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
  • GN140420 ysk kalil 01.jpg You Should Know: Anthony Kalil GOSHEN -- Goshen native Anthony Kalil has been awarded a Richard Trucker Career Grant, which includes a $10,000 cash prize. He currently lives in New York. The grant is awarded to three of America's top young opera singers who are selected after a by

    April 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • GN140420 The 39 Steps Taking 'Steps' in Bristol BRISTOL -- The Elkhart Civic Theatre crew is set to present the classic Alfred Hitchcock mystery "The 39 Steps" at The Bristol Opera House. Performances of "The 39 Steps" are planned for two weekends -- this coming Friday and Saturday and May 2 and 3

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140420 Kokomo Tornado 03 Recent decisions by FEMA have frustrated state and local leaders KOKOMO, Ind. -- Pamela Jackson thought she was lucky to escape harm as a tornado bore down on her neighborhood last November. She huddled in a bathroom with her two disabled sons, critically ill husband and six other family members as the twister ble

    April 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • GN140418 ghs high mileage team 12.jpg Goshen High School Super Mileage team to compete in national competition for third straight year GOSHEN -- The Goshen High School Super Mileage team is heading to Houston this week to compete in the Shell Eco Marathon for the third consecutive year. The team, led by engineering technology teacher J.J. Johnson, is taking two cars to the competiti

    April 20, 2014 5 Photos

  • BIZ GN0420 tech talk image Mistakes businesses make with their home page Mistakes businesses make with their home page

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140420 boston marathon 04.jpg Undeterred by last year's bombing, several locals return for Monday's Boston Marathon GOSHEN "Boston Strong" is the moniker that emerged from Boston a year ago, describing the way people dealt with the tragic events that marred the 117th annual running of the Boston Marathon. Three spectators were killed and 264 more people injured w

    April 19, 2014 5 Photos

  • GN140419 good friday 04 Local Christians reflect in advance of Easter Sunday GOSHEN - Members of the community gathered at First Presbyterian Church of Goshen to observe Good Friday with a Stations of the Cross tour.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • Briefly Elkhart Store opens at mall Creative Life Memories is now open at Concord Mall. The store is owned by Jose Elizalde, a native of Chicago, Goshen College graduate and resident of Elkhart County. CLM specializes in engraving and personalizing small gif

    April 19, 2014

  • GN140419 cyclists return 05 Trio of GC alums return from Pan-American trek GOSHEN — The dream for a pan-American cycling adventure was born for Levi Smucker, Abe Stucky, and Michael Miller on the couches in a dormitory room at Goshen College in late 2010,

    April 18, 2014 5 Photos

  • GN140419 children's book experience 'Children's Book Experience' Saturday at Better World Books

    A “Children’s Book Experience” for young people in elementary and middle school is set from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday at Better World Books in downtown Goshen.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

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

There has been discussion at West Goshen Elementary School to require mandatory student uniforms in the future. How do you feel about the prospect of mandatory student uniforms in a public school environment?

I think it’s an excellent idea that is way overdue
I think it’s a bad idea and would be restrictive for students and parents.
     View Results
AP Video
Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest