Published in the November 6, 2020 edition.

WAKEFIELD — On September 30, the Wakefield Youth Council, by a roll call vote of 7-1, voted to recommend to the Wakefield School Committee that the Warrior logo be changed. On October 27, three members of the Wakefield Youth Council presented their decision to the Wakefield School Committee. This vote took place after many meetings discussing the history of the logo. The meetings included informative presentations, survey results from youth, and engaging follow-up discussions with this new awareness of information and data.

The Youth Council’s liaison to the Human Rights Commission (HRC), Yana Herzog, first brought this issue to the attention of the council. The current logo image depicts an image of an indigenous person in a full head dress. Yana briefed the Youth Council on the history of the logo.

Leonard Bayrd, a member of a native American family in Wakefield, named the Wakefield Warriors and the Saugus Sachems in 1947. General John Galvin then designed the first Warrior logo for Wakefield a few years later. Yana also presented research on the negative impacts of Indigenous logos. This summer more than a dozen Indigenous leaders and organizations sent a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell asking that the league stop using Native American names, images, and logos. (Associated Press)

A member of the HRC, Benny Wheat, joined a Youth Council on August 26 meeting to educate the council on the Commission’s goals and areas of focus, including their discussions around the imagery associated with the Wakefield Warriors. During this meeting, Benny also provided background on other Massachusetts communities who recently changed their indigenous logos. Benny presented that most of these changes occurred through School Committee vote. These communities include Winchester, Grafton, Hanover, Barnstable, and Nashoba Regional High School.

During the public comments portion of our September 9 meeting, the council heard from Hailey Dodge, Wakefield High Class of 2009, who discussed her research of the logo. She summarized conversations she had with indigenous people about how the warrior logo portrays them in a negative way.

“The Wakefield Warrior logo ranks up there with some of the most inappropriate logos that we have seen. The head dress is a stereotypical war bonnet from a Western Plains tribe and the grimacing ugly ‘war-face’ is not representative of whom we are as Indigenous People in New England. In summary there is ‘No Honoring’ us as a People with this logo.”

— Cowasuck Band of the Pennacook-Abenaki to WMHS Alumnae Hailey Dodge.

It was important to the Council that we heard from indigenous people in this region on how the logo affects their communities, and the evidence that we have received clearly shows that the logo is extremely offensive to indigenous people.

As the voice of young people in the town, the Youth Council wanted to make sure that the youth in Wakefield were asked about their opinions on the logo and if/why they wanted the logo changed.

The subcommittee on Outreach and Communications and our social media lead, Alyssa Toppi, worked tirelessly to communicate what they were learning & to poll the youth of Wakefield on our official Instagram account, @wakefield.youth.council and through a Google Form. In total, students responding to the Instagram poll after the education campaign stated 58% to change the logo vs. 42% to keep the logo. One student in favor of keeping the logo stated, “I don’t think it offends any Native American tribe because we aren’t disrespecting it but honoring warriors.” After learning more throughout the Youth Council’s several meetings, YC member Alyssa Toppi stated,“I believe our logo is disrespectful to Native American tribes in Massachusetts and around our country. By taking a culture and using it as a logo, a lack of understanding of the true historical struggles of Native Americans is created and culturally insensitive behaviors such as white students wearing headdresses is elevated and considered OK.”

It is our time as young people to make a change in our town and show that we do not accept racism in our community. We will continue to educate students and residents on the topic and advocate that the logo is changed.

For more information about the Youth Council go to or email