CAMBRIDGE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A temporary hold in October has grown into a mandate. After months of debate, and reversed decisions, Cambridge Central School District’s school mascot has to change.
On Tuesday, the Cambridge School Board made a post on the district website. The post states that New York State Department of Education Commissioner Betty Rosa sustained the appeal brought before her by Cambridge residents, following the reversal of the decision to change the school’s mascot, a depiction of a Native American warrior. Rosa’s decision came with a deadline: Cambridge must completely retire use of the mascot, as well as the “Indians” name used for school sports teams, by July 1, 2022.
“We are disappointed with Commissioner Rosa’s decision,” the Cambridge School Board wrote in a statement on Tuesday. “The Board will be taking time to thoroughly and thoughtfully review the decision to best determine how to proceed. The Board is committed to maintaining transparency throughout this process and will provide an update to the community after it determines how to proceed on this matter.”
The decision comes after the school board first voted to change the mascot back in June. A month later, several school board seats changed hands, and the new board voted to reverse that decision and reinstate the mascot. A group of concerned parents petitioned Rosa’s office, seeking for her to intervene.
School Superintendent Douglass Silvernell did not return a NEWS10 call seeking comment on Wednesday. School Communications Officer Chris Crucetti referred back to the school’s online statement.
Cambridge isn’t the only North Country school looking with newfound scrutiny at its use of Native American symbols. Lake George Central School District opened discussion on whether to change its own “Indian warrior” logo late last month. Speaking to NEWS10 via email on Monday, school board president Tricia Biles cited the Cambridge situation as one of the driving forces behind the move.
The town of Cambridge sits on Mohican, Abenaki and Wabanaki land, according to Native American mapping resource native-land.ca.