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Lane Tech High School considering changing ‘Indians’ mascot

The North Center high school will “consider selecting a new mascot,” according to an email sent by its principal this week.

Lane Tech High School
Lane Tech High School may change its “Indians” mascot after calls of racism.
Sun-Times file

One of Chicago’s largest high schools may soon change its mascot, name and logo away from the “Indians.”

Lane Tech Principal Brian Tennison sent an email to current students and families late Tuesday stating the school will “consider selecting a new mascot.”

“During this important time of confronting racist structures within our society and in our school, we as a school community have been hearing from various stakeholders asking to change Lane’s mascot,” Tennison stated in the email obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times. “As a school community, we champion diversity, inclusion, and understanding, and it’s essential that we live up to these ideals in all possible ways.”

Lane Tech’s 13 boys sports teams, 13 girls teams and six co-ed teams all go by the “Indians” title, and one of the school’s two commonly used logos depicts a Native American man wearing a headdress. The name and logo date back most of the school’s 112-year history.

Tennison said in the email that the school is working with Chicago Public Schools and Local School Council on the procedure. The school plans to gain input on the change from students and parents in the coming weeks.

A Google survey intended to gather signatures and created by Lane Tech alumni stated that “while these may be considered school traditions by some, the fact is the misappropriation of an entire Race, Culture and People was not appropriate then and is not appropriate now.”

A counterpetition on Change.org, meanwhile, asks alumni to not “sit idly by and see a beloved symbol of 108 years be removed without making our voices heard.”

Movements to modify or replace Lane Tech’s mascot have proved unsuccessful in the past. The Google survey claims Lane Tech, in the North Center neighborhood, is the “last high school in CPS and Chicago to use American Indian imagery or symbols in sports, school items, or clothing.”