The UNC Pembroke Board of Trustees, including its six Native American members, gave their unanimous support to the university’s Braves nickname.
Following a news report that a national Native American organization was critical of UNCP’s use of an Indian nickname, Chancellor Allen C. Meadors sought advice from his board.
“Does this community want the Brave to remain part of the university,” Chancellor Meadors asked? “It is my feeling that the community feels very strongly about keeping the Brave, alumni too.”
Dr. Meadors was right, according to board members.
“By doing away with the Brave, we would be doing away with tradition,” Trustee Roger Oxendine said.
“I have never felt belittled by our nickname,” said Trustee Sybil Collins. “I feel very good about it.”
A member of the Sendat tribe in Michigan lists UNCP on its website of schools that use Native American mascots for their athletic teams. The Fayetteville Observer ran a front page news story on the issue on May 9.
Trustee Dr. Cheryl Locklear suggested taking the nickname issue one step further.
“I would like to see a bronze statue of the Brave in front of this building (Lumbee Hall administration building),” she said.
UNCP was founded in 1887 as a normal school to train Native American teachers. Its enrollment remains approximately 23 percent Native American. The Braves was used as both mascot and nickname from the 1940s until 1992 when a red-tailed hawk became the mascot and the Braves became the nickname.