In a 3-0 vote, school board officials in an Oklahoma town voted late last week to keep the high school's Redskins nickname in a move that drew both support and ire from Native Americans.
The Daily Oklahoman reports
that the board in McLoud, part of the Oklahoma City Consolidated Metropolitan Area, took the Dec. 10 vote "after more than an hour of intense discussion that left several speakers in tears."
"We are very proud of our Redskins, and have never thought of the name being derogatory or insulting," Darlene Halford said during public discussion before the vote, the Oklahoman reports.
The newspaper noted that "[o]thers, mainly those from outside the McLoud community," opposed the nickname.
"Mascots dehumanize. If you are a mascot, you are less than human," said Sarah Adams-Cornell, a member of the Choctaw Nation. She was interrupted by the unhappy audience as she went over the two-minute time limit for public remarks, with people shouting, "Time's up," as she tried to continue speaking.
Most of the local Native Americans who spoke at the meeting supported the Redskins name, the Oklahoman reports.
"On behalf of the McLoud High School Inter-Tribal Club, we are fully aware of the situation," said one speaker.
"An outside voice does not speak for our (local) native community. We are not being manipulated by others; we're speaking out our own opinions. Not a single member of our tribal club find the Redskin name offensive. We find the Redskin name ... an honor."
The name also sparked debate last month at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. The school's nickname was the Redskins for nearly 70 years until being changed to RedHawks in 1997.
In an "open letter" printed in the school newspaper
in November, student Anna Lucia Feldman castigated a local bar owner who has named a drink in honor of the old nickname, writing " I have to tell you that your use of the slur 'redskin' as a drink name is reprehensible.
"I know you were trying to honor Miami by using our old mascot and that you probably don't even know what the word really means, so I'll educate you just a little bit about its history."
After stating her case, Feldman pithily concluded:
"Now that we all know your drink name is offensive, I have no doubt you'll take the swiftest action to rename it."
Her letter drew several pointed responses, such as:
"This is a joke right? The micro aggressions are out of control."
"There are so many other things to worry abou[t] in the world!"
"The echo chamber of white men in this comment stream offering up justifications for this blatantly mypoic — racist drink name is exactly what I expected. Congratulations on proving the author's point."
"Well there goes Black and Tans, White Russians, Irish Car Bombs…."
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