This banner was displayed over the weekend at a McAdory High School football game.

High School Slammed for Its Mocking and Shocking ‘Trail of Tears’ Banner

Vincent Schilling

This past weekend students at a McAdory High School football game in McAlla, Alabama displayed a 20-foot sign emblazoned with: “Hey Indians, Get Ready to Leave in a Trail of Tears, Round 2.” A photograph of the sign has sparked outrage and has gone viral in Indian country social media streams. The school principal issued an apology this morning.

The photo was first published on Tumblr by a user under the name of fiftyfourfortyorfight, and was followed by several other Twitter and other social media accounts.

Though fiftyfourfortyorfight has since deleted the post, the statement on their tumblr wall said:

“Last night, this sign went up at a McAdory High School football game. I am absolutely disgusted that this sign was allowed to go up, and that it was not stopped by school administrators, and that after this, no one has mentioned it.

The school and the students have shown no remorse for the sign (as expected) and the students have claimed ignorance and/or that it was just a “joke”. Sorry, but the Indian Removal Act of 1830 and the death of thousands of Native Americans is not a joke.

As of 5 pm Sunday, no response from the school has been issued, and the local news to which I have reported this incident have not looked into it either. Further information will be added as it comes to me.”

Social media has been ablaze with comments as well. “McAdory High School: Take responsibility for your racist banner at your football game” by @BridgetJonina. “I find this to be downright insulting! I had family that died on the Trail Of Tears. Bastards!!!” said Brian Moses on Google+. “This is unfeeling and thoughtless and goes beyond name calling,” said +Shrinking Violet on Google+.

According to Channel Fox 6 WBRC in Alabama, Jefferson County Superintendent Dr. Stephen Nowlin said in a statement that “the cheerleading squad will be disciplined.” Nowlin also said McAdory High School Principal Tod Humphries has asked the school’s social studies teachers to teach a special unit on the Trail of Tears.

This morning, Humphries issued an apology on the school’s website:

To Whom It May Concern:

On 11/15/2013 at a football game at McAdory High School, a sign was displayed that made reference to the “Trail of Tears” in which Native Americans were subjected to horrific atrocities. This was not condoned by the school administration, the Jefferson County Board of Education or the community. The person who would normally be responsible for approving such signs is out on maternity leave, and I take full responsibility that arrangements were not made to have the signs pre-approved before the ballgame. Please accept our sincere apologies to the Native American people and to anyone who was offended by the reference to an event that is a stain on our nation’s past forever.

In response to the “bust thru” sign used by McAdory High School during the Round 2 State Play-Off game versus Pinson Valley High School, all social studies and history teachers will re-teach and/or review units concerning Native American displacement following the Indian Removal Act of 1830.

Several attempts were made to contact school officials, but were unsuccessful.

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dinagw's picture
Submitted by dinagw on
What about the team named the "Indians?" Another good reason for not allowing team names with anything having to do with Native people is that even a relatively harmless name like the Indians invites the dredging up of the atrocities of the past, all in the name of sport and fun.

Little Elk's picture
Little Elk
Submitted by Little Elk on
This is an outrage. High School students allowed to make fun of Native American tragedy. This is why using Native Americans as mascots needs to stop. The principal needs to be severely admonished, and the school staff needs to be educated about racism in America.

Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Submitted by Michael Madrid on
I first saw this photo on an app on my phone. WTF Pics published it and several people commented in favor of Native Americans. With all the furor about the Redskins name you'd think people would be more aware of sports-sponsored racism. I guess this proves that sports racists have to learn somewhere - highschool! At least the apology written seemed sincere. I'm glad the history teachers are being challenged to teach more of OUR history.

Devildogjoe's picture
Submitted by Devildogjoe on
First off I feel that the US Educational system has gone to dump. In my day US History taught us all about the major events that took place in the Nation. So do I accuse the students for their ignorance allowing them to saying I was just joking…NO! Because today everyone is using the excuse it was a joke for their ignorance. It also falls on the teachers for their failure for teaching the History on this Nation. There have been many mistakes that this government has made over the 237 years of existence. But to NOT continue to teach our children those mistakes and to find ways to correct them is an atrocity, and shame that our education system cannot be excused for at all. I work in the Higher Education system with veterans, and today as a veteran who served from 1988 to 1994 US Army/US Marine Corps, and a member of the Southern Chiricahua Apache Tribe; I am a shamed that the rights I have fought for to preserve in this Nation have so pliantly been thrown away. We can only fix the past and work towards a better future for all in this Nation if we teach what we have done, been, and how we need to get to a better and Free Nation. Aho

sharon  pilon's picture
sharon pilon
Submitted by sharon pilon on
The schools of today should teach the truth and not just according to the so called WHITE MANS POINT OF VIEW ! There are also others who have suffered , the African American , the Mexicans , the Asians ! Their true stories should be told ! Alot of people think only the whites count and they may be right in alot of ways , but teach them the truth about these people and they may be looked at in a new light and give them the honour and respect they deserve ! I'm ashamed that the schools hardly teach anything about other cultures , today our world is a mix of all kinds of people ! So our children and their children should learn how these people came to be torn from their natives lands and how they have fought to be part of thier new homes ? The White Man has much to explain to all these people and the Blood Stains can never be washed away !

Jim Cockburn's picture
Jim Cockburn
Submitted by Jim Cockburn on
What do you expect from a country that places silly little games above proper teaching. I'm a Scot married to a Muskogee woman and have discovered so much more than I was ever taught by that great American educator, Hollywood. I wish that I had learned the ''real'' history on America's native people.

butch russell's picture
butch russell
Submitted by butch russell on
they said their apologize and going to teach them about the trail of tears and other thing the principle going to take care of it so my ppl leave it at that they saw the mistake ...

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous on
WWIII seems inevitable. They offer foreigners freedom and continue to deny us (Indigenous & Nubians) of it. Our freedom will ALWAYS be in jeopardy under their rule.

The Truth's picture
The Truth
Submitted by The Truth on
Sharon, You do know that the Five Civilized Tribes practiced slavery right? They even used slave labor in Indian Territory. We all have this in are past that were unjust and should never be repeated. What is sad is these kids have know idea or could care less how words can effect some one else. We all need to work together to educate our children and most of all teach them how to show compassion for others.

Ms.EAGLE's picture
Submitted by Ms.EAGLE on
Ignorance...Native American's (Indian's) were here first and the trail of tear's was horrible cruel..Those kid's need to wake up because the same thing could happen to them really,this is so wrong on so many level's.And as for the Adult's that knew about this. They should lose there job's. What is wrong with them..And as for the Parent's what are you teaching your children.Keep breeding hate instead of Peace and you will find out it does nothing but Destroy..WAKE UP

Mickey Johnson's picture
Mickey Johnson
Submitted by Mickey Johnson on
Native American People, are what we are referred to these days, but that sign, was very hurtful, to alot of people, we as Native Americans have suffered more than enough from the White Man, We have fought for many years, for alot of different reasons, and today we are still fighting, we have been cheated, tortured, and pushed to the side, to be dealt with later. But still we as Native Americans stand proud to be who we are, we have come a long way, since the Trail of Tears, and boom there it is the sign, that brought back alot of pain and hurt to Native People. I come from the Colorado River Indian Reservation, in Parker, AZ. Most reservations consist of 1 tribe, but our reservation consist of 4 tribes the Mohave, Hopi, Navajo, and Chemeheuvi, and we all learned to accept one another it wasn't easy I'm sure, but eventually we all got along and today I am glad because my grandchildren get the chance to learn the cultures of all 4 tribes, and for me that is a blessing.

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous on
What the h... is wrong with you people. Do you not know this is still horror to us?

Joe's picture
Submitted by Joe on
What can you expect in a state where the average grade level is the second grade?[ Prejudice is required teaching in the first grade. I know because I was there in the USAF in 69 to 71 at Selma. I was the most hated person on that base because I counted Blacks among my friends.

Vallorie Scott's picture
Vallorie Scott
Submitted by Vallorie Scott on
Disgusting!!!! I hope the parents are as outraged as they should be..but I doubt it. Children tend to live what they learn, and while we are trying to heal ours from the wounds of occupation..the abuse continues!!

Peajaybee's picture
Submitted by Peajaybee on
I know that the school has issued an apology yet the students continue to say they are NOT sorry #judgeme and continue mock Native Americans on twitter. Ok let me make fun of your dead grandma see how that feels. Some jokes aren't funny and don't work, this one was obviously way over the line.

Teri 's picture
Submitted by Teri on
The American Holocaust how shameful the shame that should be felt for all of the atrocities committed by the American government. Kent state, Wounded Knee, Alabama 5, Rosa Parks, Rodney King,

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous on
I fell they should be required to learn in a manner that helps them to understand this horrific moment in our history, and the loss of many beautiful people and I would start with describing how the Cherokee aided the settlers to win the revolutionary war, and that the thanks we gave them was the trail of tears. The whites called them savages when all they did was try to protect their land. And yes I am of mixed heritage, but we are all one race and that is the race of human.

Roubideaux's picture
Submitted by Roubideaux on
They aint even take responsibility, talkin bout " This was not condoned by the school administration, the Jefferson County Board of Education or the community" and blaming the kids 4 doin that shit. Like u allowed the sign 2 stay up bro, if a kid brings some cocaine 2 school and u allow that dudes 2 have it, u gone get fired, so whoever let this sign stay up need 2 b fired

seraphine's picture
Submitted by seraphine on
if the Washington Red Skins are having problems with just the use of their team name, how could anyone (in 2013) in any way believe that sign and it's message could ever be acceptable.

seraphine's picture
Submitted by seraphine on
if the Washington Red Skins are having problems with just the use of their team name, how could anyone (in 2013) in any way believe that sign and it's message could ever be acceptable.

snakebite's picture
Submitted by snakebite on
I understand the enthusiasum of HS students! Maybe if Amercan history were taught the way it actually happened instead of teaching the white-washed version these kids would understand why what they did was so wrong! Teach American kids Americas true history!

Christine Combs
Christine Combs
Submitted by Christine Combs on
Let's not blame teachers. It's not the teachers' responsibility to teach empathy for others. It's the parents who should instill compassion in their children. It's obvious that the meaning of the Trail of Tears was taught. It's the empathy for others that does not exist and allowed these children to make a coarse joke of the plight of Native people.

SyntheticPhylum's picture
Submitted by SyntheticPhylum on
This is unacceptable. Some of my ancestors walked the Trail of Tears; and many of them DIED upon it. The Trail of Tears was just one of MANY atrocities perpetrated upon my people by the White Man, and for this high school team to make light of it in this manner just turns my stomach. I've got a great idea, though it's probably impossible. Make their team walk the Trail themselves!

Lana Lorenzen's picture
Lana Lorenzen
Submitted by Lana Lorenzen on
What would one expect from a hick town in Alabama--from people who still fly the Confederate flag?!

Lisa Robin Sanford's picture
Lisa Robin Sanford
Submitted by Lisa Robin Sanford on
What bothers me about this, even with the apology, is that I understand the faculty who "approves" signs was out on "maternity leave;" however, the sign was put up (I'm sure) prior to the game. Therefore, someone in a position of power had to see it as the game was starting. Yet, it remained up. In my eyes, this is just as bad because it was left up throughout the game. It should never have been made in the first place. It was though. The students' insensitivity to the pains of our People is very sad to my heart. The allowance by adults to let the sign remain throughout the game is sickening. They had the choice to demand its removal immediately upon sight, yet chose to leave it up. No wonder the children are misled...

Brenda Salazar
Brenda Salazar
Submitted by Brenda Salazar on
I only read the headline and became instantly pissed off!!!...I am not Indian but my children are ...I was proudly married to a Chippewa Warrior...I would think that the teachers we re-thinking and teaching the history of the "Trail of Tears" isn't what the school needs...I think they need to fire all the adults that seen before hand and allowed this banner to ever be displayed...they are just continuing to pass on prejudicness...if we don't keep people with these types of sentiments in their heads and hearts away from our children we will never be able to get rid of hatred of others...smdh...Angel Hugs & Blessings...