Changing the Arlington High School Logo Was the Right Thing to Do

Arlington High Schools old mascot depicted a Native American man

Arlington High School’s old mascot depicted a Native American man

Maya V.

America is no stranger to racism, and in recent months this has become all the more apparent. Individuals and organizations have been working to create a more racially equal society, and so,  in an attempt to bring racial change to Arlington, a group of students at Arlington High School (AHS)  petitioned to change the school’s logo. Formerly, the logo had depicted a Native American person.

The AHS high school logo certainly isn’t the first thing to depict Native American people as mascots for non-Indigenous people. The Massachusetts state flag, for instance, shows a Native American person with a sword over their head. There’s also the statue by Cyrus Dallin in Arlington center. Many other companies have used Native Americans as logos throughout history, and still do today.

Using Indigenous people as mascots already seems racist and politically incorrect, but when you pair it with the history of the genocide of Indigenous people by European settlers and the injustice that went on long after that, it becomes even worse. 

As a non-Indigenous person, I as a writer cannot and should not speak for Native American people and how these depictions have affected them. However, in an interview, Danielle Kost and Kimberley Kost Okitsu, Arlington residents and members of the Algonquin tribe, said, “To continue to use Native American imagery as a source of identity and pride for non-Native people […] reinforces institutionalized racism. It teaches our children a fragmented, one-sided history, and that Native people are long gone in the past. We know that Arlington residents do not want that for their children.” If Indigenous people are saying that these depictions hurt them and their identity, then non-Indigenous people need to listen and change what we are doing. 

It was eventually decided that the AHS logo should be changed, and a survey has shown that there are Ottoson students who agree with this decision. “I don’t think the logo is a good representation of who Arlington is,” said Ceci Bagnall, a 7th grader at Ottoson. Another student, Ezinne Onyemah, said about the depictions of Native people, “I don’t see that as respect, I see it as taking someone else’s culture and using it however you want, which isn’t right.” When asked what the logo could be changed to, many students said that some kind of animal might work, or something related to Spy Pond. 

It is my opinion that changing the Arlington High School logo was the right thing to do, and should have been done long before. And while it is an improvement, it is only a first step in a long process. Considering everything else that’s happening right now, this might not have been an issue that’s on the top of everyone’s mind, but that doesn’t make it any less important. If America wants “liberty and justice for all,” we need to begin by listening to everyone and acting on what they say.


All views expressed in this article belong to the journalist and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Ottoson Insider.