Penzey’s sends packages to Mukwonago homes on mascot issue

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MUKWONAGO (WITI) -- A box filled with spices has a lot of people talking in Mukwonago. Penzey's Spices sent a package to a number of homes there. The package included various seasonings, and a three-page note that injected the company into the debate over whether Mukwonago High School should change its "Indians" mascot.

John Stoesser is among those with a Mukwonago address who received a package from Penzey's.

"I opened it and I was perplexed. I didn't know what to think. When I saw this sheet, then I had a problem. Then I was concerned," Stoesser said.

The double-sided sheet includes contact information for both Republican lawmakers and the Mukwonago School Board.

Republicans are actively trying to scale back a law that allows the state to force schools to remove a mascot.

The Mukwonago School Board President declined to comment -- deferring to the superintendent, who did not return FOX6's calls on Tuesday, October 15th.

"Why Penzey's would do this, I think he needs to explain," Stoesser said.

Bill Penzey, who signed the letter, did not return messages to FOX6 on Tuesday.

However, excerpts from the letter make it clear where Penzey stands on the question of whether Mukwonago High School should keep its mascot.

He writes: "We created the lie that labeled them the Warriors and the Raiders and the Savages simply as the cover-up to make our crimes appear justified."

He goes on to say: "This lie, this injustice and all the pain it has caused -- that is at the heart of the sports team naming issue."

On this, Stoesser agrees with Penzey.

"I lean in that direction out of respect for Native Americans, or any other minority group," Stoesser said.

However, Stoesser says Penzey could have made his point without politicking.

"Since it came through as a business, I'm not as comfortable as if it were Mr. Penzey sending out a letter saying 'I'm not comfortable with this, I don't like it.' That probably would've been more appropriate," Stoesser said.

A spokesman for the Government Accountability Board says the GAB is aware of the Penzey's packages. He says those mailings are equivalent to "issue-based ads" and are not subject to the state's lobbying registration laws.

6 comments

  • Arnnette Malchow

    I live in the town of Mukwonago and I am NOT offended by the mascot. I am a member of the Stockbridge-Munsee tribe and find that this is a dignified representation of an Indian. In fact when I moved here in 1984 I was proud that there was a good representation of American Indians for the high school mascot. If it offended me I would have said something many years ago. My children went there and they were proud of their mascot. I believe that if you are not a member of an American tribe, you should not have a say in whether or not a mascot should be removed. How can you be offended?

  • Michele Foti

    Bad form by Penzeys………99 % of the cities/towns in Wisconsin are indian based.. does that mean we all have to change those names too????? both my parents and my husband are Indians….. I am proud to be a part of that!

  • WiseOldWoman

    At least Bill Penzey signs his name to his beliefs. Bob Costas seems to agree with him regarding the Washington Redskins. Tosans loved their Red Raiders as must as you love your “Indians”, but the school board did the right thing. Get over it, Mukwonago. There are bigger problems in the world.

    • indiansalways

      Excuse me, but who made Bob Costas the all-knowing, intellectually supreme being on this issue? You could maybe make the reach that “Red Raiders” is a tad on the edgey side but Indians? That’s what they were…… INDIANS!!! Get a life lady!

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