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Barnstable High School to Retire 'Red Raider' Mascot

Barnstable High School
The old Barnstable High School Red Raider logo.

The Barnstable High School Red Raiders are no longer.


Facing pressure from local Native American tribes, students, and administrators, the Barnstable School Committee voted 3 - 0 to retire the Indian mascot Wednesday evening. 


Two members abstained from the vote.


Committee member Joe Nystrom  was among the committee who pushed to remove the Red Raider, saying that it was time. He had spoken with a representative to the National Congress of American Indians -- a group that represents tribes across the country -- who told him the complications using a Native American as a school mascot. And he felt it wasn't just a handful of students that wanted a change.


Nystrom said he understood that the Red Raider was not intended to be offensive when it was first created, but times have changed.


"And people change and the way that things change is when certain people have voices that maybe they didn't have before," Nystrom said.


Not everyone on the committee felt an urgency to make a change.


Board member Stephanie Ellis considered keeping the Raider name and just changing the mascot to something other than a Native American. She also wanted to hear more feedback from students and alumni before making what she called a hasty decision.


"That the Indian head mascot is offensive to anyone is not okay. And I think we as a community need to dig deep into that conversation," Ellis said.


 Ellis and member Mike Judge abstained from the vote. Judge also hoped to hear from the community.


But Nystrom, and members Barbara Dunn and Kathy Dent agreed that it was time to change the mascot.

Sam Houghton left CAI in February, 2023, to become News Editor at the Martha's Vineyard Times.
He worked at CAI since the summer of 2017. Before that, he worked at the Falmouth Enterprise, where he covered local politics.