CHICAGO — Lane Tech High School may soon get rid of its Native American mascot that many are saying is racist.
The school has been home to the Lane Tech Indians — a Native American man wearing a feathered headdress — for more than 100 years but now a mascot change may be coming after more than 1,000 alums signed a petition asking the school to remove the mascot because it is racist and wrong.
In an email sent to the Lane Tech community, Principal Brian Dennison said the school is working with the Local School Council and Chicago Public Schools to adopt a new mascot.
The letter reads in part the following:
“…During this important time of confronting racist structures within our society and our school, we as a school community have been hearing from various stakeholders asking to change Lane’s mascot. As a school community, we champion diversity, inclusion and understanding, and it’s essential we live up to these ideals in all possible ways…”
Nationally, professional sports teams in recent years have been in the cultural crosshairs as well.
The Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder has come under intense pressure to change the name of the organization.
The Cleveland Indians have phased out the use of its cartoonish Indian depiction of Chief Wahoo.
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign nixed Chief Illiniwek in 2007 after it was accused of cultural appropriation by educators and Native Americans.
There are some alums in favor of keeping the school’s mascot. A Facebook called “SAVE Lane Tech Indians Name, Logo and Imagery” has about 250 members as of Wednesday. The creator of the Facebook group declined to comment to WGN.
A push to drop Lane Tech’s Indian mascot association has happened before — about three years ago. The thing that could be different this time around is that the death of George Floyd has given birth to a movement.
A New Jersey school has already dropped its Indian mascot and commercial brands Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben’s are getting rid of what the companies called racist imagery left over from a previous era.
The Chicago Blackhawks have not had substantial calls to remove its Indian head logo tribe.