JONESBORO (KAIT) - Arkansas State University officially retired the Indian Family as its mascot during halftime of last night's men's basketball game at the Convocation Center.
ASU held "A Ceremony of Celebration, Recognition and Farewell," honoring both current and former members of the Indian Family. Carrying single feathers, former members of the Indian Family lined center court to welcome the current Indian Family into the arena, as a crowd of nearly 6,700 ASU fans and supporters watched.
The family of former ASU faculty member Dr. Gladys McPike Hudgins was recognized for Hudgins' contribution to ASU as a long-time sponsor of and adviser to the Indian Family. Current Indian Family adviser and former Indian Brave John Phillips and Genie Harrell were also recognized for their effort in bringing back the Indian Family in the mid-1990s.
A video was shown, featuring images of the Indian Family throughout its 77-year history.
The current Indian Family entered the arena and saluted the crowd before each member presented an ASU representative with a commemorative item. The Indian Princess presented her belt to Athletic Director Dr. Dean Lee. The Indian Brave presented his war lance to ASU Student Government Association President Morgan Pippin, and Chief Big Track presented a headdress to ASU-Jonesboro Chancellor Dr. Robert Potts.
The Indian Family then waved a final goodbye to the crowd before leaving the floor for the final time.
ASU introduced "Indians" as the school's official mascot in 1931. "Indians" is taken from the heritage of the state of Arkansas from the Osage tribe, which made its home in northeast Arkansas before European settlers arrived.
The ceremony ended a year-long project centered around following directives by the NCAA, which declared that educational institutions with Native American nicknames and imagery would not be allowed to use the names and imagery at postseason competition.