The use of the nickname “Redskins” may top the list of being most offensive of American Indian names because it is seen as an ethnic slur.
The National Football League’s Washington Redskins is facing criticism. The Washington Post reported earlier this month that if the team is serious about coming inside the District of Columbia, D.C Mayor Vincent Gray says there will have to be a discussion about a name change.
In Borgstrom’s address, he said research done in 2001 suggested the name “Redskins” dates to the mid-1920s.
The address continued: “Some have suggested it relates to (Lester) “Red” Bursey (longtime coach, physical education teacher and athletic director, which the district’s gymnasium is named after). It seems to predate his influence. If the name was a reference to native people, it was surely done to honor them. I respect that. Further, I recognize the history of the school and the emotional ties to the name ‘Redskins.’ The issue is not so much the origins of the name, who it may have honored, or the various visions and emotions it may stir up. What is at hand is how it reflects Cooperstown Central School culture and philosophy of education.”
Let’s face it; nobody really likes change, especially when something has been the same for so many years. Alumni probably have the most emotional tie to the nickname and will most likely have the most resistance to change. However, the fate will not be left in their hands, but instead will be made internally.
According to Superintendent C.J. Hebert, students, faculty and staff will complete a survey indicating their preferences for as many as three nicknames among nine offered to them. Keeping the current nickname will be an option, and space will be provided to suggest a name that is not listed. The three most popular choices will be presented to the board of education at a 5 p.m. meeting Wednesday, Feb. 6.
We are not sure if a final decision will be made by then, but if you have an opinion on the topic that probably would be the time to attend to express it. That, or call a school official beforehand. It may be the last opportunity to be heard because a public meeting has not been scheduled to gather input and it does not look like there will be one.