JAMESTOWN – This week, the public got a first look at the newly proposed mascot for Jamestown High School and so far mixed reaction is rolling in.
Debate started in 2014 when the icon was changed from a “Red Raider” to a “J with feathers.” The subject rose to the forefront again last year when members of the Jamestown Justice Coalition spoke out against the “J with feathers,” calling for a complete overhaul of design.
After a lengthy search for a new mascot, the district turned to the past modernizing a previous logo of a big cat, similar to a panther.
Area teacher, and Justice Coalition member, Justin Hubbard sees this as a positive step for the school.
“It’s not really about me, and it’s not really about anyone in Jamestown. It’s about Native American people, and how they are affected by this,” says Hubbard. “I would actually say that it is about some people in Jamestown, it’s about our students, and what we’re teaching them. We shouldn’t be teaching them that racist caricatures are allowed.”
At this time, the district will keep the “Red Raider” name only associating it with the new imagery.
“Well it’s kind of a mix, there are folks who are very excited about it and they really think the imagery is fantastic,” explains Jamestown Public School Superintendent Dr. Kevin Whitaker. “Part of the challenge is that the connection between the historical cat image, and the name red raiders is confusing on its face.”
As Jamestown Public School Superintendent Dr. Kevin Whitaker explains, the committee tasked with finding a new mascot based the design on what was likely the school’s first official emblem, a big red and green cat, which first appeared in the 1930s.
“As they thought, is this the right image, does this make sense, is this connected and so what we are seeing is some folks are saying this is confusing to me, and other people are saying this is awesome, and I love it. We’ll wait and see how that feedback plays out over the next few months for the board to take in,” said Whitaker.
Following the unveiling this week, the school is now looking for community feedback before the Board of Education votes on accepting the design sometime next year.