AP

Cedar High School ditches Native American mascot name

Feb 6, 2019, 4:40 PM
cedar...
This Jan. 11, 2019 photo shows the mascot "Redmen" at Cedar High School in Cedar City, Utah. The southern Utah high school is getting rid of its “Redmen” mascot as it becomes the latest team to shed a Native American moniker deemed offensive to some people. (Credit: Trent Nelson, The Salt Lake Tribune via AP)
(Credit: Trent Nelson, The Salt Lake Tribune via AP)

CEDAR CITY — Sports teams will no longer be known as the “Redmen” at a southern Utah high school, becoming the latest to get rid of a Native American name deemed offensive despite opposition from some residents and a national American Indian group.

The Iron County School Board voted 3-2 Tuesday night to approve a recommendation from a committee that concluded Cedar High School should stop using the term that critics consider a racial slur.

School board President Stephen Allen said Wednesday that deciding to change a name used since the 1940s was difficult but correct. Native American students who account for 6 percent of the high school’s population reported being bullied over the name and feeling shame and embarrassment, Allen said.

“We know that much of the world would consider the term ‘Redmen’ a racial slur and derogatory, even though local citizens do not intend it that way,” Allen said.

The nickname came under scrutiny in 2016 when a video showed a drill team wearing black braided wigs for a Native American-themed dance at the high school in Cedar City, a community of about 30,000 people about 250 miles (401 kilometers) south of Salt Lake City.

The nearby Paiute Indian Tribe was glad the committee studied the issue but didn’t ask for a name change, Allen said. One of the five bands that make up the tribe, the Kanosh Band, advocated for the change.

The national group Native American Guardians Association traveled to Utah to push for keeping the name, which it considers a way to preserve Native American history, co-founder Eunice Davidson said. Other national groups call the names racist and urge changes.

School board member Dale Brinkerhoff spoke against the move, suggesting that outside groups were trying to tell locals they should be offended, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

“If you don’t like our peaches, get the hell out of our tree,” Brinkerhoff said, drawing cheers.

It comes after the Cleveland Indians stopped using a contentious, cartoonish mascot called Chief Wahoo on the MLB team’s caps and jersey sleeves last year. A school district in South Dakota also decided to phase out a Redmen mascot last year.

Nearly two-thirds of some 2,000 Indian references in sports have been eliminated in the last three decades, according to research by the National Congress of American Indians, which considers the names derogatory.

Among the changed names: Savages to Blue Hawks at Dickson State University, Indians to Big Green at Dartmouth College, and Warriors to Golden Eagles at Marquette University.

But nearly 1,000 remain, including several professional sports teams with huge fan bases: the NFL’s Washington Redskins, the MLB’s Atlanta Braves and the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks.

The Utah school board’s decision is a huge victory, said Amanda Blackhorse, a longtime activist against the use of Native images for mascots and logos.

“Anytime that you use a race-based mascot for living people, it makes it a racial slur,” Blackhorse said. “It dehumanizes Native people and promotes stereotypes and allows our identity to be laughed at and mocked.”

Davidson of the North Dakota-based Native American Guardians Association said her ancestors called themselves “Redmen” and “Redskins” and that it was never derogatory. Her group formed in 2014 to advocate for keeping such names.

She noted that the Utes are known because of the University of Utah and the Seminoles because of Florida State University.

“We are the first peoples of this nation. We don’t want people to forget who we are,” Davidson, a member of the Spirit Lake Tribe in North Dakota. “There’s too much at stake to lose from my people if they get rid of all these names and images.”

Blackhorse called the group misguided and said it doesn’t have much support among Native Americans. Davidson said they have 5,000 Native American members and 50,000 total supporters.

Allen said he agreed with much of what Davidson said but still thought a name change was best. A committee will be formed to choose a new team name for next school year.

“I think that there is a way to honor, remember and educate our students and community about our Native American heritage without having anything that is considered disrespectful,” Allen said.

Today’s Top Stories

AP

DOHA, QATAR - NOVEMBER 25: A giant flag of IR Iran on the pitch prior to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2...
ALI ABDUL-HASSAN and ABBY SEWELL Associated Press

US-Iran match reflects a regional rivalry for many Arab fans

The U.S. team’s must-win World Cup match against Iran will be closely watched across the Middle East, where the two nations have been engaged in a cold war for over four decades and where many blame one or both for the region’s woes.
3 days ago
Irene Cara in 'Fame' (Photo courtesy of Mgm/Kobal, Shutterstock)...
MARK KENNEDY, AP Entertainment Writer

‘Fame’ and ‘Flashdance’ singer-actor Irene Cara dies at 63

singer-actress Irene Cara, who starred and sang the title cut from the 1980 hit movie “Fame” and then belted out the era-defining hit “Flashdance ... What a Feeling” from 1983's “Flashdance,” has died. She was 63.
5 days ago
The U.S. Coast Guard ship Bernard C. Webber, leaves the coast guard base, Monday, July 19, 2021, in...
Associated Press

‘Miracle’: Missing cruise ship passenger found OK in water

The U.S. Coast Guard says a passenger who went overboard from a cruise ship in the Gulf of Mexico was rescued on Thanksgiving after likely being in the water for hours.
6 days ago
FILE - A Montana man was sentenced to three years in prison for his role in the Capitol riot. (AP P...
The Associated Press

Montana man gets 3 years in prison for role in Capitol riot

A Montana man will spend three years in federal prison for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S Capitol.
7 days ago
Debbie, left, and Chet Barnett place flowers at a memorial outside of the Chesapeake, Va., Walmart ...
The Associated Press

Walmart shooter left ‘death note,’ bought gun day of killing

According to authorities in Virginia, the Walmart shooter bought his gun just hours prior to killing six employees.
7 days ago
Dry lakebed...
Kira Hoffelmeyer

Lawsuit looms over tiny fish in drought-stricken West

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Conservationists have notified U.S. wildlife officials that they will sue over delayed decisions related to protections for two rare fish species that are threatened by groundwater pumping in the drought-stricken West. The Center for Biological Diversity sent a formal notice of intent to sue the Fish and Wildlife Service last week […]
9 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 game day snacks for the whole family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...
Sorenson

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Cedar High School ditches Native American mascot name