Point and Counter Point: Warriors should stick with their spear

This article is part of our Point and Counter Point feature. It was published along with the article “The spear should be re-evaluated.”

spearWaunakee has a rich cultural history. A village nested between the crests of two hills. A valley. This is why, years ago, the Native Americans who frequented this location called it Waunakee, meaning “peaceful valley.” Our village, and by extension, our school carries a Native American name, so when the school needed a mascot, they turned to the mighty Native American warrior, and the spear, as a symbol of what this school hopes to reflect. This mascot is not stereotypical current Native Americans, as it is clearly a historical figure from hundreds of years ago.
Today it is clear that parts of this mascot are out of date. When my uncle painted the picture of the warrior in the old gym, he painted the image of a Native American warrior he saw all around him back then. He painted it in conjunction with the Ho-Chunk nation who endorsed both the mascot and the painting. Now as times change, this painting is seen as stereotypical and a bit insensitive. That said, the mascot of the warrior and the spear logo should not be changed.
There is nothing wrong with representing Waunakee High School as a warrior, defined as a brave or experienced fighter. The moral gray area comes with the traditional Native American warrior mascot and the racism that may come with; however, today the Waunakee logo is the spear, not a Native American warrior. The spear logo that commonly accompanies the Waunakee name is a good middle ground that respects tradition while appealing to a more modern society. The spear with feathers represents the history of Waunakee without presenting racist imagery.
As society changes and evolves it as important to be mindful and considerate of all races and cultures. When it comes to selecting an image to represent our school, it is especially important to find a positive and respectful mascot. The warrior spear is a more modern image that recognizes the history of Waunakee. When students athletes represent Waunakee outside of the high school, they are not seen as a stereotypical Native Americans; they are seen as brave fighters. They are seen as warriors.