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'It Pays Homage': Dartmouth Voters Approve Measure To Keep Indian Logo and Mascot

DARTMOUTH (CBS) - Clyde Andrews sat on his couch Wednesday night, showing off press clippings from his running back days at Dartmouth High School -- almost 50 years ago. That's when the Aquinnah Wampanoag tribe member helped craft a version of the Indian that still adorns the school's helmets today.

"It pays homage to the Native Americans who walked this land many, many years ago," Andrews says. "And we're still here."

On Tuesday, Dartmouth voters urged the school board to keep the Indian as the school mascot and logo by a three-to-one margin - following years of debate.

That, of course, bucks a nationwide trend of schools and pro sports teams scrapping many Native American monikers as disrespectful or downright insulting -- even the Cleveland Indians of Major League Baseball.

"In Cleveland," says Aquinnah Wampanoag tribe member Sean Carney, "you had a very caricature-like rendering of a Plains Indian that really didn't respect the culture."

Carney believes context is everything here, with no "one size fits all" solution.

But he sees the sporting Dartmouth Indian as a tribute.

"In Dartmouth, you have a very historically accurate depiction of an eastern woodlands Indian," Carney explains. "And the name 'Indian' is not offensive on its face."

"I can't have my town ignore this," says youth minister Gretchen Baker-Smith, "when the data is very clear that it harms some people."

Baker-Smith argues that such imagery is demeaning and chips away at the self-esteem of indigenous youngsters -- no matter what her fellow townspeople voted for.

"To me personally," says Baker-Smith, "we shouldn't be having a vote on a civil rights issue."

Truth is, not even all the Aquinnah Wampanoags agree on this issue -- and that puts the Dartmouth School Board in somewhat of a pickle when it tackles the fate of the controversial mascot and logo -- on April 25th.

But both sides would love to see school kids get a more serious dose of local Native American history -- including Clyde the former running back.

"It's just respect," he says.

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