October 14, 2014

OKC District Examines ‘Redskins’ Name at High School

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Oklahoma City Public Schools is looking into whether the Redskins nickname at Capitol Hill High School should be changed.

“The Oklahoma City Public School District has been researching how other institutions have addressed similar issues and we are also seeking the perspectives of Oklahoma-based Native American tribes,” district spokeswoman Tierney Tinnin said in an email Tuesday, responding to a question about the matter.

Tierney did not say whether the district or high school had received any complaints.

The district is also reaching out to alumni, students and faculty. The feedback will then be passed on to the district’s administration and school board.

The Redskins moniker became the center of a recent national debate when Native American groups and others raised new objections to use of the term by the Washington Redskins. Critics of the name say it is racist, while defenders say it is a tradition not intended to be disparaging.

Capitol Hill is one of six schools in Oklahoma with the Redskins nickname, according to MaxPreps.com, a high school sports website owned by CBS. The website lists 69 districts with the same nickname nationally.

The other Oklahoma districts are Dustin-Graham, Kingston, McLoud, Rush Springs and Union public schools. In Dustin-Graham, Dustin still goes by the Redskins name while Graham uses Chieftains. According to state data from 2012-2013, 5 percent of Capitol Hill students were Native American. Among the other districts, Kingston High School had the highest share who of students who are Native American, at 59 percent.

Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., who is Native American, has weighed in on the issue, calling the name “derogatory.”

“It is very, very, very offensive,” he told Roll Call, a Washington, D.C., publication. “This isn’t like warriors of chiefs. It’s not a term of respect.”

Dan Snyder, owner of the Washington Redskins, has said the name honors Native Americans and he has no plans to change it.

  • Shannon Lusty

    Yes. The racist word should no longer be used as mascots. #changethename !

  • Bev Keller

    I think this is the most ridiculous thing of ever heard As an alumni Capitol Hill Redskins I have always been proud to be called that

  • bob potter

    I possess no Indian Heritage, so I am told that what I express is of little or no value to enter the opinion or Validity of thought, However I consider my self an ole Redskin from some sixty years past, and say I am sorry all these years so many Have suffered in silence at carrying this Burden, Strange that the local Newspaper never made mention of the Attack on the Native americans from our school. in fact they printed Giant Sports headlines REDSKINS PREVAIL OVER Classen HIGH,
    What I am concerned with more than any thing at this Juncture , Is the history that is being left out of our text books, The abject indifference shown by Many teachers in concentrating on making excuses for Students who will never apply and even try, Concern for the attendance quota, and the Discipline that is allowed , the teachers job is one I never considered in applying for, But find the most Gratifying to participate in, and that is passing Knowledge forward.
    In conclusion to this Bandwagon of endorsements I find here in, It seems almost as if so much of society all made the mistake of overlooking the Descriptive word at the same time period, But now must rush, almost Gallop to it’s Remedy. Any one not agreeing must be held up to certain Ridicule?? all these years and not much expressed, But Now it is the Burning Question, Very urgent, People Wringing their hands, Little children with quivering Voices, all crying , Lofty speeches being Made, I am wondering who the donkey tail is going to be Pinned on for this tragic injustice all these years???

  • Arda Penny Tompkins

    I am an alumni of CHHS and on the Choctaw Indian Roll. I have always been very proud of my Indian heritage. I think the nickname “Redskin” is an honor and feel it shows respect. What stupid thing are the naysayers going to come up with next? Should we change the name Oklahoma because it means Red People? How insulting that must be!!! There are many issues that need to be addressed concerning the Native Americans, such as poverty, alcoholism, teenage pregnancy, to name a few. Why not spend our time on something productive instead of focusing on a ridiculous controversy trying to be politically correct.

  • Jeanette Cobb

    I am an alumni of CHHS, and have Cherokee Indian blood lines as well. My grandfather is listed on the Cherokee Indian Rolls. I have always been proud to be a Redskin, it isn’t racist, it is an honor. I, along with many former CHHS Redskins, would really hate to see the Redskin name and the beloved little Redskin mascot changed or worse yet gone forever. The emphasis should be on building up and helping Native Americans not removing their name.

  • Edward Tompkins

    As a proud graduate of Capitol Hill High School, married to a lovely, sometimes difficult, card-carrying Choctaw, I strongly disagree with The Honorable Tom Cole, whom I’ve always supported. He says the term “Redskins” is derogatory, offensive and disrespectful — this from a man representing the Great State of Oklahoma (“Red People”) in Washington, DC. This odd view by the honorable gentleman might be explained by the tendency of some politicians to become citizens of Washington, DC, rather than citizens of the states who elected them — a condition referred to as “Terminal DC Incumbency”.

    A citizen of DC is instructed daily by local authorities, daily newspapers and national media on what positions to take and how that position should be expressed — especially with respect to that very, very, very offensive term “Redskins”.

  • Jessica Glenza. “California assembly passes bill to ban ‘Redskins’ as high school team name” . The Guardian.