I graduated from Wilson Area High School in Easton, Pennsylvania years ago. More importantly, I am a proud alumnus of the Wilson Area High School Warrior Marching Band. I can remember clearly hearing our named announced over loud speakers at football games and band competitions. There is a special inflection between “Warrior” and “Marching” that emphasized that we were pretty amazing.
And we were/are.
Yet, I would like to ask my fellow alumni, if they think it is time for a change. For all my years at Wilson and many of the years after, “Warrior” was nothing more than a word, a mascot, a combination of syllables that created a brand with which I have been (and still am) proud to identify. But perhaps it is time for a re-branding, time to disconnect the easy association between high school and mascot and re-establish the connection between “warrior” and “history.” If this argument is beginning to sound familiar, you may be a Redskins fan.
I want my Alma Mater to be on the right side of history, to make a statement with its students, faculty, alumni and community that the Wilson Area School District recognize when it is time to evolve its brand and take steps forward.
It is time to open a dialogue about our long time mascot.
This is not some politically correct notions, or a knee-jerk response to outside pressure. I am not making any demands, but I would like to start a discussion about what the “Warrior” has meant to fellow alumni, and what the representation means in the larger, American landscape. Dr. Adrienne Keene has an interesting blog about the appropriation of Native American imagery that should be the first stop for anyone wondering why this type of dialogue is important. It is imperative that the reasoning does not come from myself, or other non-Native people, but from those whose cultural identity is being used as a mascot. Let’s not get distracted by ideas of “honoring” Native Americans as “warriors”, this only perpetuates the image that Native Americans exists only in some magical, past America and not part of our contemporary world.
This is an opportunity to talk, to talk about why this could be a good step forward without forgoing the wonderful legacy of Wilson High. Remember, that legacy is not embodied in the form of a mascot, but in the current and former students that passed through its doors.