Change the Mascot?

A preliminary study conducted by the Indian Leader Association shows an even divide among the Haskell Indian Nations University (HINU) community regarding HINU’s use of Plains Native American imagery as a mascot. The opt-in survey distributed through social media and student emails asked students, past students and alumni, faculty, and other community members (self identifying as parents, other Natives, Lawrence residents, etc.) if HINU should change their “Fightin’ Indians” mascot.

Seventy-seven students self reported with just over half (50.6%) voting for the mascot to be changed. However, the small sample size provided a 9 percent margin of error at a 90 percent confidence level meaning the larger population’s view on the mascot could go either way. The sample sizes for past students and alumni (135), faculty (2), and other community members (22) were small enough not to be a valid representation of their larger populations, but does prompt discussion on the matter. 

Those that voted to change the mascot also contributed ideas for a new mascot. Some of these included “The Haskell: turtles, buffalo, bison, thunderbirds, wolves, eagles, huskies, hawks, bears, sovereigns, tribes, suns, intertribals, bucks, salmon, defenders and protects, medicine wheel, or squirrels”.

This survey was just part of the larger discussion of Native American mascots which is holding public interest among professional sports teams.

Disclaimer: This survey was conducted by The Indian Leader Association and not instigated or associated with Haskell Indian Nations Univeristy (HINU) and does not reflect that HINU will use this information in decisions about the university’s mascot.


  1. This mascot has meant so much to me for decades!! And as I age its value increases and my Haskell education becomes so much more precious to me. Everyday. Keep it.

    Can’t we let somethings remain the same?

  2. I think the Haskell fighting Indian mascot represents us as Native Americans. Although some may argue we are not Indians. I think the mascot provides terms of endearment of all the generations of what shaped Haskell from the boarding school to now what is HINU. We have fought and overcame the adversities of “killing the indian saving the man”. We have fought to save our culture, our way of life, and incorporated that into our educational standards. I say keep it, embrace it!

    1. Nicely written Marlana. I agree with you. You see the mascot and you know and remember positivity. For example, where you earned your degree, played intercollegiate sports, where you met family that is not blood related to you, but family nonetheless. Where you met your significant other, had babies, and brought tribes together. I have never felt it was symbol of mockery or being used in a derogatory way. Please let’s keep it.

  3. I’m not a Native American, but this makes no sense to me. Haskell is a school for Native Americans, isn’t it? I lived in Lawrence for almost 19 years and I know people who attended Haskell. This shouldn’t even be an issue. Keep it.

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