Southern York alumna launches fundraiser using retired Native American logo
A Southern York County School District alumna launched a fundraiser selling shirts and hoodies sporting the familiar Native American mascot a day after the school board voted to retire it over concerns in was culturally insensitive.
Allyson Koller created the online fundraiser selling the clothes on Custom Ink on Friday. The district's school board voted 7-2 on Thursday drop the mascot.
Koller, a critic of changing the mascot, said in a Facebook post that the fundraiser will run through May 7 — but the original beneficiary said it doesn't want to be associated with it and requested she remove its name. As of Wednesday afternoon, no beneficiary was listed on the webpage.
"This is the final chance to have Susky Apparel with the Warrior Head," the fundraiser's description reads.
Superintendent Sandra Lemmon said in an email Wednesday that the Southern York County School District is not affiliated with the fundraiser.
As of Wednesday morning, $160 had been raised through the fundraiser. The page previously said all proceeds would go to the Susquehanna National Heritage Area nonprofit for the National Congress of American Indians, but Koller removed the beneficiary Wednesday after the nonprofit posted that it did not want to be affiliated with the fundraiser.
Zachary Flaharty, office manager for the Susquehanna National Heritage Area, said his organization was not aware of this fundraiser until Tuesday and is not associated with the National Congress of American Indians. The organization contacted Custom Ink after learning of the fundraiser to request its name be removed from the page and posted a comment on the page requesting the same.
Flaharty said donations to the nonprofit are only accepted through its website.
Before the school board's vote to remove the mascot, Southern York County district officials heard from leadership with the National Congress of American Indians. Ian Record, the group's vice president of tribal governance and special projects, said he felt the mascot perpetuated racist stereotypes of Native Americans, depicting them as "war-like."
Debate over the mascot began last summer, after the district received repeated calls to change the logo in the wake of nationwide criticism of Native American mascots. Koller made several Facebook posts during this time in support of keeping the old mascot, arguing that the mascot was not offensive and did not badly reflect on the district.
"Our school represents our community," Koller said in a July 25 Facebook post.
Just a few hours before posting the fundraiser, Koller made a post criticizing the board's decision to retire the mascot. She argued a majority of Southern York County taxpayers were against retiring the logo and now will have to help pay for its removal.
"If you’re really that bored at home throughout the pandemic, come up with other, good ideas instead," Koller said in the Facebook post.
She declined to comment for this story.