'Redskins' Removal Debate Reignites At School Board Meeting

Monday, January 12th 2015, 10:07 pm
By: News 9

A school board meeting was packed Monday night over an issue that wasn't even on the agenda.

The removal of ‘Redskins' as the Capitol Hill High School mascot had people on both sides of the issue speaking out once again.

It was a unanimous and swift move by the Oklahoma City public school board back in December. That decision has turned into one of the most controversial moves in the school district's history.

“This name change has been very emotional for me,” said a Capitol Hill High School sophomore before board members Monday.

It all started just before the New Year. After listening to passionate pleas from not only Native Americans, but students, teachers, and even district officials, the mascot, Redskins, was removed.

12/9/2014 Related Story: Mixed Reactions As School Board Votes To Change Capitol Hill Mascot

“Whenever I heard about this name change, I felt as if I had a piece of me ripped from me. As if a loved one had died,” said the sophomore.

“I think it's a beautiful and amazing thing that the board stood in the gap to make this change, to be brave enough to make this change,” said a supporter of the decision.

For nearly 90 years, Capitol Hill High School's mascot was the Redskins, but only recently was the decades-old nickname brought into question. And, there seemed to be strong arguments on both sides of the issue.

“I see nothing wrong with the Redskin name,” said Kiowa Indian, Rosalie Bonine.

“We've been colonized to believe that we just have to follow, and we are now speaking up,” said Beverly Isaac.

Beverly Isaac said she is a full-blood Comanche Indian and has been following the debate since day one.

“I'm ready to move forward and get all those derogatory pictures and whatever they have to take off, take them off,” said Isaac. “We have to change.”

For many, it was about cultural awareness, something many felt was lacking at the south side high school to begin with.

“We have young people that don't have that knowledge within the school system. They start with the beauty of our culture,” said a supporter.

“This word is an honoring word. It reminds people of what we had to go through,” said the Capitol Hill sophomore.

The superintendent said Monday evening that the district is still in the process of selecting a group of people to help name a new mascot.