Rachel Onusko Twitter
A group of cheerleaders and students at a Friday night Ohio high school football game between the Greenfield-McClain Tigers and Hillsboro Indians featured an approximately five-foot tall banner that read, “Hey Indians, Get Ready for A Trail of TEARS Part 2.”

Ohio High School Cheerleaders Taunt With ‘Trail of Tears’ Banner

Vincent Schilling

A group of cheerleaders and students at a Friday night Ohio high school football game between the Greenfield-McClain Tigers and Hillsboro Indians featured an approximately five-foot tall banner that read, “Hey Indians, Get Ready for A Trail of TEARS Part 2.”

The cheerleaders brought the banner to the Hillsboro Indians Stadium, and immediately drew fire online for the display. Rachel Onusko, who was in the stands, thought the banner was inappropriate and tweeted a photo along with her thoughts that the banner was “beyond ignorant and offensive.”

Many noted similarities to the Alabama high school that displayed a “Trail of Tears” banner in 2013.

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

Onusko told ICTMN, “I think it's important that this issue is being brought to light, especially during the events taking place in North Dakota and the racism still being represented through major league mascots. The very poor taste in the sign does not represent the views of my entire community, but it is imperative to realize when something is harmful. Ignorance should not be tolerated.”

Zach Perie, (@ZachPerie) a senior at McClain High School told ICTMN he feels the banner was tasteless and insensitive. “I believe that the any students involved and any adults should be reprimanded and educated about the atrocities of the event and that an apology should be issued by the squad. It's a terrible incident that I want to stress does not represent or reflect the values that many of the students of McClain and the citizens of Greenfield hold. The Trail of Tears is something that should never be made light of.”

“It's so important that events like this are spoken out against. I see so many people trying to defend the banner by saying it wasn't meant to be racist, but that doesn't matter. It was inappropriate and any person with an understanding of the horrors that took place during the Trail of Tears would also know that this sign is offensive. There is no excuse for this,” he said to ICTMN.

According to NBC news in Columbus, a response to the banner was posted briefly on the Greenfield-McClain High School Facebook page on Friday night:

“Tonight an event occurred that does not reflect the values or beliefs that we try to instill in the students of McClain High School. An immediate apology was issued to both the principal and athletic director of Hillsboro High School. We would also like to apologize to the citizens of Greenfield for the poor reflection on our community. This matter will be addressed internally.”

The comment has since been removed.

ICTMN has reached out to Greenfield-McClain High School and has not yet received a response.

Follow ICTMN’s Arts and Entertainment, Pow Wow’s and Sports Editor Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter - @VinceSchilling

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Kasey Cummins
Kasey Cummins
Submitted by Kasey Cummins on
My ancestors walked the Trail of Tears. I have contacted the school seeking an apology to all Native people that have seen and been affected by this outrageous display of ignorance and cultural insensitivity. Why would they apologize to the other school before apologizing to the Native community? This makes no sense to me.

Juliet's picture
Submitted by Juliet on
This is why all subjects must be properly taught in school. If people think the horrors of the past were equivalent to crappy ocean cruises or vacations, or to zoning battles about renting to college students (yes, I've seen that particular issue equated to genocide), they won't understand why other people are angry about incidents such as this.

WHITEHAWK1951's picture
Submitted by WHITEHAWK1951 on
I think these "students" need to be educated regarding this horrendous event in Native American History - it was not a joke, many people suffered and died and posting something like this is pure ignorance.

hammertime's picture
Submitted by hammertime on
That is a pretty stupid and in-sensitive thing to do... It is most likely due to the fact that the white schools do not teach anything about what their predecessors did to the Natives here 200 years ago.. It is a very ugly chapter of american history when we had a crazy dictator named Andrew Jackson in the white house at the time who forced this atrocity to happen... Of course they dont teach any of this in the schools and if those cheer leaders actually knew the truth, they probably would not have done this...

Antelope's picture
Submitted by Antelope on
How horrible! I cannot imagine how any person could be so cruel and uneducated by their liberal school teachers to use such a phrase. I'm sorry.

Larry Chapman
Submitted by Larry Chapman on
I am a retired American History teacher from McClain High School, the offending school in this article. I realize it is a hurtful thing these young people have done but I also know it was done out of ignorance and not malice. For many years I have written a blog called Chapman's General Store and in the past two days I have addressed this situation twice. The essays can be found at www.chapsgs.com and I invite you to pay a visit. A meeting of the school's administration is planned for this next week and I intend to be present to help ensure this event is treated as a teachable moment and insist that the curriculum include greater awareness of our nation's great diversity. I would also like to see the school's leaders issue a profound public apology to the Native-American population, as one is certainly deserved.

Larry Chapman
Submitted by Larry Chapman on
Here's another blog I wrote that applies to this topic. I include this to show that I, as a former McClain High School American History teacher am aware of what Jackson did and that his behavior and it's consequences were taught in both my history classes and my American Government classes. The same was true of my colleagues. It has been twenty years since I retired so I cannot speak for today. http://www.lechap.com/2016/09/observing-unconstitution-day/

Gudrun Alesia
Submitted by Gudrun Alesia on
This is worse than ignorance...this school and every single student should deeply apologize to the Native Americans. I am of indigenous origin but living in Europe, I pray for Indigenous people to join and to fight for there rights ...I pray and strongly believe that the great Spirit will help indigenous people, because they respect and protect and really love mother earth, water, plants, animals.......I strongly believe times will change and indigenous people will overcome all these bad things white men brought into the most wonderful and pure land which exists....Sorry for my bad english, but I want to show I am with you...