By Molly Skyles Truman State University Index

Truman State should remove the Bulldog as its official mascot. Once, when I was 8 years old, a bulldog bit my finger and drooled on my new sneakers. It was a traumatizing life event and I really would appreciate it if the bulldog were to be replaced with something less distasteful. A butterfly might be nice.

Okay, of course I’m going a bit overboard, but how ridiculous does this sound? Just about as ridiculous as the tiny Missouri town of Osceola, I assume. Osceola, population 950, located in southwest Missouri, is asking the University of Kansas to drop its Jayhawk mascot because of a 150-year-old grudge.

In 1861, approximately 2,000 Jayhawkers attacked Osceola, killing hundreds and destroying the town, according to a Sept. 18 Kansas City Star article. The Jayhawkers were anti-slavery, guerrilla fighters in a border war with the pro-slavery state of Missouri during the Civil War era. The city of Osceola claims they never have been able to rebuild their population and apparently the Jayhawk to them is similar to saying “bomb” on an airplane.

Maybe this grudge is a little (note the use of “little”) more understandable than my bulldog anecdote. Yes, many people were killed, but still, this happened 150 years ago. During the last century and a half, this country has faced two world wars and currently is dealing with a battle regarding terrorism, but what are our concerns — fear that the blue and red bird with the yellow boots who dances around throwing free T-shirts to the crowds at KU games is going to bring up old Civil War wounds?

Today, a Jayhawk also is a nickname for someone born in Kansas. While I’m not from Kansas, even though Osceola is making me wish I wasn’t from Missouri, I would assume that knowing you come from an anti-slavery state would be something on which to pride yourself, and what better way than with the name Jayhawk?

In Osceola’s resolution to KU, they also are requesting Missourians stop spelling Kansas and KU with a capital letter, because it “neither is a proper name or a proper place,” Osceola Mayor Larry Hutsler said.

Osceola has some nerve. They were not quite innocent all those years ago. Osceola was pro-slavery and angry that the Jayhawkers had the guts to stand up to their inhuman ways. I’m sure many innocent people were killed, but it was the Civil War. Osceola was not the only casualty. The fact that they are this concerned about defending their “victim” stance on the attack makes me question their modern-day beliefs. Not to say they still are pro-slavery, but wouldn’t you at least be a little ashamed that your town believed in slavery and it took a horrific event like the Jayhawkers attack to make them change their ways? There is no point in bringing up old news, old embarrassing news at that.

KU is not the only university that has received negative attention regarding their mascot. The Florida State UniversitySeminoles, Central Michigan University Chippewas, Miami University Redhawks, University of North Dakota “Fighting Sioux” and University of Utah Utes all have been targets of Native American upset, and rightfully so. A man with face paint and feathers in his hair wearing animal hide is offensive to the traditional Native Americans who still exist on reservations throughout the country. A cartoon bird decked out in primary colors and big yellow boots, though, is just laughable.

Lighten up, people. I’m sure the Jayhawkers did a lot of damage in Osceola some 150 years ago, but times have changed. Slavery is wrong, wars still are happening that deserve your modern-day attention and Kansas cannot be to blame for your low population.

Molly Skyles is a senior communication major from St. Louis

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