“Redskins” nickname draws different opinions

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A handful of Indiana high schools use “Redskins” as the nickname for their sports teams, including North Side in Fort Wayne.  While some national leaders have ruled against the Washington Redskins’ name, folks in Fort Wayne have different thoughts about North Side’s mascot.

The U.S. Patent Office ruled Wednesday that the Washington Redskins nickname is “disparaging of Native Americans” and that the team’s federal trademarks for the name must be canceled.

But Krista Stockman, a spokeswoman for Fort Wayne Community Schools, says the North Side Redskins nickname is not an issue for the corporation.  She says it only comes up when the Washington Redskins controversy is in the news and the school board has never indicated a desire to change the mascot.

Personally, Glenna Jehl with the Fort Wayne Community School Board of Trustees says the nickname is a tradition.

“North Side High School has had the Redskins name and it’s been a proud tradition for [decades],” Jehl said.  “They bear that name proudly and it’s not in any way shape or form meant to be derogatory or demeaning toward the Native Americans”

NewsChannel 15 caught up with several people in downtown Fort Wayne Thursday.  The majority didn’t find the “Redskins” name offensive.

“It doesn’t really bother me,” said Madeline Terrell.  “My dad went there. I know it doesn’t bother him at all.  I think it almost pays respect to the Native Americans.”

David Tracey agreed.  “If you look at the history of it, it’s actually the celebration of the warrior attitude that the Native Americans had,” he said.

But there were a couple people who had strong opinions against the “Redskins” nickname.  They think FWCS should consider changing North Side’s mascot.

“I think the often-touted excuse is like ‘Oh, well nobody’s brought it up,” said C. Ray Harvey.  “I think we’re all capable of doing things that we know maybe are incorrect and whether they’re brought to our attention or not doesn’t let us off the hook from taking action.”

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