Two Ohio legislators have introduced a resolution that would encourage “Ohio’s schools to retire the use
of Native American mascots and to engage Native American groups as part of that process.”
The resolution by state Reps. Adam Miller of Columbus and Jessica E. Miranda of Forest Park, which is
outside of Cincinnati, both of whom are Democrats, specifically identified “Warriors” as a name that
“We’re sending a message that hurtful stereotypes have no place in Ohio,” Miranda said in a statement
announcing the resolution. “This resolution is just one of many measures needed to address the injustices
Native Americans have faced in this state.”
Miller argued that “School spirit is about the teachers, students, community, and even the building. We
need to all work together and make these mascots a thing of the past.”
Several proud Brookfield Warriors have criticized the proposed resolution.
“Don’t these politicians has other things to worry about?” said Brookfield Board of Education member
Ronda Bonekovic in a Facebook post. “And don’t throw out ‘its because they are democrats’ comments.
Republicans do the same thing. This is NOT something they should be worrying about. NUTS!!!”
Christina Wilson created a change.org petition denouncing the proposed resolution.
“Lawmakers are calling us out to change our name,” she said. “This is not what we want. By no means
does ‘Warrior Strong’ come as a derogatory remark, it is who we are and we are PROUD to be a
Amy Graybill posted on Facebook that Brookfield schools have already scaled back use of the Warrior
facial image, so it’s a logical step to abandon it.
“A ‘warrior’ can be someone of other races and ethnicities. So we don’t need to use it,” Graybill said. “A
white person does NOT get to say something isn’t offensive to someone non-white.”
An aide to Miranda said Aug. 26 that the proposed resolution will be assigned to a committee and at least
one hearing will be held before it goes to a floor vote. She said the legislature is on break and the
proposed resolution has not been assigned to a committee.
The resolution, House Concurrent Resolution 25, is pending before the House Primary and Secondary Education Committee.
Nelson Wyer was a boy attending Brookfield schools when he started to sense that the school nickname,
Warriors, and mascot of a Native American were not positive representations of Native Americans.
Wyer, who is Choctaw and Assiniboin from his father’s side, and has a white mother, was involved in the
former Red Hawk American Indian Cultural Society, Struthers, and would talk to elders about the use of
the nickname and mascot.
“They would counsel me, and I would come to the conclusion there’s really no point in talking,” Wyer
said. “You’re talking about trying to have one conversation to undo decades of traditions. Was I mad
about it? Yes. Would it make me angry? All the time. I knew well enough that it wasn’t my place,
especially as a child, to bring up something like that at school, because that wasn’t the place.”
Things have changed, Wyer said. Society has opened discussions about traditions and norms, and
Cleveland’s baseball team and Washington’s football team have announced that they will do away with
the names Indians and Redskins.
Wyer said he chose to speak out after learning about a proposed Ohio House resolution that would
encourage “Ohio’s schools to retire the use of Native American mascots and to engage Native American
groups as part of that process.” The resolution names Warriors as a word that should be retired.
Wyer, 31, was born in Guatemala, and lived on reservations in Montana and Oklahoma until his folks split up
and his mom moved to Brookfield when he was 4, he said. He learned of his genetic background through a 23andMe test, he said.
In Wyer’s eyes, the use of Warriors is an inappropriate theft of a Native American tradition.
“I think it is very, very disrespectful, and I find it offensive all these years that the people in this town use
Warriors as a mascot,” he said. “You are not Warriors. You are white people. You don’t get to say that
you’re Warriors. We, my people, my descendants, my ancestors, the people from other nations within the
Native American group, whether it be from Canada, United States, Central America, Mexico, or South
America, we are considered Warriors. You guys are considered white people, and I find it offensive that
you people still use Warriors as a way of using your mascots for your sports.”
Wyer said he also finds offensive the war whoops – which he said no Native American ever made – and
so-called Indian chants that are used at sporting events, and use of feathers, which are considered sacred
by Native Americans.
The House resolution helps “to make good for 800 years of rape, murder, treason of treaties, stealing and
taking of my people’s land and monies and resources,” Wyer said