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Changes To JHS Mascot, Logo Nothing New

The Red Raider Committee recommended a removal of the feathers from the Jamestown High School logo, pictured here. Their recommendation came on the heels of multiple meetings and a tour of the Seneca Nations museum. P-J photo by Nikk Holland

Change is nothing new for Jamestown High School’s mascot. In fact, throughout the last century, the mascot and nickname have changed numerous times.

In a recent reconvening of the Red Raider Committee to discuss the ongoing use of the school’s nickname, members researched the history of the school’s mascot and found that it has undergone a number of changes since the early-20th century.

The original nickname for JHS sports team was the “red and green,” and the school donned this name from 1905-1935, according to the committee’s research.

In 1936, the first use of the word “raiders” was found, as the school’s nickname was the “red and green raiders.” In 1937, the first reference to the name “red raiders” was found by the committee.

A mascot or logo from 1937 wasn’t discovered, but the first mascot for the school was found to be a red panther in 1948. The logo was found on various sports teams uniforms as well as a mural on the old gym wall.

Pictured is a page from the1952 Jamestown High School yearbook, showcasing the old panther logo that the school used. The school has changed its mascot throughout the years. Submitted photo

This mascot and logo were used sporadically for the next 23 years, until the first Native American logo was discovered on football helmets in 1971.

It wasn’t until the mid-1990s that the official Native American caricature was widely used on apparel and signs throughout the school. That caricature was used until 2014, when significant changes were made.

Ben Drake, Jamestown High School athletic director, is the chairman of the Red Raider Committee, which was created to discuss the removal of the Native American caricature from the JHS logo.

“The original committee was formed in 2014,” Drake said. “We had a number of coaches, student-athletes and community members on that committee. That was pretty much where we eliminated the use of the Red Raider Indian caricature.”

The removal of the Native American caricature from the school’s logo was followed by the adoption of the “J” with feathers on it, and soon after, the new logo was everywhere.

“Everybody went all-in on that,” Drake said of the new logo. “We really branded that pretty hard over the last seven years, and it’s all over. You see it on the turf, gym floor, our uniforms — everywhere.”

Last year, the issue of whether the feathers on the “J” were deemed Native American imagery arose, and Superintendent Kevin Whitaker asked the committee to reconvene to discuss the matter.

“It was a lot of the same committee members, and we added several more,” Drake said of the new committee. “We had a couple more students, board member, parents and we also tried to make sure we added some individuals on the committee who didn’t necessarily have ties to the athletic department.”

The committee took a tour of the Seneca Nation museum, and after many meetings, recommended the feathers on the “J” be removed from the school’s logo because it was deemed as offensive imagery.

“The committee has at this point recommended that we stop using the ‘J’ with the feathers and adopt a new logo,” Drake said in a June 8 board of education meeting.

The ultimate decision to outright change the school’s nickname and logo will be up to the school board. The Red Raider Committee will not meet again until the school board make

s their decision.

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