By Tamar Davis
The Meridian Times Staff Reporter
OKEMOS — A couple of years ago, Okemos High School changed their logo and focused on moving on from the Native American symbol that they have had as a mascot for many years. Okemos had changed the logo from a chieftain’s head to their letter “O” that represents Okemos.
Some may say the Native American logo might have impacted people in a positive way, and some may say it might have impacted people in a negative way. It all depends on who you are talking to.
Superintendent Catherine Ash said logos can be positive it just depends on how schools and the public are portraying that figure and that schools should be very cautious about using logos that can be offensive to people.
“We have to show honor and be respectful at all capacity,” said Ash. “We have to listen to individuals of that culture and actually ask them how do they feel about the whole mascot situation and if they are comfortable with how schools are portraying their heritage.”
“We have been in the process of changing our logo for the longest,” said Ash. “The problem became urgent not long ago because of clothing in the school store that still had the Native American logo. Students, parents, and residents weren’t so happy to see that, most were offended.”
Michigan State Professor of Sociology Carl Taylor believes mascots that represents a culture don’t always have to be a negative thing; it just depends on how you represent the culture of the mascot.
“It all depends on who you are talking to in my opinion,” said Taylor. “When I was a student in high school, our school was on the verge of changing the mascot to something that could arguably be offensive to some. But some were actually happy about the change because of the meaning behind the name.
“It showed that we are strong and not willing to back down from no one. For example, like the Warriors, I don’t know if people are offended with the name but the meaning behind the name stands for something great and strong.”
Okemos Resident Elisha Grant was happy with the change.
Said Grant: “I’m actually happy Okemos High School changed their logo because I don’t think that they understand the true history behind that logo.
“If you truly understand the meaning and respect what that culture has been through, then it should be fine. But not being respectful and making a mockery of a logo with so much history behind it, is terrible. I’m pretty sure everyone doesn’t agree with that, but that’s me personally. Learn, honor and embrace it.”