Susquehannock Reinstates Warrior Head Logo

As the school board waits for votes on the current discussion, the logo currently displays the Warrior head which may stay or change in the future.  Photo via
As the school board waits for votes on the current discussion, the logo currently displays the Warrior head which may stay or change in the future. Photo via

Students, parents, and community members filed into the Southern Middle School cafeteria for a routine school board meeting on Jan. 18, 2024.

However, this night was different: the vote to reinstate the Warrior head logo would occur. 

Since 2021, the new logo was commissioned following a comprehensive review of the impact that the former Warrior head logo had on Native Americans, and the Warrior head logo was subsequently repealed in a 7-2 vote. On Jan. 18, the board voted to reinstate the Warrior head logo in a 7-2 vote.

However, not everyone in the community supported the move to reinstate the Warrior head logo.

In the Jan. 18 meeting, there were almost two hours of public comment, much lengthier than normal, and only a handful of speakers supported the reinstatement of the Warrior head logo. Every student who spoke supported keeping the logo that was implemented in 2021.

Caroline Dumm, a senior at SHS and the student representative for the school board, is skeptical of the initiative to bring back the old logo.

“I really don’t think it was necessary [to bring back the Warrior head],” Dumm said. “I know that a lot of people were unhappy with the decision in the first place… I think at some point you just kind of have to put it to rest and say ‘It is what it is.’”

The 2021 redesign was a thorough process with heavy involvement from both students and faculty. Graphic design teacher Wade Bowers was the facilitator for the redesign process in 2021 and 2022 and had an influential role. Bowers is proud of the results of the 2021-2022 design sessions.

The district academic logo illustrates a schoolhouse to represent the history that still stands on the high school campus today. Image Courtesy of Wade Bowers

“I’m so proud of the students and what they did,” Bowers said. “I’m so proud of how we work together as a team and just the professionalism of the students, how well they handled themselves… I’m just so excited for what they were able to accomplish through that whole process.”

School board member Joe Wilson, first elected in 2023, is more critical of the results of the 2021-2022 design session.

“We had an academic logo, music logo and sports team logos,” Wilson said. “None of which really convey a unified sense of who we are, given the ‘Susquehannock’ high school name or the Native American history of our region.”

The school board invited the Native American Guardians Association (NAGA) to speak about the reinstatement of the logo. In their hour-long presentation, NAGA voiced their support for the reinstatement of the logo and claimed that most of the Native American community stood behind them.

Some who spoke during public comment voiced their frustration that NAGA was given so much attention during the meeting.

Katy Isennock speaks at the Jan. 18, 2024 SYCSD school board meeting. Screenshot of “School Board Meeting- 1/18/24” by SYCSDWarriorTV via YouTube

Katy Isennock, a Native American alum, voiced her disagreements with some of the statements made by NAGA at the board meeting.

“The logo is identity theft of the Susquehannock, and you do not have their permission to use the symbols of their culture and religion,” Isennock said. “You can not consult with them because they are gone. Because of your ancestors who brought disease and colonization that brought death and misery. Why would they want you representing them?”

One of the main reasons for the logo’s removal in 2021 was due to connections made by critics to racism against Native Americans and the depiction of the Warrior head.

Senior Ryan Pratt, who spoke at the board meeting, argued that the move to bring back the old logo was motivated by racism.

Senior Ryan Pratt speaks at the Jan. 18, 2024 school board meeting. Screenshot of “School Board Meeting- 1/18/24” by SYCSDWarriorTV via YouTube

“By bringing back this logo, you are declaring that Southern York County School District is a racist district,” Pratt said. “A district that does not care about the concerns of all people residing here.”

However, Wilson said many in the community wanted to bring back the logo.

“The voters of our district made it an issue,” Wilson said. “So many front porch conversations. We never brought it up, yet every time we were out door knocking, or at an event, the people of our community wanted to talk about it, the majority did not want it changed, and wanted that decision reversed.”

One speaker at the event, Mary Nace, spoke a statement written to her by Dr. Frank Littlebear who could not attend the meeting, as quoted from the meeting’s video. 

“As an indigenous person who grew up in the culture, and earned a degree in the field of study, I do not find the logo offensive. Quite the opposite, in fact,” wrote Littlebear to Nace. “What’s offensive is watching them continuously remove things that serve as cultural reminders from society and claim it’s in the best interest because it’s offensive.”

In addition, some raised concerns that the funds and energy spent on the logo would be better spent elsewhere.

“I do wish that all of the energy spent on [the logo] was put to better use on other issues,” Dumm stated.

Parent Peggy Kopp speaks at the Jan. 18, 2024, school board meeting.
Screenshot of “School Board Meeting- 1/18/24” by SYCSDWarriorTV via YouTube

Peggy Kopp, a parent who spoke at the board meeting, believes that the move to reinstate the logo wastes taxpayer funds.

“A vote to reinstate the old logo is a vote to throw out every dollar spent on rebranding since 2021,” Kopp said. “There has been no study of the hard cost associated with reinstating the logo and replacing all of the items currently displaying the new logo prior to acting on the issue this evening,”

Dumm agreed that the funds would better be allocated elsewhere.

“At this point, the district has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars replacing the logo,” Dumm said.

In contrast, board member Wilson assured that only some things with the new logo would be replaced immediately.

“Digital properties, like the website, Google Workspace, the digital sign being installed in the near future, those are inconsequential to switch the graphic on. Printed items, uniforms, etc. would best be handled when restocking or replacing,” Wilson said. “I wouldn’t support replacing things just to do it, similar to the process that transpired previously.”

After the vote, the school board aims to shift its priorities to education-related issues, according to Wilson at the the board meeting.

“While everyone paid attention to the logo issue, when it was over, 95% of people left,” Wilson said. “They didn’t hear the concerning academic achievement data (PSSA / Keystone) the District shared, so now education can return to the forefront of conversations. We’re coming up on the Comprehensive plan vote, and that’s a part of the next few years in SYC education.”

The next school board meeting is Feb. 15, 2024, at 7 p.m.

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  • T

    TalaFeb 12, 2024 at 12:30 pm

    Very well written. Thank you for letting us know what all is happening with the logo

  • C

    Concerned DadFeb 12, 2024 at 11:51 am

    This article was a rare treat in modern journalism: it’s fair and balanced, presenting the facts of the issue with opinions of both sides being represented.

    A very well written article, covering an important subject without the personal opinion of the journalist heavily influencing the work. I’m very happy to see “old school journalism” making a comeback, we need more of this today. More than ever we need professional journalism like this.

  • K

    KiaraFeb 12, 2024 at 8:51 am

    What a thoughtful and insightful article. Thank you.

  • K

    KathleenFeb 11, 2024 at 5:23 pm

    This was a very well written, informative report, which clearly helped to bring to light the opinions of the school board, students and the community !

  • M

    MarkFeb 11, 2024 at 4:45 pm

    Very well written – unbiased reporting.

  • R

    Richard M.Feb 11, 2024 at 2:49 pm

    Very informative article. Nice job!