Part 2 of a 2-part series
GOSHEN — While some area schools with Native American-related nicknames have continued along with those nicknames, one Goshen school decided to change its nickname more than 20 years ago.
It was in October 1991 when Bethany Christian senior Isaac Wengerd wrote an article for the school newspaper, The Reflector, raising the possibility of changing the school’s nickname — which at the time was the Braves.
From there, things moved quickly.
According to a Bethany Christian history book commemorating the school’s 50th anniversary, the Bethany school board set up a committee to study the issue in January 1992, and a report was made to the board in May of that year.
At the beginning of the 1992-93 school year, school officials had a chapel presentation, and later three new mascot proposals were brought forward: the Blazers/Trailblazers; the Bruins; and the Royals.
A student body vote picked “Bruins.”
Bethany Christian communications coordinator Kevin Miller joined the school about a year after the change was made and said the transition seemed to come seamlessly.
“It’s worked out well over the years,” Miller said. “The idea came up, it was embraced, the community got behind it, and it happened.”
Change becomes common
A gradual shift from Native American-related nicknames has been taking place over the past four decades. Nickname changes have become pretty common, even on a national level.
The University of Miami (Ohio), officially adopted the Redskins nickname back in the early 1930s after a student several years prior referred to one of the university’s teams as “the Big Red-Skinned Warriors.” Under some pressure, university officials changed the school’s nickname to the RedHawks in 1997.
Three years earlier, Marquette University in Milwaukee changed its nickname from the Warriors to the Golden Eagles. Marquette won an NCAA national men’s basketball championship in 1977 as the Warriors.
The Eastern Washington Savages became the Eagles in 1973. Indiana University of Pennsylvania changed from the Indians to the Crimson Hawks in 2007. Teams from St. John’s University in New York City were known as the Redmen until becoming the Red Storm in 1995.
The NCAA, which governs collegiate athletics, adopted a policy in 2005 that bans the use of Native American mascots by sports teams during tournaments. The policy did make an exception for teams that have the consent of local Native American tribes.
Still, it’s “Redskins,” that seems to draw the most ire.
According to a article published last month by the Capital News Service, there are 62 different schools in 22 states that currently use the Redskin nickname. Four of those — Goshen, Knox, Fort Wayne North Side and Indianapolis Emmerich Manual — are in Indiana.
The CNS report also stated that 28 high schools in 18 states have dropped the Redskins mascot throughout the past 25 years.
One longtime Bethany coach/teacher, said it came down to a simple matter of cultural sensitivity.
Dan Bodiker has worked at Bethany for more than 50 years in a variety of roles. These days, he’s an assistant basketball coach and also handles driver education for the school.
Bodiker remembers well the push to change the school’s nickname — especially how easily and quickly the Bethany community coalesced around the idea after it came forward.
“It wasn’t offensive to me,” Bodiker said.
But a visit to Goshen College by a Bureau of Indian Affairs official got folks thinking, Bodiker said.
The name “Braves,” that official said, wasn’t considered as offensive as some other nicknames; ”Redskins” being one that was mentioned.
But, the official added, the name “Braves” could still be offensive to some.
In the end, Bodiker said, that was the idea that carried the day.
“If it’s offensive to someone,” Bodiker said, “then why not change it?”
Part 2 of a 2-part series
- Local News
- Tree farms offer many varieties of Christmas trees "Oh, Christmas tree! Oh, Christmas tree!" This famous song is always the first thing that comes to my mind about this time of year with Christmas quickly approaching. Some trees have been up for weeks already and then some families prefer to "wait" u
- Nappanee soup kitchen to open NAPPANEE -- A collaborative effort between Faith Mission of Elkhart, Chicago/Michiana Five for the Homeless of Nappanee and Nappanee Church of the Brethren is bringing a new soup kitchen to Nappanee. John Shafer, founder of Chicago/Michiana Five for
Illustrator to sign copies of new book today, Saturday
GOSHEN -- Illustrator Karen Gruntman will be signing copies of her new book, "Grandma's Shoes," at Shutterhugs from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. today during First Fridays and from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Only about 120 books will be sold. If the books don'
- Ivy Tech program gets adults to think about continuing education ELKHART — The Ivy Tech Community College Potentials Unlimited Learning Lab (PULL) has been in Elkhart for 12 years.
- Trial set for son in home invasion GOSHEN — One of two men accused of a violent home invasion south of New Paris appeared in Elkhart Circuit Court Thursday.
- Mayors oppose biz tax repeal with shortfall INDIANAPOLIS — Mayors from across Indiana are gearing up for a fight to protect a state business tax that produces nearly $1 billion in annual revenue for local governments, libraries and schools.
- Hotel employee reports gift cards stolen A hotel employee reported gift cards for employees were recently stolen. An employee at Courtyard, 2400 College Ave., Goshen, told Goshen police Wednesday that someone stole $390 worth of Walmart gift cards that had been purchased for Courtyard emplo
INDOT preparing for hazardous driving conditions
A winter storm warning forecasting freezing rain, sleet, ice and snow means difficult driving conditions are likely for motorists in southern and central Indiana, as well as counties in northeastern Indiana, beginning in the overnight hours tonight.
- RV industry veterans go to work on new venture, business model LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A year ago Ron and Bill Fenech and Don Clark had a poster with a drawing of recreational vehicles on it. That was the extent of their new RV company. On Tuesday, a year later, the partners were busy hosting dealers at their display of RVs that looked very similar to that drawing on the poster.
- Motorhome business once again flourishing LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The iconic American vacation machine, the motorhome, is experiencing an uptick in popularity.
- More Local News Headlines