OKEMOS, Mich. — Okemos Public Schools is considering a name change for its Chieftain mascot, and the school district invites the community to provide input at two public meetings.
The meetings will take place virtually on Wednesday, April 14, and Thursday, April 15 from 7 to 8:30 P.M.
Superintendent John Hood and members of the district's mascot committee will share and seek feedback regarding the committee's recommendation to change the "chiefs" mascot.
"We'll share that recommendation with our community and get some feedback from them," Hood said. "We want to ensure everyone's voices are valued in the process and really work towards making a recommendation to the board."
A panel consisting of Superintendent Hood, members of the mascot committee, and Aaron Payment, Tribal Chairperson of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians will provide information and answer community member questions.
"These conversations are hard conversations to have because they get at identity on both sides of the issue," Hood said. "Honoring everyone's voices is important."
Topics that will be discussed at the meetings include:
- Reviewing the history of the mascot issue in Okemos
- Sharing why the mascot is being revisited again
- Providing an overview of the mascot committee's work
- Sharing the committee's initial recommendation
- Providing supporting rationale
Community members in attendance will have the opportunity to ask questions for clarity and submit written feedback.
Hood said he hopes these meetings will be a respectful conversation for community input and public support.
"I have great hopes our community will approach this in a manner that promotes that togetherness while not silencing people's voices or opinions about the issue," Hood said. "I believe we can do that in a respectful way and that Okemos will model the best of our community as we navigate a decision."
Both of the meetings on Wednesday and Thursday evening will have the same agenda and information shared.
Information for the zoom meetings can be found on the district's website.
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