HOPE — Hauser High School’s dress-up theme for Friday’s homecoming activities has been changed to “The Wild West,” after the previous theme “Cowboys and Indians” was questioned as inappropriate.
Principal David Wintin, along with two students who had selected the theme, met with Debra Haza, Columbus, who is of Native American descent, to discuss concerns about the theme on Thursday morning.
After the meeting, two Hauser students who plan the dress up themes put the new “Wild West” theme on their Twitter feed to notify the study body.
Haza said she did not ask for the theme to be changed, but tried to relate the misappropriation of Native American culture reflected in the “Cowboys and Indians” theme and to educate the students and staff about how hurtful it is.
Wintin said it was a good conversation and the high school has invited Haza to come to Hauser in the future to speak to its ethnic studies class.
Using the conversation as an educational opportunity, Wintin said the students decided they wanted to change the theme and encourage a western-wear theme rather than anything that would be disrespectful to Native American culture.
“We were essentially ignorant that this would be offensive,” he said. “I think we have a better grasp now of where they are coming from and where we are coming from. We recognize the theme was off kilter in this day and age.”
For more on this story, see Friday’s Republic.