Time to say goodbye to the Indian

To the editor:

Most people who know the history behind the Manhattan High School mascot understand its selection was unique. It was chosen to honor a specific Native American with deep ties to the community, and very rightly so. Very few other institutions across the country with similar nicknames have stories as genuine.

The name doesn’t deserve to be retired. But that being said — I think it should be anyway. And I say that as someone who has always defended it up to this point.

Ultimately, the biggest burden of this issue falls our school board members. Over the last 20 years, they have already been subjected to countless hours of debates on this. I believe their responsibilities are too important for that trend to continue in the months, years or even decades to come.

It’s fundamentally important that our board spends its time on issues which directly impact our community’s children, educators and staff members. We can all agree that in 2020, this mentality is more vital than ever before.

In short, the cost of delaying the inevitable is too high. This isn’t just about tradition — it’s simple economics.

MHS should keep its Native American artifacts on display in the school, as well as provide plaques explaining the context. There’s no reason this situation can’t be used as an opportunity for education.

I will be sad to see the nickname go. Its departure will be unfair in some ways. I was, and remain, a proud Manhattan Indian.

But it’s time.

Tyler Dreiling

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