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U.S. History/Indian Madien as our Mascot


U.S. History/Answered Question
Expert:  Paul Edward Zukowski
Subject:  Indian maidan as our Mascot ,the Eagle was chosen
Question:  QUESTION: Good day Mr.Z:

I was reading about American symbols/mascots that mentioned that our Mascot was almost an Anerican Indian Maiden.  What are some of the reason that she was considered to be a Mascot? And where can I read on more info regarding discussion of having an Indian Marden as a mascot.  Sincerely, Ruby Ledbetter an Afro American

ANSWER: Hi Ruby,
In terms the design of the great seal and use of eagle as symbol I have never heard of Indian Maiden being considered. I have heard rattle snakes and turkeys being considered in 1780s

What time period did you find the Indian Maiden considered as symbol?

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QUESTION: Thank you Mr. Z for your response. The introduction of this Book on pg. seven (7) , Uncle Sam And Old Glory Symbols of  America (2002), states "Did you know a long long time ago the main symbol for America was an Indian maiden? I am uncertain if this is true or not that is why I asked you this question.  This book is by Delono C. West and  Jean M. West Woodcuts by Christopher Manson.  Thanks  From Ms. Ledbetter

ANSWER: Hi again,
It may have have been consider but I do not see any references to it.  It could not have been of any major historical note. You might want it run it past on of the other experts on the board just in case I missed something. You can try Michael Troy or Tom Schott.
Sorry I was not of more help,

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QUESTION: Thank you for being honest . Paul can you ditto the other experts on our conversation . I am uncertain how to copy them on our notes . Thanks Ruby Ledbetter.wi2w8
Answer:  Hi
Hi can't send from here is how to do.
Just click the links and just retype your original question to them.

Hi Ruby,

The US has never had an official mascot.  I don't think the matter has ever been debated, even with or without consideration of an Indian Maiden.

Probably the closest we have is the Bald Eagle, which was chosen to appear on the Great Seal of the United States at the time of founding of the Republic and which was declared the official bird of the United States in 1972.  I have read some about early debates over national symbols.  Benjamin Franklin famously suggested the turkey.

Early debates by the committee selected to design the the State Seal focused on Biblical scenes or from Greek Mythology.  There was also a proposal to include flowers that symbolized the various countries that helped develop the US.  You can read about these in more detail here:

A second committee came up with some new ideas, one of which included an Indian Warrior as part of the seal (but not a maiden).  You can view tose proposals here:

A third proposal included a maiden (but not an Indian maiden) it its proposed seal, which you can view here:

But an Indian maiden, as far as I know, never came up for serious debate.

The only other commonly recognized image for the US is the "Uncle Sam" image which was developed during WWI.  Indians have sometimes been used on US coins, but usually warriors have been used, not maidens.

So I'm rather surprised that your history book would make the claim that an Indian maiden almost became the national mascot.  That claim does not have any support from any source of which I am aware.

- Mike  

U.S. History

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Michael Troy


I can answer just about any question on early American History. My specialties are the American Revolution through the Civil War/Reconstruction. I also have greater expertise in matters relating to military, political or legal history.


I have lectured at George Washington University regarding the Civil War, as well as several elementary school Civil War demonstrations. I was also a member of a Civil War reenactment group for about 10 years.


J.D. University of Michigan B.A. George Washington University

Awards and Honors
Truman Scholar

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