Duluth, MN – Swastika-Like Tiles at Congdon School Will Stay

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    Duluth, MN – Two-by-two-inch tiles bearing a close resemblance to Nazi swastikas will stay in Congdon Elementary School despite concerns raised by some community members.

    Built in 1929, Congdon Elementary School and the tiles in question were here four years before the rise of Nazi Germany. The nine tiles are in two Superior Street entrances to the school.

    It’s a symbol that’s been around Indian tribes for many years in some cases, said Dr. Bob Powless of the city’s Native American Commission. “It has different meanings. Sometimes people say it’s a good luck symbol. It has absolutely nothing to do with the Nazi symbolism.”

    Duluth school officials say this isn’t the first time the resemblance has been brought to their attention. Concerns about the symbol are raised every five or 10 years, they say.

    One plan the school district is considering is to put a plaque up somewhere in the school to educate visitors on the significance of the symbol to American Indians.

    “I’ve been meeting with some Native American leaders, and they gave me where that symbol coming from and some of the history behind it,” Superintendent Keith Dixon said. “We’re in the education business, and it makes sense to me that we would put up some kind of plaque or something educating people relative to where these tiles come from and what the meaning is.”


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