LYME, N.Y. (WWTI) — Students in the Lyme Central School District will be starting the school year off with a new mascot.

According to LCSD Superintendent Cammy Morrison, the District has changed its mascot from the “Indians” to the “Lakers.”

The movement to change Lyme’s mascot began early this year in January. This was after the District received requests from the National Congress of American Indians and developments in New York concerning native mascots.

Communication from the NCAI read:

On behalf of the National Congress of American Indians, I am writing in respone to a request for assistance that we received from a member of the Lyme Central School community regarding the district’s use ot its “Indians” mascot. This individual asked in NCAI would provide school and sistrict adminsitrators with some general information about the facts concerning the harms cause by the continued use of Native “themed” mascots in sports and popular culture…

National Congress o American Indians, October 2021

ABC50 also interviewed leaders from the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe to discuss the issue.

As explained by Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Chief Ron LaFrance, mascots such as “Warriors,” “Indians” and “Chiefs” have been used by schools nationwide for decades. But, these are often depicted in a “cartoonish” manner, which LaFrance said is more a sign of mockery than they are of respect.

“We are not cartoons. We are living, breathing people,” LaFrance shared. “Just the thought of being a mascot is very degrading because we do have a very living culture. Our culture has been alive for thousands of years.”

Following conversations in the Lyme Central School District, school leaders moved to change the “Indian” mascot and provided three options: the “Lakers,” “Eagles” and “Legends,” and ultimately chose the “Lakers.”

The mascot change took effect in early August 2022.

“As we have listened to the opinions of others, learned from different perspectives and grown in our thinking and understanding of what it means to embrace and celebrate diversity in a way that is socially acceptable in this day and age, It became increasingly apparent that making a change was that the right thing to do,” Superintendent Morrison said in a letter to the community.

The District is now planning to hold a raffle and auction of its “Indian” memorabilia in the near future.

Lyme is also hosting an art contest to identify what the “Lakers” mascot and logo will look like. All submissions must be received by 1 p.m. on Monday, August 29, 2022. More information can be found on the District’s website.