"Especially for a school that prides itself so much on its communal spirit, Dartmouth’s lack of a mascot is shameful. Harvard shares this distinction, and any similarities with that school should be setting off alarm bells. “Big Green” is really just as bad as “Crimson”.
The American Indian mascot that was used unofficially until the 1970s probably would not be the most appropriate design. This mascot hails from the same tradition as the Hovey Murals, which adorned the walls of Thayer Dining Hall until they were covered in the 1970’s, portraying drunk, naked Native Americans in a stereotypically primitive light. Another problem with the mascot is that it groups diverse Native American tribes and nations into a single racial group.
However, a new mascot honoring the local Abenaki tribe could avoid the pitfalls of the American Indian mascot while paying homage to Native Americans and to the unique founding mission of Dartmouth. College founder Eleazar Wheelock would be proud of the important role Native Americans have come to play in the Dartmouth community during recent years, and we should continue to build upon what we’ve started.
Although Dartmouth founder Eleazar Wheelock failed in his efforts to “educate” Native Americans, we can still be proud of the College’s founding. Wheelock successfully prepared the Mohegan Samson Occom for an illustrious career as a Presbyterian minister in an era when only the most progressive-minded would have tried. Although he and Occom had considerable success raising money, many of the Native American youths who came under Wheelock’s care died from disease or became profligate."
Get the Story:
Roger Lott: Mascot Without Malice
(The Dartmouth 10/11)