Yesterday evening, the Waunakee Community School District Board of Education unanimously approved a proposal, presented by District Administrator Randy Guttenburg, to establish a process to address issues regarding both indigenous imagery as well as the current curriculum on indigenous instruction.
The proposal would establish a committee consisting of the superintendent, the director of secondary curriculum and instruction, the Waunakee High School principal, the district communication and engagement specialist, a school board member, any interested Indigenous staff members, any interested Indigenous community members, and any interested students.
Outlined in the proposal were three key issues which the committee will address: “Native American Imagery as it relates to artwork within the school setting, particularly the mural in the old gym at the high school; Native American Imagery as it relates to the visual representation of the school district, individual schools, school programs, and co-curricular activities; and the educational component of Native American Culture as it is reflected in the schools and the curriculum.”
The Waunakee Warriors are often represented by a spear and feather, symbols that invoke Indigenous heritage. Last month, the school board rejected a proposal that would deem such imagery inherently discriminatory.
The new committee would meet with and seek feedback from the original artists of the mural in the old gym at the High School, representatives of the Ho-Chunk Nation, staff, students, and other sources determined by the Committee.
The committee will be advisory and will make recommendations regarding those issues.
According to the proposal, the creation of the committee and its first meeting will occur prior to the end of the 2020-2021 school year.
“I believe that a committee structure is important as we walk through this,” Guttenberg said. “I think that these are some key people that need to be part of that process. I think we should reach out to some of the folks that we’ve made connections with (in) the Ho-Chunk Nation to have some discussion with regards to their perspective and to learn from that, as far as what they view is appropriate as we move forward with our work here.”
Prior to this decision, the board heard a proposal regarding the district’s rebranding process; There was no mention of indigenous imagery during the discussion period.
A recording of the meeting can be found here, on the Waunakee Community School District Board of Education Youtube channel.