BASKETBALL: Black uniforms not acceptable for a community elder

by Jan 30, 2024SPORTS di-ne-lv-di-yi0 comments


One Feather Reporter


CHEROKEE, N.C.— On the evening of Jan. 17, in the Central Office Board Room, the School Board of Cherokee Central Schools (CCS) unanimously agreed to honor the request of the Lady Braves basketball team to purchase black, maroon and gold uniforms.

Vivian Ross wears a black uniform as the Cherokee Lady Braves played in a playoff game at East Surry on March 2, 2019. (SCOTT MCKIE B.P./One Feather photo)

The Braves basketball team played in black jerseys with maroon and gold at their Jan. 26 away game against the Robbinsville Black Knights. Chase Sneed, CCS athletic director, approached the board on behalf of the Lady Braves at the Jan. 17 meeting, as the Lady Braves had an away game at Highlands. All CCS sports teams were also granted permission to order black uniforms. Sneed said the student athletes really like the black uniforms.

Black uniforms were a point of contention a few years ago at the school board meeting on March 4, 2019. They are back on the radar again in 2024.

Alyne Stamper, an elder of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI), is organizing a petition for signatures against the color change. Stamper retired from Cherokee High School in 2016 after teaching Cherokee arts and crafts for 44 years. Stamper says she is starting the petition to advocate for maroon and gold. “Black is not our color. Maroon and gold are our colors, with white for home games. We want to carry this petition to the school board so they can realize how heartfelt we feel about our colors. The ones that have graduated from Cherokee know how it feels to be a Cherokee Brave,” Stamper said.

“I’m not speaking up against the girls or the boys. I love them. I support them. My family supports them. It’s just that we are fighting for our maroon and gold. Please come out and make your feelings known by signing this petition.”

Stamper says she is going to set up in front of the Food Lion in Cherokee with the petition every evening starting Jan. 30 until the next biweekly school board meeting following the Feb. 5 meeting.