July 20, 2024


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Anderson board moves to end basketball pregame ritual

The decision comes after video of a ceremony before a game went viral and the Delaware Tribe called on the school to stop.

ANDERSON, Ind. — Anderson Community Schools has permanently discontinued a pregame routine that has been held at high school basketball games.

It comes after video of the ceremony went viral and the Delaware Tribe called on the school to stop.

(Note: The video attached is an earlier 13News story on the mascot controversy.)

According to our partners at the Herald Bulletin, the school board voted unanimously Tuesday to eliminate the ritual and to move toward a formal partnership with the tribe.

Under an agreement, the school would keep the Indians mascot name and logo.

“We will continue our commitment to show our students that when the time comes, we do make right decisions, not necessarily the easy ones,” ACS Superintendent Dr. Joe Cronk said during his presentation to the board.

Chief KillsCrow had been in talks with Cronk after a viral TikTok surfaced that appears to show students performing in Native American garb before a basketball game. The school district said the 70-plus year tradition is meant to honor Chief William Anderson, for whom the city of Anderson is named. But the Delaware Tribe said the school’s tradition falls short. 

KillsCrow argued the performance didn’t show the identity of their Lenape Tribe. For example, Chief Anderson wouldn’t wear the garb of the school mascot.

Amid the controversy, Anderson High School then suspended the use of its mascot pending an internal review. 

KillsCrow said previously he would work to educate others about his tribe.

RELATED: Superintendent will take Anderson mascot issue to school board 

“The Delaware Tribe is committed to the education of communities in support of our culture,” KillsCrow said. “We will continue to strive for an informed community that reflects everyone with respect.”

RELATED: Anderson High School suspends mascot use following viral video

KillsCrow had a list of ideas for how the school district can honor the Native American heritage. His suggestions included putting up a statue or a painting, having students learn the tribe’s history and putting Chief Anderson’s name on the backs of student athletes’ warmup jerseys as a way to pay tribute.

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