JAMESTOWN, NY (WNY News Now) – Jamestown Public Schools have put out a poll to have the community decide what nickname will replace the taboo Jamestown “Red Raiders”.
All of this is on the heels of an order from New York State to change the nickname or risk losing all financial state aid.
Previously the school board changed the Red Raider imagery from the “J with a feather” to a big cat, calling on the school’s historic roots.
Jamestown Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Kevin Whitaker tells us that he has been in contact with the Seneca Nation of Indians about what the learning centers can do to correct the negative imagery.
“The beginning of it may have made sense, that we were “Red Raiders” and we were a cat, and it made sense,” explained Dr. Whitaker. “We were some sort of raider that happened to have the color red made sense to them. Then at a certain point, we believe it was late 60’s early 70’s we as a district brought out caricatures of Native Americans. That’s when they said that it changed from something that may have made sense, based on a color and about our history, to something that was offensive. And we already talked about the imagery and how that was incorrect, and how it was offensive, and now we’ve associated that imagery with that nickname.”
The community can vote on the new mascot nickname by visiting jpsny.org/mascot. The poll will be open throughout the month of June with July and August being used to decipher the results.
Ultimately, the district plans to have the new name before the new year.
Once the change happens the schools have two years to remove the branding, which includes replacing school uniforms, re-painting walls, replacing flooring, and the turf.