CANTON, Mich. (WXYZ) — High school students in Canton are asking their mascot named “Chiefs” to be changed because it is disrespectful to Native Americans.
The Canton Chiefs; it’s been the school's logo for years. But now, some students want the name changed and say it takes away the importance of being a chief in a tribe.
“They didn’t like their culture being used as a mascot,” said Salem High School senior Sophia Jeffers.
Canton students Anna Gill, Olivia Blaufuss and Salem student Sophia Jeffers are on a mission to change the school's logo.
“When Sophia came to us with her research it really opened my eyes to what the consequences of this mascot could be on other people,” Blaufuss said.
On Feb. 9, Jeffers, Blaufuss, Gill and several other students made a presentation to members at the Plymouth-Canton board of education meeting outlining the reason they want a name change.
The school sent 7 Action News a statement that reads in part, ”We are proud of our students for their efforts and for their willingness to bring awareness to this matter and we will continue to work in collaboration with our students and community collectively to ensure an environment that is inclusive of all."
Jeffers started a petition in July 2020 asking for the name change. It’s now garnered more than 28,000 signatures, but not everyone is on board with the name change.
“We’ve never meant to be disrespectful of it in any way," said Canton High School junior Jordan Vidojevski. "We just want to honor the Chiefs and we can’t allow that Native American culture to be erased. We need to celebrate it more and we need to learn more about it.”
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a name change. In the NFL, the Washington football team made a name change to start the season. In Major League Baseball, Cleveland said they will be dropping the "Indians" name.
The girls say it hasn’t been easy coming forward with this request. They say they’ve received some negative reaction but plan to keep moving forward.
“In the end, you just have to do what’s morally correct. So at some point, you’re going to have to get through it even if people don’t like it,” said Canton senior Anna Gill.
The process now for name and logo change will go through the board of education policy subcommittee in the new testament few weeks.