KESHENA, WI- The culture wars have spread to northern Wisconsin. The Menominee Indian High School is under pressure to retire its mascot out of respect for Wisconsin’s non-indigenous community. The “Menomonee Fighting Karens” have been a proud symbol of the Menomonee football team’s fighting spirit since the mascot was adopted in 2002. The team mascot is inspired by the area’s white community, which has been present in the area for over 200 years. The Mascot, known lovingly as Karen, is a middle-aged white woman recording video on her cell phone in one hand, and flipping off bystanders with her other hand.
The school has faced growing calls in the last two years to retire the mascot for a less controversial choice. The Menominee School District has so far shown no signs of caving to demands. Tempers flared at last month’s school board meeting, when local activist Sophia Tussled addresses the board. Tussled said, “You don’t know how it feels to have your race stereotyped for public amusement. Haven’t my people suffered enough? All we ask is that you show us a little respect and retire this insensitive and racist stereotype.”
The board released the following statement after last month’s school board meeting.
“We understand that some community members do not appreciate the fighting Karens mascot as we do. We carry the fighting Karen name and spirit with the utmost honor for our non-indigenous community. We respect our second-nations people and the role they have taken in every facet of our existence. We will continue to uphold the values of all Karens in our students and players; overconfidence, entitlement and unpredictable public outbursts.”