Lumbee Tribal Leaders Speak Out Against School’s Mascot

GASTONIA, N.C. — Members of the Lumbee Tribal Council are calling for a Gaston County high school to remove a mascot and logo that they call an inaccurate and derogatory representation of Native American people.

News outlets report that the tribal leaders spoke at the Gaston County Board of Education meeting Monday night against South Point High School’s Red Raider mascot name and logo.

Yvonne Dial, a member of the Lumbee Tribal council, told the board that they “find it very offensive and demeaning.”

The Lumbee Tribe has about 50,000 members, including some who live in Gaston County. The Catawba and Cherokee Indian Nations are the most prominent tribes in Gaston County, and the northwestern side of Mecklenburg County.

There were speakers who favored keeping the mascot and logo, including Belmont Mayor Charlie Martin, who said the name has been there for a long time “and it’s not offended anybody around here that we know of.”

An online petition was launched last year to garner support for changing the name. It now has more than 7,000 signatures.

School board leaders did not reach a decision at Monday’s meeting. Mascots are typically determined at the school level, according to Gaston schools spokesman Todd Hagans.