Again, why is a small percentage of people, with nothing better to do always wanting to erase history and things that show what were? Long Island, is a place with many Native American tribes, town names and legends. Many schools have Native American names that honor chiefs, and use mascots with symbols or other signs. Why does everything from this culture have to be erased, like the continuing trend with everything else? Are they next going to change school and town names? This is Long Island history, like it or not. History is a way to remember and learn from past mistakes, especially true with the poor treatment of Native Americans. Shame New York State and whoever is responsible for this lunacy.
Denise Buss, Medford
I am glad to see the Department of Education taking action against racist and stereotypical mascots. Our country has a long and brutal history of slaughter and subjugation of indigenous peoples. It is a symptom of systemic racism that Native American culture continues to be appropriated and exploited in 2022. If you are more upset about your school changing its team name and mascot than you are about the gross injustices carried out by our government against indigenous people, you might want to engage in some self-reflection.
Kathryn Twomey, Port Jefferson Station
What a disgrace. more woke nonsense over a made-up issue. I don't know anyone in Massapequa complaining about the Chiefs name or logo. Who are these unelected bureaucrats taking away team names that have been around for decades? Did someone try to put up a referendum on this? No. I just hope the Massapequa school board fights back against this nonsense. The politicians should spend more time implementing policies to improve our quality of life, including fixing our disastrous roads in Nassau and Suffolk counties.
Thomas Haas, Massapequa
About 3,800 Long Islanders don’t have a permanent place to live. Half are children. Most are living in shelters, but as many as 300 are now on the streets, according to estimates from the Long Island Coalition for the Homeless. One in four adults living on Long Island has faced food insecurity at one point during the year. Food insecurity is a complex problem that also impacts many children. Data collected by Feeding America shows that across Long Island, more than 160,000 people lack the ability to regularly feed themselves and their families. According to the state Department of Health, roughly 165 children on Long Island have cancer, and many will not live to see adulthood.
But let’s focus on what is most paramount in our communities. If these school mascot names aren’t changed, who knows what kind of unspeakable ramifications could take place. Bravo to the state Department of Education and the Shinnecock Indian Nation for focusing on these real problems on Long Island. It's long overdue.
John Gaulrapp, Massapequa
Will the woke madness never cease? The Democrats, who control this state, are not democrats at all but autocrats. A statewide ban on names that have bestowed respect and honor on Native Americans should not be the focus of the state Education Department. Reading, writing and arithmetic should be the focus. When James N. Baldwin, senior deputy commissioner of the department, describes the consequences "should a district fail to affirmatively commit to replacing its Native American team name, logo," etc. His focus should be on academics and not sports teams' names and logos. Is my high school alma mater, which calls our sports teams the (Black) Knights, going to offend descendants of the Round Table? Does my current school district need to change its team name from the Red Devils, lest we insult someone from hell? State bureaucrats should focus on what's important and stop this nonsense. State bureaucrats are stifling differences of opinion by bribing school districts via withholding state aid until and unless they comply and conform to a single way of thinking. Let's educate, not indoctrinate.
Charles J. Shields III, Freeport
I wonder when this will extend to the rest of our society. A quick check of county and town names in New York State shows approximately 20 counties and 60 towns with Native American nomenclature. Sorry, Massapequa, Commack, Setauket, etc. Where does it end? I wonder if very large people are offended by the New York Giants? Do our fellow citizens down South feel offended by the New York Yankees?
Joe Kennedy, Syosset
Where is New York going with this threat of withholding funds to school districts because of Native American names, logos, mascots, etc? In one breath, the state says underserved communities or communities of color need more funding, but now it threatens to take it away if they don’t follow this directive. Students already lost two years of solid education because of COVID-19. How far is this nonsense going to go? Enough already! Focus on food and education for our children. we’re already taking a back seat to many other nations.
Anthony Perri, Baldwin
This is another ridiculous waste of time and money. Our school tax will increase. For what? All these many years that the districts used Native American names, it was not considered an insult. As a matter of fact, why not look at it as a compliment?
Ilene Curtis, St. James
My husband and I and our three children graduated from East Islip High School, home of the Redmen. There was nothing but pride when people spoke about the home of the Redmen -- by the school, teachers, teams or residents. Our state is doing a great disservice to the communities that show pride, comradeship and strength in their teams' names. Where does it end? I wish Long Island was strong enough to secede from the state.
Mariann Eckert, Ridge
Perhaps the schools should pay the tribes for use of their images. Indians and Redmen are generic. Maybe our local schools should invite tribal members from the Shinnecock and Montauket tribes to see how they can be better represented.
The Bay Shore Marauders' logo is a Viking/Norseman. Have the Norwegians, Danes and Swedes raised a ruckus? If the mascots showed a peace pipe or canoeing image, would it ease tensions? Has the Ancient Order of Hibernians objected to Notre Dame referring to their team as the Fighting Irish?
Oh, my granddaughter cheers for the Bayport-Blue Point Phantoms. I’m sure her great-grandfather, whose name was Casper, wouldn’t complain about the depiction of ghosts. He enjoyed the connection with that friendly ghost. His roots are Norwegian. The team the Phantoms hope to defeat is known as the Vikings. I’m so conflicted as to who to root for.
Steve Birkeland, Bayport
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