Washington Redskins Name Change Could Affect Oklahoma High Schools

Monday, July 13th 2020, 6:08 pm
By: Brian Mueller

Adrian Peterson still plays in Washington D.C., but he'll be wearing a new uniform this year.

Amid pressure from sponsors, politicians and activists, Washington announced Monday they are retiring their Redskins nickname and logo.

Seven years after telling USA Today that he would never change the name, Washington D.C. owner Dan Snyder called an audible.

Snyder and head coach Ron Rivera are currently working on a new name, which will not be Native American related.

Native Americans across the country have been calling for change for years, including right here in Oklahoma.

"It still hurts when depictions of Native Americans or slurs, frankly, are used in a commercials sense or reduced to mascots or caricatures," said Chuck Hoskin, Jr., Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation.

In Oklahoma City, there is precedent for high schools changing their mascot name.

Capitol Hill used to be known as the Redskins, but many said that term was derogatory. The Oklahoma City Public Schools Board of Education voted to remove the Redskins mascot from the school.

Capitol Hill became the Red Wolves in 2015.

Dr. Star Yellowfish, director of Native American Student Services, advised the board when they were considering a name change.

"This word is not. We care about our students and their learning environment and we will no longer use a racial slur to represent one of our high schools," Dr. Yellowfish said.

There are nearly 60 high schools in Oklahoma with Native-American themed nicknames, ranging from Savages to Warriors.

That number may go down by one soon.

Monday night in Tulsa, the Union School Board will discuss whether the school's mascot should be changed. They've been the Redskins for the last 75 years.

They will vote on forming a committee to revisit changing their name, something that was last discussed by the school in 2002.

News 9 reached out numerous times to multiple schools with Native American-themed nicknames over the last week, asking for comment. No schools responded.