Drop the Warrior?

Northern Ozaukee School District asked to join statewide effort that would prohibit use of Native American mascot

A PLAQUE NEAR THE ENTRANCE of Ozaukee High School (left photo), a gift of the graduating class of 2016, explains the school’s mascot logo. Photo by Sam Arendt
Ozaukee Press Staff

The Northern Ozaukee School District is being asked to support a statewide effort to eradicate Native American mascots and imagery, including the district’s Warrior logo.

The Wausau School District is asking Wisconsin school boards to endorse a resolution to the Wisconsin Association of School Boards, or WASB, that would seek legislation to prohibit schools from using Native American mascots and imagery.

Several districts have already reportedly signed on, including in Madison and Sun Prairie. Milwaukee Public Schools officials have said they plan on taking up the matter.

Northern Ozaukee officials say they will address the issue in December, which is when they traditionally vote on all such resolutions to the WASB.

“It will probably be one of 12 or 15 resolutions that we will vote on,” NOSD School Board President Brent Neis said.

School Board member Steve Burmesch will attend the WASB convention at that time and vote on the resolutions as the School Board directs him, Neis said.

About 31 of the state’s 421 public school districts have Native American mascots, symbols, images, logos or names. 

The resolution states the use of mascots, logos and nicknames depicting Native Americans “establishes an unwelcome, divisive and hostile learning environment for Native American students and affirms negative stereotypes that are promoted in mainstream society.”

Neis would not comment on the resolution or how the NOSD School Board might vote, saying he had not read the resolution.

Neis said he views the Ozaukee High School Warrior logo, which depicts a Native American warrior in face paint and Mohawk hair cut from which feathers hang, as one that shows respect for Native American culture.

NOSD Supt. Dave Karrels, who graduated from Ozaukee High School in 2000, says the logo is meaningful and even inspirational to him and other Ozaukee High students and alumni, pointing to a plaque near the school entrance donated by the class of 2016.

The logo also appears on a sign in front of the high school, which is pictured on the high school’s web page, on the football team’s pants, basketball team sweatshirts, the high school booster club’s web page and other places.

The logo also is slated to appear on the west wall of the new cafeteria being added to the east side of the high school, according to a rendering from the project’s architect.



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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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Port Washington, WI 53074
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