To the Editor:
I’ve lived in Watertown nearly my whole life, having attended all grade schools here. Watertown’s Indian mascot was and still is a source of strength and pride for our students and community. Its profile isn’t threatening or offensive. It reflects our history in a meaningful and respectful way.
By definition, a mascot is a person or thing adopted by a group as a symbolic figure, especially to bring them good luck or that is used to symbolize a particular event or organization. The recognizable mascot symbol creates lifetime, loyal supporters for an organization, which in this case, is for Watertown and WHS, by also honoring the American Indian, our legacy, our spirit, our pride, our history and our heritage.
The push to change our Watertown Indian mascot has opened up the Cancel Culture mentality to pervade the dialogue with tunnel vision. Where’s their respect for our traditions and heritage? Improving education on Native American cultures and of our own town history is a welcome solution.
As the high school mascot committee (the “Committee”) leader, Janet Parlato did not have written, public participation testimony read into the record of the BOE’s special meetings nor did she give a total count of the “Yays” and “Nays” the committee received, but hear ye, thousands support no change.
At this point, it doesn’t surprise me that the committee recommended to the BOE last Tuesday to replace the nonthreatening Indian with, of all things, a Warrior mascot, which connotes aggressiveness, violence and fear. The Watertown Indian mascot is neither harmful, nor offensive, nor insulting, nor derogatory. What will the BOE do with this recommendation?
Please allow our beloved mascot to remain and represent our school; otherwise, give the townspeople a voice on this divisive community issue by putting the question on a referendum.