Americas

College Drops Mascot Named for Missionaries Martyred by Native Americans

The 'Fighting Missionaries' will no longer memorialize Marcus and Narcissa Whitman.
College Drops Mascot Named for Missionaries Martyred by Native Americans

Whitman College hasn’t been affiliated with a religious denomination since 1907. But the Washington State school still used the “Fighting Missionary” as its mascot in honor of two murdered Oregon Trail missionaries—until last week.

The change stems from a desire to have a mascot that was “appropriately inclusive and welcoming to today’s Whitman community,” wrote president Kathleen Murray in a memo to the campus community. “I do not think a mascot … should precipitate the difficult conversations around challenging ideas. A mascot is meant to be something around which supporters of a college, and particularly athletic teams, rally.”

The college will not change its name, Murray confirmed.

Marcus and Narcissa Whitman were among the first settlers to travel west across the United States on what later became known as the Oregon Trail. Their story “reveals much of what was noble and flawed regarding missions to Native Americans,” ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview
To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.
Already a CT subscriber? for full digital access.
October

Support our work

Subscribe to CT and get one year free.

Read These Next

close
hide this
Access The Archives

Member-Only Access

Subscribe to Christianity Today to continue reading this article from CT's digital archives.

Subscribe

Already a subscriber? to continue reading.