PAW PAW, Mich. — A rally was pulled together in downtown Paw Paw on Saturday during the Wine and Harvest Festival with one group hoping to get their message heard.
“They need to remove this mascot and they need to honor the resolutions that the tribes in the area have spread, updated and sent them,” said activist Monica Padula.
It started with a prayer and traditional smudging as a group of activists gathered for one cause, to get the Paw Paw high school mascot and the use of the word, "Redskin" removed.
"I think the mascot out here really needs to change, when we look at racism it’s not just a black or white issue there’s people of color of all different backgrounds, and one that seems to be getting ignored a lot is Native Americans and the mascot here is a great example of that and it needs to change,” said activist Andrew Alm.
The people then began a march through downtown Paw Paw.
All in hopes to educate the community of an ongoing concern that one woman says was addressed to the Paw Paw school board back in February.
"Schools have a very big responsibility to make sure that they’re teaching their children or their students equality to be free from discrimination and that’s not possible to do when you have a native based mascot for a non tribal or non indigenous school,” Padula said.
And area tribes are making sure their voices are heard too.
"They have all submitted resolutions saying in Michigan a majority of tribes including Sault Ste Marie this is completely demeaning and derogatory and it has no place in our school and we feel very strongly about that,” Padula said.