Union Public Schools to form committee to evaluate “Redskins” mascot

TULSA, Okla. — The Union Public Schools Board of Education will form a committee to reevaluate the district’s “Redskins” mascot at the group.

This decision came after a meeting on July 13 at the Education Service Center.

“We have been having conversations internally for quite some time about the possibility of making a change,” said Superintendent Dr. Kirt Hartzler. “Many, both inside and outside our community, have had conflicting emotions over the years regarding Union’s mascot, and we strongly believe that now is the time to take up this issue once again. My recommendation to the Board on Monday will be that we form a committee to study the issue. They will study the mascot issue and then make a final recommendation to the School Board.”

Union’s Board last considered the mascot issue 17 years ago during the 2002-03 school year. At that time, the Board made the decision to retain the Union Redskins name. “However, it is important that we reconsider this name to see if it aligns with the district’s core values that we have today,” said Hartzler. “If the Board agrees to move forward with this proposal, the committee will be tasked with making a recommendation regarding the name.”

Union Public Schools has had the Redskins mascot since 1945. Previously, they have been both the Hornets and the Cornhuskers.

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. released a statement on the decision:

”The Cherokee Nation will continue to urge team organizations, colleges and high schools to reconsider depictions of Native Americans as mascots, in chants and other forms of team promotion. It’s simply wrong to use Native American depictions across sports, especially “Redskins” which is derogatory and offensive to Native people. I applaud those teams and schools, like Union public school officials, who are taking action to consider changing their team names and mascots. Dialogue on cultural appropriateness of Native Americans in this country is long overdue and we hope more schools and team organizations take note of Union’s leadership and begin their own internal discussions. Particularly when it comes to public schools these discussions need to initially take place at the local level, and such discussions have my full support.”