FONDA, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The New York State Education Department rejected a document submitted by the Fonda-Fultonville School District in an attempt to keep their mascot name the “Braves.”
The school district claimed they had the support of the Mohawk Nation through a letter that was signed by Dr. Tom Porter, a local Native American who said he has ties to the Mohawk Nation. But in an email from the education department to the district, they wrote: “We are not aware of Dr. Porter representing a federally recognized tribal nation within the state of New York.”
There are nine nations New York state recognizes officially and a signed document from Dr. Porter did not meet the state’s parameters. In New York, the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Council is the duly elected and recognized government of the Mohawk Tribe.
John Kane, who sits on the state’s Mascot Advisory Panel and lives on Seneca territory, elaborated on the issue of using Dr. Porter’s signature.
“Tom Porter was at one time sitting on the bench, so to speak, but that was many decades ago,” he explained. “He doesn’t speak on behalf of the Mohawk Nation. I guess he can call himself chief of the small village, but that’s not what New York State will recognize.”
In an email, the state added the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Council has made their support very clear for not using mascot names like “Braves” if those names are connected to Indigenous Americans.
The Fonda-Fultonville School District said it will set up a forum to discuss a plan moving forward. The proposed regulations from the state regarding mascot rebranding is expected to go before the Board of Regents in April. If approved, they will go into effect on May 3, 2023.