Football fans in Washington, D.C. should take notice. An Oregon school board voted unanimously to get rid of a local high school’s “Redskins” name and mascot after nearly 90 years despite strong protests from students and community leaders.
Dozens of protesters crowded into the auditorium at Port Townsend High School to voice their opposition to the board’s decision, but their pleas fell on deaf ears.
Frank Boushie, a Native American who moved to Washington State three decades ago, was in attendance at the gathering.
“It was so racist in there, it was unbelievable,” he said. “They just don’t get it.”
Native American Terri McQuillen, a graduate of the school, said she never took offense to the nickname despite its negative connotations.
“I didn’t [take offense] because I was raised to understand my responsibility is to take my name and make it proud,” she said.
Superintendent David Engle served on a committee that studied the mascot issue for almost a year. He said that the community will be engaged in the process of selecting a new nickname and that the Redskins nickname will be retired “with dignity” over the next year, Fox News reported.
“What I would say is a maritime community like ours, we always have people moving in and out,” he said. “It’s part of the richness of the community. We have to make space in our community for lots of different views.”
Dan Lockhart graduated from Port Townsend High in 1973. He said he never thought there was a problem with nickname.
“It was never an issue,” he said. “It didn’t become an issue until about 20 years ago.”