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Anderson High School sports keeps ‘Indians’ name, ends mascot and pregame dances

Anderson mascots
Photo: Anderson High School on Facebook
Anderson High School's Indian mascot and maid (left) pose during game festivities in September 2021.

Anderson Community Schools is ending its practice of Native American pregame dances with the school’s Indian mascot and maiden. An internal review of the practice was conducted after a video of the dances went viral online.

Anderson High School’s sports teams and mascot have been the “Indian” since 1925.

In February, video of Anderson High School students dressed up as the mascot and an “Indian maid” performing pre-game dances and passing a peace pipe among cheerleaders was posted on Tik Tok. As of June, it’s been viewed more than one million times.

The school district conducted an internal review, and says it’s heard feedback from hundreds of people, including members of Native American tribes.

On Tuesday, the district’s board voted unanimously to continue to use the “Indians” name and logo for its sports teams. But no students will be dressing as the mascot and maiden and pre-game dances will no longer be performed.

The district says it will also partner with the Delaware Tribe of Indians to better teach students about Native American history and how it relates to Anderson, a city named after a former chief of the Delaware, or Lenape, tribe.

The internal review says the district has learned the Delaware Tribe of Indians believes any non-native individual “dressing up in native regalia” and performing sacred routines is not honoring the tribe.