Fort Wayne, Indiana’s North Side High School wins kudos for planned nickname change

A high school in Fort Wayne, Indiana is getting rid of the nickname “Redskins” and is planning to work with students and the community on a new school nickname.

While most of the country has focused on effort for the NFL’s Washington Redskins to change its nickname, schools and sports teams have quietly – some a little more quietly than others – have gone about the business of changing the name that many Native Americans find a slur and offensive.

North Side High School, which has used the name since 1927, according to the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, is the latest to ditch it and search for a new one.

“There is consensus among a wide array of groups that now would be the time to address use of the name Redskins,” Mark GiaQuinta, Fort Wayne Community Schools’ board president, told the News-Sentinel this week. “There won’t be a board vote. This really isn’t anything that requires a board vote.”

This is significant seeing that Fort Wayne Community Schools  is the second largest school district in the state next to Indianapolis Public Schools.

The newspaper said the school officials did their homework and have already talked with the school’s student government, alumni association, school leadership and Miami Tribe about the current nickname.

School officials told the News-Sentinel that a process to select a new name will include input from students and alumni, with the Miami Tribe serving as a consultant to the process being completed by the end of the school year.

News-Sentinel columnist Reggie Hayes supported the school’s efforts and its willingness to move forward.

“I understand the investment and pride in school tradition. But ‘Redskins’ is considered a racial slur now, and it’s time to move on to a better nickname,” Hayes wrote Thursday, July 23. “Traditions can be overrated, especially in sports. It’s been my experience that those most upset by change are older people, set in their ways and mired in nostalgia for the good old days.

“It’s good to see FWCS and North Side move forward instead of waiting to see what happens with the NFL’s Washington Redskins, the most visible example of the nickname,” Hayes added in his column. “‘Redskins’ has fallen out of favor and disappeared from high schools and colleges over the last decade or so. It’s time.”

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