The Manhattan-Ogden School Board spent some time Wednesday getting some clarity as to why the district has moved away from using “Indians” in some of its branding on athletic uniforms.
The issue was brought up by Board President Curt Herrman, at the request of board member Brandy Santos. She says perception from some in the community has been that it appears the district is preparing for an eventual removal of the Indian symbol altogether.
Superintendent Marvin Wade acknowledged the decision to move away from the Indian symbol on uniforms was one made by he and Assistant Superintendent Eric Reid, focused on financial responsibility in the event the name ever changes.
Herrman brought up the fact that the turf will be replaced at the Bishop Stadium and that making decisions to not have Indians in the end zone makes sense long-term, due to the sheer expense it would cost taxpayers to remove all imagery if future school boards ever reversed course on the name and imagery.
Board members have no control over uniform decisions as that’s handled by administration. Board member Darell Edie says he respects the financial decision made by administrators, but adds he hopes donations aren’t turned down from alumni based on the decision to not use the Indian imagery.
Both Wade and Reid noted that they don’t discourage donations and have been advising donors of the district’s financial decisions regarding the Indian symbol.
The Indian symbol has long been a point of controversy for the school district. At the moment, a majority of the board favors keeping the Indians imagery. Herrman, Edie, Santos and Christine Weixelman have all voiced support for keeping the name. Board members Kristin Brighton, Karla Hagemeister and Jayme Morris-Hardeman all favor moving away from symbol.
Brighton just last year called for the district to have a “respectful retirement” of the Indian name and imagery.