Indians or not, we are a unified Pascack Valley community, and I believe that we need to start showing it.
As the Board of Education voted to remove the Indian mascot and logo from our school in June, as well as the Cowboy from Pascack Hills, I thought it was finally putting to rest one of the most controversial issues this school was facing at the time. Little did it know, it was actually fueling the fire of an endless debate over this contentious topic.
The reasons for removing the mascot were clear: the Indian logo and mascot can be viewed as offensive to Native American people and their descendants, and this has been an ongoing debate for the better part of the last decade. Add on the equality and social justice awakening related to the death of George Floyd, the board decided it was time.
On the other hand, there were many who felt that the Indian mascot needed to stay since it is a strong part of PV tradition, as it has been the mascot since the school’s inception in 1955. In addition, many people feel that the qualities the Indian represents – such as honor, courage, and camaraderie – are very commendable.
Regardless of how you feel about it, I know one thing for certain that we all need to agree upon: The change has been made, and there is no point in staying divided about it. It is time we come together as one school and move forward, united.
The myriad of backlash to this decision, which has come in almost every form from students, alumni, and community members alike, is simply unnecessary, unwarranted, and unneeded. The lawn signs, social media posts, and other forms of protest which have become abundant in the months since the Indian was removed don’t accomplish anything.
I am not here to say whether we should have kept the name or not. I am just here to say that the BOE has made its decision, and it is time we move on as one school, one community, one family, one Pascack Valley.
Our school has long prided itself on the sense of community that it fosters within its students and staff. This is now being put to the test. The moment has come in which we will see how unified and united we really are.
So what is it going to be: Will we split apart over the removal of the Indian, or will we come together and ultimately leave this as a bump in the road as we move forwards?
That is up to you.