GOSHEN — The NFL team from Washington D.C. released a statement Monday saying they will be retiring its ‘Redskins’ nickname after 87 years of use. The team did not announce a new nickname for the team, but is expected to decide on one before the upcoming 2020 NFL season.
Locally, Goshen High School saw the same name change five years ago, when the school board voted in favor of retiring the ‘Redskins’ nickname. The school would eventually change the nickname to ‘RedHawks.’ The name change was a hot-button issue among the GHS community, with many people either voicing approval or displeasure in the name change.
Here’s a look back at the timeline of events that led to the name change at Goshen.
May 5, 2013: Sustained conversations begin about potentially changing the GHS nickname. There had been some discussions about it in the past, but a change had never been officially discussed by Goshen Community Schools.
Aug. 2, 2013: Then-Goshen school board president Jane Troup says the school board will not be discussing a potential nickname change. “We are the Goshen Redskins and we remain the Redskins,” Troup said. The topic is not brought up community-wide in 2013 or 2014.
June 8, 2015: Goshen residents Dave Ostergren and Marilyn Torres address Goshen Community Schools board members to share concerns about the negative effects the term ‘Redskins’ might have on students. In the days and weeks that followed, many Goshen alumni expressed views on both sides of the discussion via social media.
June 22, 2015: More than 50 people show up to the school board meeting, with 14 talking either for or against keeping the ‘Redskins’ nickname.
July 13, 2015: More discussion about changing the nickname continues at the school board meetings. School board president Cathie Cripe said she would “be surprised” if a vote on the name change doesn’t happen at the next school board meeting.
July 27, 2015: By a 5-2 decision, the Goshen school board approves retiring the ‘Redskins’ nickname, effective Jan. 1, 2016. A new nickname had not been decided at that time. Hundreds of people attended the board meeting, voicing their opinions as to why or why not the nickname should be kept.
July 29, 2015: A social media campaign begins urging the school board to keep the ‘Redskins’ nickname. Various petitions, Facebook pages and GoFundMe accounts are created to restore the ‘Redskin’ nickname. None would prove to be successful.
Nov. 16, 2015: The Goshen school board officially approves of the new nickname, ‘RedHawks,’ by a 5-0 vote. The nickname received 53.3 percent of the fan vote, winning in a landslide. The other three nickname finalists were Gladiators, Spartans and Wolfpack.
Jan. 1, 2016: The ‘Redskins’ officially become the ‘RedHawks.’ The cost to make the name change is estimated around $37,000.