Fort Wayne Community Schools announced Thursday it’s planning to open a conversation about the mascot at one of its high schools.
Since 1927, the nickname for North Side High School has been the Redskins, a term many tribes and non-native people consider derogatory.
Fort Wayne Community Schools says when it was first adopted, the name was meant as a source of pride in local Native American heritage.
But the term is considered derogatory by many tribes and non-native people alike, and the school board believes the name no longer aligns with the district’s core values of celebrating diversity.
Fort Wayne Community Schools spokesperson Krista Stockman says the district will soon start a conversation both educating people about the meaning of the term, and inviting input.
And she says North Side will soon likely have some new traditions.
“We don’t really want people to have the intention or the thought that this is a name they can save," Stockman said. "At the same time, we haven’t made any decisions.”
The FWCS announcement comes as a national conversation has reignited around the use of the term in the context of athletics.
The NFL team in Washington, D.C., that shares the nickname has come under fire from Native Americans, business leaders, and politicians who believe the team should change its name. And many media outlets have decided to limit use of the nickname or ban it all together.
Stockman says there’s not yet a timeline for discussions on the nickname, but the dialogue will include students, staff, alumni and members of the Miami Indian Nation.