NY: 'Senecas' name needs to be changed
WATKINS GLEN--In accordance with guidance from the New York State Education Department, Watkins Glen Central School will no longer use the word "Senecas" or any words or imagery related to Native Americans.
In its original proposal to the State's Indigenous Education Mascot Advisory Group, the district proposed using "Senecas" as a team name and galvanizing idea. Earlier this month, district officials received notification that the proposal was rejected due to its history and its connection with an Indigenous Nation. While this issue has been linked to athletics, the use of words or imagery related to Native Americans cannot be used in any way, from rallying cries at pep rallies to monikers for clubs.
"We will move forward with a rebranding effort and develop a new identity for the district that we can be equally proud of," said Superintendent Kai D'Alleva. "As disappointing as it is that we must move away from our history, we live in a different time now."
D'Alleva indicated he looks forward to the process and hopes to include all members of the community in the selection of a new brand that can be used for athletic teams as well as a tool to build a sense of culture.
"My plan is in draft form," D'Alleva said. "The idea is to get community-wide input and to let everyone weigh in. I've already gotten some interesting ideas. The final decision will be made by the students and the board of education."
D'Alleva also noted that he recognizes there is some disappointment in the community, but appreciates that he has not seen any anger.
"It seems we are ready to move forward and make history for our district just as they did way back then," D'Alleva said.
Odessa-Montour rebranded from the Indians to the Grizzlies for the beginning of the 2022 school year. The combined teams with Watkins Glen went by the Schuyler Storm and included football, baseball, wrestling and swimming.