Union has no plans to change mascot

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Reported by: Janai Norman
Updated: 10/15/2013 4:00 pm Published: 10/15/2013 3:59 pm

Nationwide, there's a call for the Washington Redskins football team to change names because the name is offensive and considered a slur by some.

That's bringing to light a long running dispute over the Union Redskins in Tulsa, but Union officials said they have no intention of making changes.

This isn't a new debate, or the first time this school has faced controversy over their mascot, a redskin.

An official statement from the district says in part that Redskin is not derogatory, but a 29-page report says otherwise.

"It wouldn't make much sense for us to have a mascot that we're belittling," said Union senior Michael Hill.

He told FOX23 Native American culture is embedded in his life.

"Obviously we're in Oklahoma, we're in Native American land, it's on our license plates, so what sets us apart from everywhere else is this is Indian territory," he said.

For him, the redskin mascot is a symbol celebrating that culture.

"We embrace it, we represent it, it's not to demean Native Americans," he said.

But Joe Joaquin, a Native American who traveled to Tulsa for the National Congress of American Indians, said it does.

"There's plenty other names they can use," said Joaquin.

FOX23's Janai Norman got a copy of an NCAI report published this month about ending racism in sports.

She uncovered that right now, 62 high schools still call themselves Redskins, but 28 schools have dropped the mascot as disapproval has increased.

"The names sometimes they use is sacred to our people, it means something to us," said Joaquin.

In a statement to FOX23, Union Public Schools said in 2003 the board of education did extensive research into the mascot, and ultimately voted to keep the redskin tradition. The full statement is attached to this story.

For many Native Americans, that tradition is a marker for oppression and racism.

"If it's not an Indian school, it's a public school and it's mixed with everybody else, I think it should be another name," said Joaquin.

Most recently, Northeastern State University in Tahlequah changed its name from the Redmen to the Riverhawks.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

audrelee - 10/15/2013 9:46 PM
1 Vote
CRIMENY PEOPLE GROW UP ! Are the KC Chiefs next. Is that a sacred name only for special people. What about Arrowhead Stadium, is that offensive as well? Apache helicopters? Apache street in Tulsa by the airport. Every ethnicity and nationality wants preferential treatment YET they cry fowl is something is named that does the very thing they want. Its AMERICA FOLKS .......WE ARE AMERICANS COMPRISED OF MANY. Get over yourselves and wahhhhhh you big babies who are offended by the fact that someone thinks so highly of you that they are willing to be called by your name. What exactly do you want you so easily offended every one???

expat - 10/15/2013 5:28 PM
1 Vote
Well, I might understand the Washington Redskins wanting to change their name to just plain "Redskins." It would be horribly demeaning to have Washington attached to your name.
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