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ASU to conduct farewell ceremony
for Indians mascot at Feb. 28 game

Feb. 13, 2008 -- Arkansas State University's athletic nickname and mascot, “Indians” and the Indian Family, will be officially retired in a halftime ceremony of the men’s basketball game between ASU and Louisiana-Monroe Thursday, Feb. 28, at the ASU Convocation Center in Jonesboro.

Although the names and imagery regarding "Indians" will be officially retired, ASU’s team names for the school’s 16 NCAA Division I sports will remain "Indians" until the conclusion of the current school year. This event will be a celebration and farewell.

The ceremony will conclude a year-long project centered around following directives from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) which declared that educational institutions with Native American nicknames and imagery would not be allowed to use the names or imagery at postseason competition.

In conjunction with the formation of the Mascot Selection Steering Committee, ASU Chancellor Dr. Robert Potts appointed a Mascot Retirement Committee headed by Richard Carvell, assistant professor of radio-television and director of broadcasting at ASU, to begin planning for a retirement ceremony.

“The retirement committee represented all university constituencies and tried to design a ceremony that will be staged with class and dignity to reflect favorably upon the university and the action it is taking to comply with the NCAA policy,” said Carvell. “Former students who portrayed the Indian Family during their undergraduate years at ASU will be special guests of the university during the February 28th ceremony.  We think it will be a very moving event that many will remember for some time to come.” 

The name “Indians” officially became the school’s athletic nickname in 1931 following “Aggies” in 1911 (sometimes called “Farmers”), “Gorillas” in 1925, and then “Warriors” in 1930. “Indians” is taken from the heritage of the state of Arkansas from the Osage tribe which made its home in Northern Arkansas before white (or European) settlers arrived.

During the 18th century, the Osage were at war with nearly all other tribes of the plains as well as with the woodland tribes. For that reason, the name evolved from respect for the fighting spirit which dwelled among the Indians of Northern Arkansas.

The school’s official athletic mascot, the Indian Family, is a trio of students attired in authentic Native American wear. Chief Big Track, named after the legendary chief of the Osage tribe, is the head of the family. There is also an unnamed princess and brave.

Tipoff for the men’s game is 7:35 p.m. ASU’s women’s team will play the first game of the doubleheader with ULM at 5:35 p.m.

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