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South creates new arrowhead logo to replace American Indian head

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  • Robert Schmidt
    http://www.tribstar.com/news/local_story_354233345.html?keyword=topstory Published: December 20, 2007 11:33 pm South creates new arrowhead logo to replace
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 24, 2007
      http://www.tribstar.com/news/local_story_354233345.html?keyword=topstory

      Published: December 20, 2007 11:33 pm

      South creates new arrowhead logo to replace American Indian head
      New arrowhead already appears on athletic apparel

      By Sue Loughlin
      The Tribune-Star

      TERRE HAUTE — Terre Haute South Vigo High School will still be known as the
      “home of the Braves.”

      But its logo is evolving and has been for a few years.

      Gone will be the face of the American Indian brave; instead, an arrowhead
      is taking its place.

      The THS arrowhead already appears on a lot of the South athletic apparel,
      signs and letterhead. The brave’s face still might show up on a curriculum
      guide, ticket stubs or athletic schedules.

      Troy Fears, who is in his second year as principal, said the decision to
      change the logo took place before his tenure as principal — but it is
      something he decided to push forward when he became principal.

      “I like the arrowhead logo a lot more. I think it’s a more distinct look
      for Terre Haute South and an easier, sharper look,” said Fears, who has a
      marketing background.

      “We’ve gotten a lot of positive reaction from parents and students.”

      He said he never received any complaint about using the brave’s face as the
      school symbol, nor has he received any negative comments related to the
      arrowhead.

      Fears believes that the arrowhead already has replaced the brave face in
      most instances where the logo is used. “The goal is to phase him [the
      brave] out,” Fears said, but no deadline has been established.

      Several years ago, Terre Haute South used a brave mascot that made
      appearances at South football and basketball games, but that was
      discontinued. A statue of an American Indian brave that once stood in the
      hall in front of the main office now stands in the Vigo County Historical
      Society museum.

      South currently has no mascot.

      The evolution to the arrowhead appears to have begun in 1998, when a group
      of concerned citizens met with Tanoos and school officials about changing
      the school symbol.

      Tanoos recalls that some of those concerned were connected with Indiana
      State University, and at least one of the interested parties had an
      American Indian heritage.

      A committee formed at South, and it was agreed that the school eventually
      would stop using the American Indian logo, but retain the name “Braves,”
      Tanoos said.

      In using the Terre Haute South Brave logo and mascot, there never was any
      intent to portray the American Indian in a negative light, Tanoos said,
      “but being sensitive to their concerns, we made those changes.”

      He recalls that some changes were implemented immediately.

      Schools around the nation have faced criticism for use of an American
      Indian mascot and symbol, including the University of Illinois — which
      earlier this year retired Chief Illiniwek as its symbol.

      In 1989, Indiana State University dropped its use of an Indian chief mascot
      — Chief Quabachi — in response to objections.

      One person somewhat saddened by the decision to discontinue use of the
      Terre Haute South Indian brave symbol is Bill Reilly, a 1978 South graduate
      and former school mascot.

      He served as the Indian brave mascot in 1976-77 and 1977-78 during football
      and basketball games.

      He said he can understand why American Indians wouldn’t like being
      represented as a mascot.

      Still, “I just think it’s kind of sad that the image has to be taken away,”
      said Reilly, now a photographer for Channel 13 in Indianapolis. Whenever he
      served as the South brave mascot, “I always tried to do it with as much
      respect for Native Americans as I could,” he said.

      He believes Terre Haute South teams and alumni also had a respect for
      American Indians, their culture and all that they represented. “I never
      thought I was making fun of the culture or the people,” Reilly said.

      Tim Hayes, who is active in the South Athletic Booster club, said he wasn’t
      aware that the Indian brave logo was being replaced by the arrowhead. “It
      never occurred to me this was happening,” he said.

      However, he likes the arrowhead. “The arrowhead is cool,” he said.

      The change doesn’t bother him, he said, although he’s not a person who
      believes in making changes out of political correctness.

      Deb Webster, South athletic director, says when new uniforms are bought,
      the arrowhead emblem is used rather than the brave face. Some teams, such
      as baseball, might use a variation on the arrowhead symbol.

      “We don’t discourage something a little different, but overall the athletic
      emblem is the arrowhead,” she said.

      Recently, she forgot to tell a new coach about the change, and the South
      brave appeared on the back of a warm-up jacket.

      “I know some coaches like the brave head. It’s a tradition,” she said.

      Webster can see both points of view. On one hand, use of the Indian brave
      could be viewed as a way to honor the culture. At the same time, “There
      might be some who are offended,” she said, and the school does not want to
      offend people through use of the logo.

      The change in the school symbol can be seen in the South yearbook, which in
      1978 featured an American Indian representation on the cover; in 2006-07,
      an arrowhead was on the yearbook cover.

      Some students interviewed at South said they like the arrowhead and they
      understand the reasons for the change.

      Senior Dakota Sponsler said he could see that use of a brave face “would be
      a little bit degrading to some people.” He said he likes the arrowhead
      logo.

      Junior Krista Smith said she likes both logos and doesn’t have a
      preference, but understands the reasons for the change.

      “We don’t want to degrade the Native Americans. We don’t want them to feel
      dishonored in using that logo,” Smith said.

      Senior Brock Lough believes the change from the brave face to the arrowhead
      “was a wise decision. Me being multiracial, I’d probably be offended if
      they had African-Americans on there, with some of the stereotype things on
      there.”

      He said he’s heard some students talking about it and not everyone agrees
      with the change. Some would prefer to keep the brave logo, but Lough
      believes the arrowhead is a better symbol for South.

      Junior Sierra Miller, who is an American Indian, said when she first saw
      the arrowhead, she thought, “That’s the perfect symbol for South.”

      Use of the brave face didn’t really offend her, but some of her relatives
      did not care for it and preferred the arrowhead.

      She said she could see how use of the American Indian brave logo might be
      viewed by some as discriminatory.

      Sue Loughlin can be reached at (812) 231-4235 or sue.loughlin@....
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