Bloomington school to sell American Indian statue

Bloomington, Illinois (AP) October 2011

A central Illinois high school is putting the last link to its former American Indian mascot up for sale.

Bloomington High School plans to auction its life-size statue of an American Indian at a booster club event on Oct. 1, principal Tim Moore told The Pantagraph newspaper ( ).

Bloomington High’s sports teams are known as the Purple Raiders, but the local school board decided in 2001 not to use the American Indian as its mascot. The statue carries a shield and wears shoes and other items in purple and gold, the school’s colors.

The district considered finding the statue a new home such as the McLean County Museum of History, but instead chose to hand it over to the booster club. The club plans to share the money with this year’s senior class. Moore expects the class to use the money on a gift for the school, an annual tradition for the school’s seniors.

“The seniors get to pick (what that will be),” Moore said.

He added that he has no idea how much money could be raised.

The statue was a gift from the class of 1989. It has been displayed in the school library.

The school board voted to end the use of American Indian imagery in response to complaints around the country that using American Indians as mascots was racially insensitive, said District 87 Superintendent Barry Reilly, who was the school’s principal at the time.

“We weren’t pioneers, but did it early on,” Reilly said.

An American Indian-themed medallion that hung on an outside wall at the school was auctioned by the boosters in 2002.