Trail Of Tears Banner Controversy Prompts School To Apologize

A Trail of Tears banner raised at an Alabama high school football game this past weekend has been met with a great deal of outrage. The racially insensitive banner read “Hey Indians, get ready to leave in a Trail of Tears, Round 2.” The banner, raised by McAdory High School cheerleaders, was meant to mock the school’s rivals, the Pinson Valley High Indians, according to NBC News.

The “Trail of Tears” banner refers to the forced removal of many thousands of Native Americans from the Southeast. Between 1838 and 1839, people were marched to present-day Oklahoma against their will. The forced migration saw more than 15,000 people uprooted from their homes to walk over 230 miles at gunpoint. Thousands did not survive the harrowing journey, earning the path its name, the Trail of Tears.

As controversy over the banner grew, McAdory’s principal, Tod Humphries, came forward to apologize, reports ABC News. He says he takes responsibility for the Trail of Tears banner. Humphries says he did not take steps to clear it for use at the football game. He claims that the woman typically responsible for screening sports event signs is on maternity leave.

In his post, found on the school’s website, the Alabama high school principal asks that those offended to “please accept our sincere apologies” for the banner and its “reference to an event that is a stain on our nation’s past forever.” Humphries says he is directing all grades be given a lesson on the events of the Trail of Tears and the significance of the Indian Removal Act of 1830.

While McAdory High School undoubtedly crossed into racially insensitive territory with their Trail of Tears banner, it is also worth pointing out the insensitivity of Pinson Valley High School, who rally themselves as the “Indians.” As the recent call for the Washington Redskins to have a name change shows and the Trail of Tears banner reinforces, racial insensitivity is still a major issue in the United States.

[Image originally posted on fiftyfourfortyorfight]