Saranac Community Schools Receives Mascot Rebranding Grant

SARANAC – Saranac Community Schools has received a grant of nearly $140,000 to help with costs associated with its new district mascot.

The Native American Heritage Fund has awarded grants to six Michigan communities, according to a news release. SCS is one of the NAHF grant recipients for 2022 – receiving $139,318.90 for the district mascot rebranding.

SCS announced Red Hawks as its new mascot earlier this month. Red Hawks replaces the name Redskins, which Merriam-Webster says is “used as an insulting and derogatory term for an American Indian”.

“We are blessed to have the support of the NAHF,” SCS Superintendent Jason Smith told The Sentinel-Standard. “This will support the transition to Red Hawks. Funds will begin to support new imagery which we hope to have finalized within the next week to 10 days. After that, we will prioritize the next steps in the transition.”

Established in 2016, NAHF “serves to promote positive relationships among public and private K-12 schools, colleges, universities, local government units, and federally recognized Michigan Native American tribes,” according to the press release.

The NAHF board voted on the grant recipients at its June 17 meeting, according to the statement. The board chose from a pool of 11 applicants and awarded nearly $480,000.

After:Saranac Community Schools Announces Red Hawks as New Mascot

Priority was given to “reducing the number of inappropriate mascots in Michigan public schools,” the statement said.

“If we fund the decommissioning of racist mascot images now, we will have more money in the future for proactive programs and curricula,” said NAHF President Jamie Stuck, who is also president. of the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi Tribal Council.

The NAHF urges schools to consult with local tribes when reconsidering a new mascot, “and specifically funds schools that have identified the new branding and are internally prepared and approved to make the change,” the statement said.

Chippewa Hills School District, Hartford Public Schools, Lansing School District, Michigan College Access Network, and Western Michigan University’s Native American Affairs Council also received a grant from NAHF.

Prizes will be distributed and shared with the public at the NAHF Awards Ceremony at noon Aug. 19 at the FireKeepers Casino Hotel in Battle Creek, according to the release.

Further information is available online at: nahfund.com.

— Contact journalist Evan Sasiela at [email protected]d.com. Follow him on Twitter @SalsaEvan.

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