Over the last 150 years, Southeast Missouri State University has gone through a few presidents, name changes, and mascots. From a Native American chief to the Redhawk we know today, let us take you through the timeline of the many faces of Southeast.

From archives "For more than eighty years, Southeast students chanted “Fight, Indians, Fight” to
cheer on their team as, from the 1920s until the early 2000s, the college mascot was the
Indian (or Ohtakian, for the women’s squads).Beginning in the 1960s, universities across
the nation began to reconsider using Native Americans mascots, and in 1985, Southeast
took action. That year, the college quietly retired Chief Sagamore (a student dressed in
full Native American regalia), although they continued to use the Indian name. In 2003,
President Kenneth W. Dobbins formed a committee comprised of various members of the
campus community to determine whether or not to replace the name as well. After passing
on suggested names like the Ninja Squirrels and the Fighting Okra, Southeast introduced
Rowdy the Redhawk, hatched on January 22, 2005, at a basketball game against Austin
Peay. With Rowdy’s support, the Redhawks prevailed that day, winning 65–52, and now
the university’s beloved Redhawk can be found all around campus"

SEMO Mascots through the Years

  • 1914 to mid 1920s

    The Sagamore and Capaha Arrow use Indigenous iconography, however athletic teams are not yet called ‘Indians.’
  • 1924-1930

    The Indigenous iconography extends into sports. Teams are now called the 'Indians.' 
  • 1930s

    Southeast has no official mascot but continues to use the 'Indian' nickname.
  • 1940s

    Chief Sagamore and Minnie are featured in the Capaha Arrow as actual dolls.
  • Early 1950s

    ‘Big Chief Sagamore’ is officially recognized at University sporting events.
  • 1960-1972

    Chief Sagamore is now shown alongside a ‘Princess.' In 1965, Alpha Phi Omega sponsors the use of a costume and a horse joins the mascot in event photos.
  • 1981-1984

    Southeast takes action as universities across the national question using Native American mascots. Chief Sagamore is quietly retired but the 'Indian' name continues.
  • 1986-1988

    A new mascot arrives. SEMO Red is featured with cheerleaders at campus events. Chief Sagamore and Princess Otahki continue to exist but do not take the forefront as mascots.
  • 1989

    Southeast tries out the Thunderbird as a mascot. It is shortlived. 
  • 1989-2003

    The years without a mascot.
  • 1997-2004

    Various members of the campus community come together under President Dobbins to determine whether or not to replace the name 'Indians' as well as the mascot.
  • 2005

    After passing names like the Ninja Squirrels and the Fighting Okra, Southeast introduces
    Rowdy the Redhawk. Rowdy was hatched on January 22, 2005.
A mascot says a lot about an institution. It speaks to the tenacity of students and underscores their fighting spirit. Today, the Redhwak spirit is with the students in the classroom and in the sports arena. Mascots are the embodiment of what a university strives to be. Rowdy is energetic, loyal, hardworking, and fun. If that doesn't sum up Southeast, we don't know what does.