Ohio high school cheerleaders spark controversy with “Trail of Tears” banner

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HILLSBORO, Ohio — An Ohio high school blames “ignorance” and is apologizing for a banner displayed at a prep football game recalling the country’s brutal treatment of Native Americans.

Several news outlets reported that some Greenfield-McClain High School cheerleaders held up the banner at a Friday night game against the Hillsboro High Indians. It read: “Hey Indians, Get Ready for a Trail of Tears Part 2.” The reference was to the 19th century forced relocation of Indians. Thousands died of starvation, illness or exposure.

Greenfield-McClain High’s principal sent a statement of apology Saturday to two Hillsboro-based newspapers. It says the banner was created “out of ignorance, not hate,” and promises the school will take steps to further educate students about atrocities faced by both Native Americans and blacks.

Hillsboro won the game 43-40.