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Jamestown Public Schools To Change JHS Mascot, Logo

Ben Drake, Jamestown High School athletic director, discusses the JHS mascot during Tuesday's school board meeting. P-J photo by John Whittaker

The Jamestown Public Schools District will stop using any Native American imagery as part of district logos.

The decision was discussed during Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting by Ben Drake, Jamestown High School athletic director and chairman of a committee investigating the district’s mascot.

Drake told board members on Tuesday that the “Red Raider” caricature didn’t appear in the district until the 1970s. Its use ended in 2014 when the district began using a block “J” logo with feathers.

“Over the last six years that has died a slow death,” Drake said of the caricature. “You don’t really see it. Most of our current student athletes don’t even really know that we used to be Red Raiders as the Indian, they just know it as the “J” with the feathers. And the committee has at this point recommended that we stop using the “J” with the feathers and we adopt a new logo. And that’s where we’re at with it. We’re continuing to plan on meeting about that during the summer and into the next school year to continue to make further recommendations.”

The issue surrounding the district’s mascot is not a new one: an April 6, 2001 story that ran in The Post-Journal noted that Richard Mills, former state education commissioner, had urged school board presidents and school districts to change their school’s mascot and nickname if it uses Native American symbols. Little came of that effort, but the district began to phase out a Native American character portrayal beginning in 2012. By 2015, all district athletic teams began using a capital ‘J’ with a feather at the direction of former superintendent Tim Mains.

The latest push to change the school’s mascot began in June 2020 with a petition by area residents. District officials created a committee to examine the issue.

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