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Oneida Nation to Present Cooperstown with Check for Mascot Change

Oneida Nation Representative Ray Halbritter will present a check to the Cooperstown Central School District to offset the cost of changing mascots.
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To help offset the cost of changing mascots from the Redskins to the Hawkeyes, Oneida Nation Representative and CEO of Nation Enterprises Ray Halbritter will present a check to the Cooperstown Central School District on May 15 at 7 p.m. at the beginning of the Board of Education meeting.

The board voted unanimously on the new nickname on April 23. The move to get rid of the old name was prompted by students though.

“There were several students who came forward to the superintendent and myself,” Cooperstown Board of Education President Dr. David Borgstrom told Indian Country Today Media Network in February. “They told us how uncomfortable they felt about it and we made a commitment to educate the students about cultural diversity. When they brought it forward there wasn’t really any other response we could give them than, ‘You’re right.’” (Related story: “Positive Reactions to Cooperstown Central Changing School Mascot)

The Oneida Indian Nation, which owns Oneida Nation Enterprises, parent company of Indian Country Today Media Network, was so moved by the actions of the Cooperstown students, that a letter by Halbritter was sent to them commending their decision and offering to help offset the cost of making the mascot change.

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“You have announced a standard that recognizes that mascots which are known to dehumanize and disrespect any race of mankind have no place in our schools, or our great country,” he wrote in the letter. “We understand that your courageous decision also comes with a financial consequence and, unfortunately, potential backlash from those who somehow claim that ethnic stereotyping is a victimless crime.” (Related story: “Oneida Nation Offers to Pay for New Uniforms of High School That Changed 'Redskins' Name)

In February Borgrstrom estimated the cost of new uniforms could be anywhere from $5,000 to $7,000. The Hawkeye mascot will be officially adopted July 1.