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Mohawks Out, Mustangs In...Marcola District Continues Transition To New Mascot

Brian Bull

The Marcola School District is removing all traces of its old “Mohawk Indians” mascot.  Nowhere is that more evident than inside the high school gymnasium.  KLCC’s Brian Bull reports.

A worker drives a large sander across the floor.  It’s bare and dusty where a large portrait of an Indian once stood.

“It was such a beautiful Indian, and I know the community…they were just so proud of their mascot, so I couldn’t bear to watch it being sanded down," says Superintendent Bill Watkins, with a pained laugh.  

Credit Mohawk High School Community Facebook page
A Facebook photo from January shows the girls' basketball team with the Mohawk Indians logo on the gym floor.

"It was tough.” 

The Marcola community narrowly voted to scrap its 90-year-old “Mohawks” mascot this spring.  State rules mandated that districts either drop Indian mascots or work with a tribe to keep them by July 1st…or lose state funding.  Watkins says they looked into that option, but the contract was going to be reanalyzed every year. 

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
A schematic of the new gym floor being built. Officials say the big "M" in the center is a placeholder. When the new "Mustangs" logo is finalized, it'll be installed there within a year's time.

"I think the committee saw the hardships in that as well, and agreed that it’s just time to change it altogether.” 

Watkins says the Marcola district’s new “Mustangs” mascot will feature Native American motifs, such as feathers and a painted horse.  The new floor is part of a $340,000 loan that’ll renovate much of the gym facilities. 

Copyright 2017, KLCC.

Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. In his 25+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (19 regional), the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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