaying them at all, Mohonasen has chosen to use a Native American caricature to "represent" their culture. -Project Adenosine Triphosphate,

The battle for inclusivity has continued since 2001 when then Education Commissioner Richard P. Mills released a memo stating that "the use of Native American symbols or depictions as mascots can become a barrier to building a safe and nurturing school community and improving academic achievement for all students" (

CBS 6 News Albany: Crisis in the Classroom

The NYS Department of Education issued another memo last month to all public schools calling for the removal of mascots and logos of Indigenous Peoples. While some schools like the Waterloo and Lyme Central School Districts have complied with the directive by retiring their derogatory mascots, others like Cambridge have fought back, appealing the Commissioner's Memo ( With Mohonasen not taking action fast enough, their $27 million state aid is now being threatened as is the employment of various school officials.

We would have preferred if the State Education Department had reached out rather than starting off with a blatant threat to our school funding and our school district officers - Mohonasen School Board President Wade Abbott (CBS 6 News Albany)

No decision has been made yet as the Mohonasen school board is awaiting further guidance from the State on how to move forward.

In an effort to provide more clarity on the matter, NYSED released a proposal two weeks ago in hopes to aid local school districts in this time of change.

Should a district fail to affirmatively commit to replacing its Native American team name, logo, and/or imagery by the end of the 2022-23 school year, it may be in willful violation of the Dignity Act. The penalties for such a violation include the removal of school officers and the withholding of State Aid.

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