THE BRAVE AND THE RED-TAILED HAWK
UNC Pembroke’s athletic nickname is the Braves while its mascot is the red-tailed hawk. Athletic teams have had the nickname Braves - a term that echoes our American Indian heritage - since 1946. The red-tailed hawk was added as a companion to the Brave in 1992. It is indigenous to North America and can be seen soaring high above or perching in the pine trees surrounding campus.
American Indian traditions teach that animals were sent by the Great Creator to serve as guardians and teachers for humans; they are endowed with certain sacred qualities and powers that can be imparted to humans. The powers of specific animals are invoked by adding symbols and images on clothing and personal belongings.
The Braves’ athletic uniforms and other campus symbols are adorned with the mascot to invoke the qualities of the red-tailed hawk – speed, keen sight, focus, power, hunting ability and good luck.
UNCP does not use an Indian mascot, but uses the “Braves” nickname and an athletic logo bearing the image of an American Indian. An NCAA committee investigated the issue for two years and required reports from 18 universities, including UNCP, in late 2004. The NCAA ruled on Aug. 5, 2005, that UNCP is the only school that will be allowed to use an American Indian mascot, nickname or imagery at NCAA-sanctioned postseason events. Seventeen universities were banned from using their American Indian athletic symbols in postseason tournaments because they were judged “hostile or abusive.”
The Tribal Council of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina endorsed the University's use of the logo and Braves nickname.
BLACK AND GOLD
Since at least 1944, UNCP’s official colors have been black and gold, though the color gold has been associated with the school since the 1920’s.