The Oskaloosa Community Schools wanted to honor the heritage of the Ioway tribe in the area.
In the past, Oskaloosa had used various generic Indian images, and while they looked nice, they didn’t really have anything to do with specific regional Native American people.
Starting in the fall of 2012, the school district began to explore the possibility of re-creating an identity centered around the rich native American history.
The intention was to honor this heritage while, at the same time, creating an unique brand that will serve to identify Oskaloosa Community Schools and educate people about the Ioway people.
Enter Oskaloosa alumnus Matt Kargol, who teaches art at Oskaloosa High School. The varsity defensive line coach and assistant varsity wrestling coach designed the new logo that will make its debut during the football season.
“Over the years Oskaloosa, through coaching changes, gone through various versions of the indian,” Kargol said. “We have had some similar to the Washington Redskins indian, there are also a few different generic full headdress images, then most recently many of the sports teams had gone to using just the O. We felt that it was time to create continuity in the way Oskaloosa Community Schools represents itself through the Indian logo. In discussions about the identity of Oskaloosa schools we determined that we needed our own unique Indian, which was rooted in the history of this area, it’s called a brand in the advertising world. This is the first step in developing Oskaloosa Community School’s unique brand.”
The new logo is based on Chief White Cloud (1784-1834), who is more commonly known as Chief Mahaska, and the Ioway people.
Chief Mahaska was Chief of the Ioway tribe. He lived near present day Eldon. His likeness stands as a sculptural testament to the Ioway people in Oskaloosa’s city square. At one time, the Ioway people’s numbers rivaled that of the Sioux and stretched between the Missouri and the Mississippi Rivers.
In 1824, Mahaska accompanied a select party of Indian chiefs to Washington to have an interview with President James Monroe. Mahaska was presented with a medal, and a treaty signed between the United States and the Ioway tribe. After this trip, he returned to his home, as a man of peace. The things he had seen and heard made a deep impression on his mind. After Mahaska’s visit to Washington, he worked to help the Ioway people learn to cultivate the land and transition to a more agricultural way of life.
Included in the new design are significant elements which designate the Oskaloosa Indian logo as Ioway, including the porcupine roach, the fingerwoven turban, and the bear claw necklace which are all part of the traditional dress of the Ioway people.
According to Kargol, everyone he’s talked to about the new logo has liked it.
“So far everyone has said they liked it, the football team is excited to have the Indian back on the helmet,” he said. “People familiar with traditional Ioway Tribal dress have stated that they recognize the unique elements that designate this indian as Ioway, they like it.
“Being an Oskaloosa alum, it’s really exciting to be able to give back and help develop the Oskaloosa brand. I know, as a little kid, I was a Washington Redskins fan because Oskaloosa football had similar uniforms, it is my hope that kids growing up today develop a connection and a real sense of pride in wearing maroon and white, the Indian, and representing Oskaloosa well. This logo will help to educate people about Chief Mahaska and the Ioway people, and open up a dialog about the Native Americans that live and have lived in this area.”