A “Cowboys and Indians” theme for a homecoming dress-up day and game at Hauser High School has generated some dissent on social media about its political correctness.
Hauser students this week have celebrated Crazy Sock Day and College Day as part of the lead-up to Friday’s Jets’ homecoming game against the Mohawks from Waldron High School in Shelby County.
Theme days and dress-up themes for students sections are a common occurrence at varsity basketball games in gyms around the state, with the home team usually selecting its theme playing off the visiting team’s mascot.
However, Genay Whipker of Columbus posted a note on the Republic’s Facebook page about Hauser’s “Cowboys and Indians” theme: “I find that very inappropriate.”
“Native Americans were slaughtered — we took their land,” she said. “And now we’re encouraging our kids to put on face paint and make Indian sounds — it just rubbed me wrong,” Whipker said.
Hauser Principal David Wintin said there is a misunderstanding about the theme, as it was selected as a nod to a magazine, “Cowboys and Indians.”
Several Hauser students are deeply involved in rodeo and barrel racing and subscribe to the magazine, which focuses on Western culture, Native American art and culture, and the legends of the West, he said.
Wintin said no one had contacted school administrators directly protesting the theme.
Gary Brown, principal at Waldron High School, said the school won’t be offended by what the students have planned for their homecoming theme on Friday. “I don’t think they’re trying to be mean-spirited about it,” Brown said of Hauser’s plans. “It’s kind of a good fit for the game. We’re not taking offense.”
For more on this story, see Thursday’s Republic.