CAMBRIDGE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — For nearly 80 years, the Cambridge Central School District was known as the Cambridge Indians. Last year, the school board was asked by petitioners to retire the school’s Native American imagery as many find it offensive to their culture.
On Thursday, the Cambridge Board of Education held a Special Meeting and voted on a resolution to retire the district’s mascot and logo. It came to a 3-2 vote, in favor to retire the Native American imagery. It will officially go into effect on July 1. In the resolution, the board will create a committee to select a new nickname but will keep all the historical awards, plaques, and trophies as the original mascot.
“I think if we did change the mascot, it will be a hassle because we would have to change everything like the floorboards in the gym, all that. Our posters,” says Cambridge student Andrew Coon. “It would cost a lot of money to change a mascot.”
John Kane is a Cambridge alumni, a Mohawk Native American and an activist. John hosts his own podcast called ‘Let’s Talk Native’. He has been petitioning to change the mascot and imagery since last year. “The problem is that we’re a living, breathing, and existing people. So our imagery being dehumanized in this fashion, no matter what anybody wants to talk about as far as honor and respect, it isn’t, it doesn’t,” says John.
There are several signs scattered across town encouraging the district to keep the name. Earlier in June, parents rallied in front of the school, they say the mascot is a sense of pride, and getting rid of it will erase history.
“We’ve had it for a while and it’s kind of like a sports thing. I guess we have a close attachment to it, but I can see how it might be racially insensitive. So I am kind of on both sides,” says Cambridge student Elijah Lulla.
NEWS10 has reached out to the district and the board members for a comment, but have not received a response at this time. The district was off on Friday for Juneteenth.