SALAMANCA CITY CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT - IDENTITY COMMUNITY FORUM
Salamanca Schools Required to Review Identity and Logo
On November 17, 2022, the New York State Education Department published a memo (found here) requiring school districts with Native American team names, logos, and/or imagery to replace them. Below you will find a historical account of the actions the Salamanca School District has undertaken as we review our identity as The Warriors and the symbols use to represent our schools. Please note that video recordings of all the public forums are available below.
February 16, 2023 Superintendent Beehler received a student email in support of keeping the existing logo and Warrior identity. The statement can be found here.
February 8, 2023 the fourth public forum on the school identity and logo occurred at 6PM. The video is located below. Summary of feedback:
I feel as though it pays homage to the Seneca, I am proud to live on the Seneca reservation and want to be a part of Salamanca, I want to keep it, I have heard girls say there should be a lady logo, If you are here, you are a Warrior for life.
As a Native, it doesn't bother me (referring to the logo) some students have suggested adding a Seneca woman; there are a lot of concerns for our children, poverty, drugs, trauma, abuse, I don't see how this logo can harm anyone.
In Seneca, Warrior would translate to to stand up, and a Warrior can mean protector and defender, that can be of a lot of things including our water, land and air; We are still here, there is a peaceful way to educate and the Warrior name can be healthy.
February 8, 2023 the third public forum on the school identity and logo occurred at 1PM. The video is located below. Summary of feedback:
Community Members and Alumni:
kids like the vintage logo, the new S letter looks too much like others, there is a lot of potential for an updated Native logo.
I understand the need to cling to the past but cultural appropriation has never been right, the current logo is disrespectful to Seneca women and is not inclusive. I don't like the new S with the feather. The district has the opportunity to set the standard and hope the district will communicate the right thing and why
I am here to support the word Warrior, it is important to remember this is sovereign land and the feather can represent this; while Warrior is not an indigenous word we do have a similar word which is a defender or protector, this can be a Warrior that protects and defends peace and fairness to all life; the current memo pushes out the cultural identity in our school just like indigenous people have been pushed off their lands,
Warriors is not a degrading term, there are many veteran warriors in Salamanca and we are proud of them and the logo; I don't want to see a change, Warriors isn't about race it is about what you do, it is about standing up for things, without warriors we are assimilated; Warriors is a term of respect.
The logo causes some issues for my child, we are still from the Rez, we should incorporate more culture into sports like smoke dancers before events and playing Iroquois music at events; the issue with other schools is related to their education
What is a warrior? I see it as someone who fights for our environment, it is someone who pushes through challenges; the logo has meaning and can be used to educate.
Regarding the new logo, I think our kids can do better, education is necessary when the logo is worn
Warriors is also connected to academics and battles with personal struggles, ladies can be warriors
I don't think it should change, I always felt unified with it
Mr. Waterman (Seneca artist and creator of the existing Native American logo) presented an updated version with a more robust gustoweh, he believes the new S logo removes much of the history and culture, he believes the existing and update logo provides and opportunity for discussion and learning.
February 1, 2023 the second public forum on the school identity and logo occurred at 6PM. The video is located below. Summary of feedback:
A lot of families in Salamanca have been Warriors for generations and she supports staying the Warriors. She beliefs it is a symbol of pride and does not believe it is derogatory. She also believes it is a representation of families and friends that are Native American. She believes the decision should be made by locals with input from the Native American community not from others outside our location.
January 31, 2023 superintendent Mark Beehler continued meetings with high school student government to refine survey questions and review the forum process.
January 25, 2023 the first public forum on the school identity and logo occurred at 1PM. The video is located below. Summary of feedback:
the term Warrior has a history over 800 years old and is not only associated with athletics or Salamanca
the student reports many students do identify with Warriors and do identify with the current logo
athletes have experienced and been targeted by bigotry, the students believe this can be an education opportunity
Reports being at athletic events where inappropriate comments have been made, he believes this is more likely due to the makeup of our student body and location than the name or logo
January 12, 2023 Salamanca school superintendent Mark Beehler meets with students in the Salamanca High School student government. Students expressed an interest in participating in the process for reviewing the school identity and logo. Students will generate a survey and conduct student forums.
January 10, 2023 Salamanca school superintendent Mark Beehler announces upcoming public forums for discussion and community input into the school identity and logo. Dates for forums are: January 25 at 1PM, February 1 at 6PM, February 8 at 1PM, February 8 at 6PM, February 18 at 6PM
January 10, 2023 Salamanca School superintendent Mark Beehler meets with student representatives from the Allegany Indigenous Youth Coalition to solicit feedback and involvement in the review of the school identity and logo
December 15, 2022 Salamanca school superintendent Mark Beehler and representatives meet with Seneca Nation president Ricky Armstrong Sr. and representatives for an initial meeting. No decisions are made other than to continue communications.
December 12, 2022 the Salamanca Schools issue a statement in support of the Seneca Nation of Indians and begin to the process for reviewing the district identity and logos. (statement found here)
December 1, 2022, more details on the proposed requirement to remove Native American names, logos, and/or imagery was published by the New York State Education Department. (memo found here)
November 30, 2022, Seneca Nation President Rickey Armstrong, Sr. issued a statement indicating the NYSED memo is a positive step and that names and imagery that mock, degrade, and devalue Native heritage, culture and people have no place in our society. President Armstrong supports consultation between school communities and Native Nations. The Salamanca City CSD stands with the Seneca Nation and supports President Armstrong.