Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

May 5, 2013

What’s in a name?: Calls continue for teams to change American Indian mascot names

GOSHEN — For the past several decades there has been a nationwide push to eliminate Native American-related nicknames and mascots for high school, college and professional sports teams. The latest battle revolves around the Washington (D.C.) Redskins, a storied professional franchise of the National Football League.

Just last month the former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission urged owner Dan Snyder to change the “archaic and racially stereotyped name of the Washington XXXskins football team.” Just last week a Washington D.C. City Councilman did the same.

In Michigan, the state’s Department of Civil Rights has filed a complaint against 35 schools to prohibit the use of Native American nicknames.

So, what does all this mean for communities such as Goshen, where the term “Redskins” has been used for nearly 90 years as the nickname for high school athletic teams?

“I don’t think you’re going to see local politicians get out in front of the issue,” said Goshen Mayor Allan Kauffman, a 1967 graduate of GHS. “If there’s a community effort that causes the (Goshen Community School) corporation to change the name, fine. But it isn’t going to be me.”

The issue has been addressed before by a previous Goshen Community Schools administration, but it was determined by a special committee that the “Redskins” nickname would remain.

Nickname evolves

Newspaper archives show that Goshen High School athletic teams were once called “The Red Menace” in the mid-1920s and often “The Crimson” or “The Crimson and White” before that. According to a 1963 GHS student handbook, the name, “Redskins,” came into use in the late 1920s when Goshen had some of its best athletic teams in school history.

Other nicknames for Goshen High School teams found in Goshen Daily News-Times archives include “Red Ramblers” for track and even the “Palefaces,” for junior varsity teams.

As national pleas for change grow louder and legal action initiated by Native American groups against school districts keep popping up, the Redskin nickname issue is becoming harder for communities tucked away in their own culture to ignore, even if the topic isn’t exactly welcome conversation at Goshen Community Schools.

Coaches who were contacted regarding this article indicated they were directed not to comment on the nickname topic and funneled inquiries to GHS Principal Barry Younghans and Goshen Community Schools Superintendent Diane Woodworth.

“We treat (the name) Redskins with respect,” said GHS Athletic Director Larry Kissinger, “and will deal with any changes that need to be made (if it comes up).”

Kissinger declined further comment on the matter.

Younghans, who is completing his first school year as GHS’s principal, has been with the corporation for 21 years, the past seven as an administrator. He said the nickname issue has been brought up several times that he can remember, usually from an outside group. In recent years, Younghans pointed out, school officials have taken steps to de-emphasize the Redskins nickname. Athletic uniforms, for example, identify the teams as simply “Goshen,” and an Indian head logo was removed from the main gym floor, he added.

That Indian head logo, however, has been framed and now hangs on the gym wall. The high school gymnasium also includes the word “Redskins” painted along the baseline, the phrase, “Redskin Country” painted on the west wall under the scoreboard and a wooden Indian chief statue chained to the wall on the second level behind the west goal.

The Goshen football helmet decals used to mirror those of the NFL’s Washington Redskins logo, but were changed last decade. A large “G” replaced the Indian chief head. Recently the helmet logos were changed to depict a spear.

“We try to be sensitive to concerns,” Younghans said, “while understanding the place the name ‘Redskins’ has in our school’s history.”

Goshen has had its brightest athletic success on the football field, qualifying for four state championship games, winning titles in 1978 and 1988.

Text Only
Local News
  • Fresh shrimp business approved GOSHEN — Finding fresh shrimp in Elkhart County just got a little easier.

    August 21, 2014

  • NWS GN140822 john hertzel (2) John Hertzler relishes role with Goshen Historical Society GOSHEN — Visitors to the Goshen Historical Society’s museum might not know John Hertzler is there, tucked back in an office beyond the rows of historic documents, photographs and artifacts.

    August 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • Lifelong Learning fall courses announced GOSHEN — The Lifelong Learning Institute of Elkhart County is offering fall courses. These short courses are designed to provide stimulating and affordable classes in many fields for active seniors. There are no tests or grades, and no previous studies or degrees are required.

    August 21, 2014

  • South Ninth Street area under boil water order South Ninth Street, between East Jackson and Franklin streets in Goshen, is under a boil water order from noon until further notice.

    August 21, 2014

  • GN140821 Pike Street Project 2 INDOT meeting held to discuss Pike Street project GOSHEN — Major changes may be on the way for a small section of Pike Street in downtown Goshen.

    August 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0821 goshen college challenge Locals embrace ice bucket challenge It’s a challenge that has united participants with the shared sensation of an icy burst of water, sopping wet clothing and video evidence — all in the name of philanthropy.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140821 nisly complaint Complaint filed against state rep candidate Accusations of wrongdoing, in the form of a complaint to the Indiana Election Commission, have been levied against District 22 representative Republican nominee Curt Nisly.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140820 dometic groundbreaking Dometic breaks ground on significant expansion in Goshen GOSHEN — As Dometic officials gathered for a groundbreaking ceremony for the $7 million expansion of their Goshen distribution center Wednesday, the work was already underway in the background. “It’s happening right now,” said Dave Schutz, vice presi

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140821 Ignition art Plenty of good music on horizon at Ignition Several upcoming shows at Ignition Garage in Goshen were announced this week.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • City plan nearing a final draft GOSHEN — The city’s new comprehensive plan is nearing completion, and a near-final draft has now been released for public review. Goshen Plan Commission members released the draft of the city’s newly penned comprehensive plan, titled “Uncommonly Grea

    August 19, 2014

Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Poll

Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

I think it’s a good idea to feed all the students free of charge
I think those who can afford it should pay for their school meals
I think all students should be required to pay for their school meals
     View Results
AP Video
Japan Landslide Rescuers Struggle in Heavy Rain Raw: Severe Floods, Fire Wrecks Indiana Homes Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future Raw: Russian Aid Convoy Arrives in Ukraine Hamm Talks Emmy Chances Okla. Policeman Accused of Sex Assaults on Duty Raw: Egypt Bus Crash Kills at Least 33 Two Bodies Found in Adjacent Yards Dominican Republic Bans Miley Cyrus Concert Raw: Israeli Air Strike in Gaza Raw: Rescue Efforts Suspended at Japan Landslide Raw: Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in Malaysia Raw: Smaller Marches in Ferguson Attorney: Utah Eatery Had Other Chemical Burn Farm Resurgence Grows With Younger Crowd Microbrewery Chooses Special Can for Its Beer Ky. Firefighters Hurt in Ice Bucket Challenge Federal Investigation Will Look at Use of Force Community Deals With Michael Brown Aftermath US: We Do Not Pay Ransom to Terrorists