Several high schoolers who attended Liverpool High School’s Homecoming game on September 26, responded critically to an editorial in The Post Standard/Syracuse.com, claiming they were improperly depicted by the paper.
Last week, ICTMN reported that the paper’s editorial section scolded high schoolers who donned Native headdress, feathers and wrote “tribe” on T-shirts as an ode to their mascot (the Warriors). “High school students with an ounce of schooling in American history are well aware of the ‘cowboys and Indians’ stereotypes they are perpetuating,” The Post Standard’s editorial said.
Now, in a rebuttal of sorts, from what appears to be a mix of Liverpool students and concerned community members, they are defending their actions in letters to the editor.
In one letter, entitled, “Tribe symbolism brings us together at Liverpool,” the author, Alyssa Kinahan-Dundas writes: “Just in case you didn't know, us Liverpoolians are a tribe. Which is "a class or set of persons, especially one with strong common traits or interests" (as written in the dictionary). We support our football team and our high school. We are one big family and we show that by coming together and yes painting our faces in amazing cool designs and patterns. If we have feathers in our hair, so what! In no way are we being disrespectful. If I want to put a feather, a flower or whatever in my hair I will!”
Ryan Stott said that there was no intent to offend, and remarked that the students were “embracing” the Native American culture to unify the school. “We do not lack knowledge of the Native American culture or history, and we in no way, shape, or form are attempting to abuse or bring shame to it,” Stott said.
The paper said, “Adopting those denigrating and cartoonish images for the purposes of rooting for your team was insensitive and offensive.”
Not all of the reactions defended the fans, however. One Liverpool resident praised the paper.
“Thank you for the editorial calling out students at Liverpool HS for donning garb and painting their faces in the stereotypic and dangerous metaphors ascribed wrongly to Native American people. As a member of the Liverpool community it is an important lesson that somehow these students missed before.”
To read more rebuttals, click here.