OXFORD, Ohio — An Ohio school district is dropping its Native American mascot after a close school board vote.
The Talawanda Board of Education recently voted 3-2 to change the name of the district’s mascot from the Talawanda Braves to Talawanda Brave, the Hamilton-Middletown Journal-News reported .
Officials have said the new name denotes bravery and courage.
The Oxford district will no longer purchase apparel, items or equipment bearing the image of a Native American head. The large “T” for Talawanda will remain as a logo.
The vote on Nov. 19 came after months of public outcry over the proposed change. Supporters of the change argued the Braves mascot was disrespectful to Native Americans. Many of those in favor of keeping the mascot had cited the district’s heritage of the Braves as the mascot.
Talawanda Schools spokeswoman Holli Morrish said the board allowed community members and individuals representing several Native American groups to share their thoughts and concerns prior to the vote by the board.
“All of the board members were united in their desire to do what is best for students in Talawanda, and impressed upon everyone that finding ways to come together is important,” Morrish said.
The district follows in the footsteps of Oxford-based Miami University, which changed its mascot from the Miami Redskins to the RedHawks in 1997.
In Cleveland, the Cleveland Indians baseball team is keeping their name, but their uniforms won’t have the Chief Wahoo logo next season for the first time in 70 years. The Indians will continue to sell “Wahoo” merchandise at their team shop.
The National Congress for American Indians has been campaigning for the removal of Native American athletic mascots since 1968.
Morrish says the changes to the Talawanda Schools logo and other items will be phased in starting next month.