MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - The Marquette Area Public Schools district has not used the old ‘Native Chief’ logo much, if at all in the past two decades, opting instead to go with the red block M logo. With discussion of the Redmen and Redette nickname still ongoing, the board wished to see a decision made first on their logo.
By a vote of 6 to 1, the Board of Education voted in favor of retiring the ‘Native Chief’ logo and officially adopting the block M logo during their meeting Monday night. The lone no vote was from board member Keith Glendon.
"So it has been part of the planning for the district to separate from that, to separate that meaning so involved and so we have gone back to the original intent of the block M and what Redmen actually stood for," said Superintendent Bill Saunders.
The board also approved a motion with three parts. First, to expand upon their education of local indigenous culture. Second, to find a way to respectfully retire the old ‘Native Chief’ logo. Finally, to find a new identity for the district moving forward.
That could mean a possible new nickname and logo, many students in the district have already taken it upon themselves to draft mockups of a new name, the Marquette Mariners.
However at this time, the nickname for the district will remain Redmen and Redettes, no decision on that issue coming Monday night. Though the issue remained a key talking point from those in attendance.
“If it is so important to change all Native American names and logos, wouldn't it be better to use the time and resources on the state and federal level,” said Carol Larson, who wants the district to keep the Redmen/Redettes nickname. “This decision should not be made at the local level, it is way too divisive."
"Please have the courage to stand up for justice for our students,” said Andrew Lorinser, who supports a nickname change. “Be leaders, help us practice equity and inclusion. You have insurmountable evidence, use it to move us on from this 30 year visceral debate and lead us fearlessly into a future of unity and progress."
No timeline has been set moving forward on when or if there will be a ceremony to officially retire the old logo. The board does hope to being work in the next couple of months on the new local indigenous culture curriculum. The board plans on getting help from the community as well as Northern Michigan University.