Indian Chief statue removed from Goshen school gym - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Indian Chief statue removed from Goshen school gym

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The removal of a wooden "Indian Chief" statue from Goshen High School's gym, isn't a precursor to changing the mascot.  That's according to Superintendent Diane Woodworth of Goshen Public Schools.  She said the statue was only removed for graduation.  But that still has a lot of people talking.

Goshen High School alumnus, Lance Yoder, said the statue should, "absolutely not" have been removed.  While David Moser said, "I personally am glad to see the Indian has been removed."

In a press release Goshen Community Schools said, "the decision was made to temporarily remove a wooden statue of an Indian Chief that was in the gym in order to be respectful of the many differing viewpoints on this issue."

Katherine Holdread attended Goshen High School about seven years ago.  She said, "I personally had no problem with it.  I thought it was a mascot that's been there ooh probably since my parents have been there."  But she understands why there could be a problem.  "I see the other side of the argument where it could be offensive to people."

Yet, most people aren't on the fence about this one.  They either don't think it's a big deal or that it is.  "There's a need to be culturally sensitive to our native American neighbors," said Moser.

And the removal of the Indian Chief Statue is now bringing up the question, will the mascot be changed?  The superintendent said in a written statement on Friday,  "There has been no official action by the school board or by the administration at this point to change the mascot.  There might be consideration given to studying this topic in the future, but at this time of the school year, there are many issues to tackle."

That isn't stopping people from sharing their opinions on it.  Yoder said, "No colleges, no high schools, no professional teams should give up their mascot."  While Mary Hondrich said, "it's a mascot there's no harm in just changing it."  And Moser said, "I would prefer to see our mascot changed completely."

The removal comes as the debate over Native American mascots has heated up in some states.  A suit is currently in the Michigan court system against the 35 Michigan schools that use Native American mascot names.

And this isn't the first time it's come up in Goshen.  This isn't the first time the issue has come up.  According to Goshen Community Schools, years ago the Athletic Council asked that the Chief Head not be placed on uniforms and that it be removed from the gym floor.

If anyone has comments about this issue the Superintendent and Principal of the High School ask you to contact them.  Superintendent Diane Woodworth can be reached at 574-533-8631 or at dwoodworth@goshenschools.org.  Principal Barry Younghans can be reached at 574-533-8651 or at byounghans@goshenschools.org.

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