Seneca Nation Condemns Language Heard at High School Lacrosse Game

Video captured slur being directed at Lake Shore student athletes

ALLEGANY TERRITORY, SALAMANCA, N.Y. – The Seneca Nation is condemning racially-charged language that was directed at members of the Lake Shore Varsity Boy’s lacrosse team by a spectator during a game at Williamsville South High School earlier this week. The incident was captured during live streaming of the game.

Seneca Nation President Rickey Armstrong, Sr. issued the following statement:

“On Wednesday, April 26, Native American high school athletes experienced a shocking incident of hate speech during a lacrosse game between Lake Shore High School (a school with a significant number of Seneca students) and Williamsville South High School. A spectator at the event was caught on camera spewing racist and disgusting hate speech towards the Native American athletes on the Lake Shore team. Not only are these comments deeply disrespectful and hurtful to our young athletes, the person making them put ignorance and lack of human decency on display for all to see and hear. Lacrosse is an event we hold sacred, making the comments all the more egregious.  We cannot and will not accept this behavior from anyone and hope that this individual is held accountable for their blatantly racist taunts. 

Just days ago, New York State implemented a long-overdue rule prohibiting schools from using Native American names, logos and mascots. It was a step toward finally respecting our people, our culture and our heritage in the public realm. One individual at Williamsville South illustrated how far we still have to go. Imagine a teenage student athlete being ridiculed and reduced – by an adult no less – to a hurtful caricature based on their background and the color of their skin. It’s shameful.

We call on Williamsville South High School and Section VI to investigate the incident and make right a moment that marred the evening for all athletes.  It is our expectation that the offending spectator will be identified and that appropriate actions will be taken to prevent this individual from spreading further hate and racism at any future sporting contests.  Their behavior is a stain on the community and only keeps our society mired in incivility.”