Native American group calls for schools to abandon Redskins nicknames

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Goshen Redskins hope to have a new nickname by January 1.

But Goshen isn’t the only school in the state that still uses that as its nickname.

Emmerich Manual High School on Indianapolis’ south side also uses the name.

Both of those schools say there are no plans to change the name, but one group is hoping they reconsider.

“I don’t believe people in the general population realize how hurtful that word really is,” said Doug Poe, the Executive Director and CEO of the American Indian Center of Indiana, Inc.

Poe gives talks around the state on the word “redskin.”

It’s a term he says most won’t even use.

“It’s a big issue within the Native community. We don’t even use the full name, we just use the “R” word,” said Poe.

Poe applauds Goshen’s decision to get rid of the nickname. He says the term shouldn’t be glorified

“The term redskin actually became popular after the bounties were put on Native Americans. They were paid by England for the scalps and the hands and when they got over to Europe the skin had turned red because of the blood, and that’s where the term redskin came from. It came from those bounties. The connotations and suffering and bloodshed, all the mishaps to the Native Americans throughout history, just lead to historical trauma and it just continues on with hearing that word and using that word,” said Poe.

“I think it would be good to change it for the sake of people’s feelings,” said Jessica Rodriguez, an incoming sophomore at Emmerich Manual.

The charter school is run by IPS. A spokeswoman for IPS said today they’ve had no issues with the name, and said there were no plans to change it.

But Rodriguez says it’s been a topic of discussion.

“We actually did an article on it, about changing it, but nobody really said anything about actually changing it,” said Rodriguez.

“There’s no way it can be used and not be hurtful,” said Poe.

Poe says he doesn’t only have an issue with the term redskin, he says no nicknames pertaining to Native American culture should be used in naming mascots.

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