Suburban school mascot causing controversy after video goes viral

DES PLAINES, Ill. -- A mascot at a suburban high school is at the center of new controversy.

Des Plaines Maine West’s warrior is drawing criticism from the Native American community after a video of the mascot went viral on social media.

The video was from a spring assembly at the school and show’s the mascot, a warrior, performing his routine. He dances around the gym as the crowd cheers him on.

Nick Weyna is a Sophomore at Maine West and says portraying the warrior is considered an honor at his high school.

“It’s a fun thing during the assemblies when the warrior runs out and starts dancing and stuff,” he said. “I think it’s a fun way to bring people together.”

The tradition dates back to 1959 but it’s drawing new criticism. Some people say the warrior mascot is offensive to the Native American culture.

It’s caused school officials to re-examine the use of the warrior mascot, although they say they have portrayed it with dignity and respect at all times.

In a statement, a school spokesperson said:

In light of recent questions concerning Maine West High School’s presentation of the Warrior
mascot, school administrators are reviewing the school’s practices.
Questions have been raised via social media channels about a Twitter post that featured an image
of the Warrior mascot during a recent Maine West school assembly.
Any utilization of the Warrior mascot to this point has been grounded in the belief that we have
portrayed the Maine West Warrior with dignity and respect at all times, emphasizing the
qualities of leadership, integrity, responsibility, respect, and empathy toward others. Maine West
and Maine Township High School District 207 represent an extremely diverse community, and
we take pride in our cultural diversity. We realize and understand that the conversation and
perception of Native American mascots has shifted and evolved in recent years. It is neither
Maine West’s intent nor wish to offend, and we want to ensure that our practices do not detract
attention from the exceptional work being done at our schools by students, staff and community.