Chinstraps and Mouthpieces
Manhattan latest school dealing with mascot issue
The Native-American mascot issue continues in northeast Kansas. Hiawatha High School, long known as the Redskins, changed its mascot to the Red Hawks at the beginning of the school year.
Some locals didn't understand what the problem was, but I wonder how many people would frown upon the Hiawatha Whiteskins.
Manhattan High was in a similar situation, but the school retained its nickname, the Indians, after a narrow 4-3 school board vote.
Michele Jones, communications coordinator for Manhattan schools, said the Oct. 3 school board meeting included two hours of discussion on the issue.
"It was a hot topic on both sides of the issue," Jones said.
Native Americans first approached the Manhattan school board last spring, and a board member requested that the issue be put on the agenda this fall.
Jones said Native Americans were on both sides of the issue at the meeting, along with citizens of other ethnic backgrounds.
The school will still be known as the Indians, but Jones said the school is moving toward better educating students about Native-American culture and heritage. Jones said no specifics have been finalized with the plan.
But what about Hiawatha? Clearly a name with a Native-American background, it would make some sense that the mascot was chosen to reflect that community's history as well although Indians or Warriors might have been more appropriate. The Manhattan Indians are a tribe, as are the Osage hence the Osage City Indians.
The Bern Indians and Council Grove Braves are schools with questionable validity for their mascots, but perhaps there are legitimate reasons for those choices.
Tonganoxie, meanwhile, should always be home to the Chieftains because it is a school name created out of respect for Chief Tonganoxie, a Delaware Indian who once lived in this area. It goes without saying that all Tonganoxie students should be aware of that. If not, Tonganoxie needs to follow Manhattan's lead in educating students on the issue.
It's hard to have pride in something when one doesn't understand its background.
"It's an issue that touches a lot of people," Jones said. People get emotional on one side or the other. It's just a real hard community decision."
Herschel and Jacque Stroud, Peabody, were in Tonganoxie on Oct. 16 for a Civil War reenactment at the Tonganoxie Historical Site.
But Herschel started the presentation discussing present-day University of Kansas football. Stroud spoke about former lineman Chris Maumalanga and former coach Glen Mason's approach at recruiting the large player.
Maumalanga was from the South Pacific Island of Tonga and his family was concerned he wouldn't know anyone in distant Kansas. Mason brought some of his players to Tonganoxie and posed in front of a city sign, conveniently standing in front of "noxie." Maumalanga played at Kansas from 1990 to 1993.
Stroud also discussed baseball during the Civil War. Pitchers were called hurlers, a name still prevalent today, batters were called strikers, and umpires were referred to as advocates. Fans, meanwhile were called grouchers.
That seems more appropriate today.
THS athletic trainer Jeremy Robbins underwent knee surgery Monday to remove bone chips in his right knee. Robbins has had knee surgery before, but this procedure is said to be minor. Still, it seems the blind would lead the blind when Robbins tends to injured athletes as a temporary gimp.
The former THS football "standout" has challenged me to any sort of competition, as I am also coming away from knee surgery much more elaborate and painful knee surgery, I should add.
Robbins is expected to be at full strength soon, although local reports indicate the trainer is just seeking extra sympathy and attention.
It seems the Purple Tide is turning. At 2-4, Kansas State is 0-4 in the Big 12 Conference, while Kansas is 1-3 in the conference and 2-4 overall. The last time Kansas entered the intrastate game with remotely the same record was 1995. Kansas lost 41-7, but maybe this year Wildcat fans will dig up the "wait 'til basketball" phrase usually reserved for Jayhawk fans.
The dual losing records take me back to those fond memories of the 1980s when both teams would have been excited about a 2-4 record. Ah, for another 17-17 tie such as the 1987 Sunflower State Showdown.