Soon after a Native mascot image ban at two West Hartford Connecticut high schools in 2015, a Conard Chieftain high school parent alumni created a t-shirt with an image of a Native American man in a headdress with an emblem of a ‘f*ck you’ middle finger hidden in the medallion.
The high school parent and alumni who made the t-shirt was protesting the decision last year by the board of education to remove Native imagery from the Conard High School Chieftain mascot.
Though the board of education suggested the schools remove the mascots last year, students have maintained sports cheering sections known as ‘The Reservation’ at Hall High School and ‘The Tribe’ at Conard, which are not school-sanctioned.
The image was saved from a social media post and an anonymous parent at the school who asked not to be identified sent the image to ICTMN. The parent says they have been in support of removing the Conard High School’s native imagery and does not support the school’s cheering section known as the Tribe.
At the start of this school year, Conard students changed the name of ‘The Tribe’ to ‘The Red C,’ which is school-sanctioned.
The anonymous parent said to ICTMN in an email, “After the Board called for the removal of NA imagery, these t-shirts were designed and distributed by a parent who is also alum. Apparently he added a piece in the headdress that fans didn’t notice until the shirts were delivered. They were worn to games, mostly by parents, but never to school.”
According to the parent, school administrators frowned upon the incident and the middle finger has since been covered up on the shirts.
In March 2015, the board of education recommended to the schools that all Native American mascots and imagery be discontinued. While the team names remained the same, the 2015-16 school years started with new logos.
Though the school changed the native imagery, private groups were still selling t-shirts this week with Native American logos. After a social media backlash, the groups now say the t-shirts are no longer for sale.