Despite strong opposition from local residents, an Washington school board voted unanimously to drop a high school’s “Redskins” name and mascot after nearly 90 years.
Dozens of students and community leaders crowded into Port Townsend High School’s auditorium late Monday and told the Port Townsend School Board they wanted to keep the mascot. Those comments angered Frank Boushie, a Native American who moved to Washington state three decades ago, Q13Fox.com reports.
“It was so racist in there, it was unbelievable,” he said. “They just don’t get it.”
Dan Lockhart, a 1973 graduate, said he never thought there was a problem with the team name, despite some who felt it was racially insensitive toward Native Americans.
“It was never an issue,” he said. “It didn’t become an issue until about 20 years ago.”
But Native American Terri McQuillen, also a graduate, said she never took offense.
“I didn’t, because I was raised to understand my responsibility is to take my name and make it proud,” she said.
Superintendent David Engle, who served on a committee that studied the mascot issue for nearly a year, understands that some people see him as an outsider.
“What I would say is a maritime community like ours, we always have people moving in and out,” he said. “It’s part of the richness of the community. We have to make space in our community for lots of different views.”
Engle said the community will be part of the process to choose a new name and mascot. The school board will then retire the “Redskins” mascot with dignity over the next year, he said.