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Could Washington Redskins Name Controversy Spill over to Kamiakin H.S. in Kennewick? Not Likely

Washington Redskins
(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

You may have heard President Obama’s recent remarks, and the commentary of Bob Costas on NBC Sports over the name of the Washington D.C. NFL franchise.

Recently the Oneida Indian Tribe announced a “Change the Name” Campaign, seeking to force the NFL team to drop it’s 80-plus year old mascot and namesake, Redskins.

The tribe began held a symposium in D.C., and placed radio ads that aired in cities where the team was playing this season.  According to tribe officials,  they view it as a slur.  President Obama then stirred the pot by saying if he were the owner, he would think about changing the name because it offended people.   The team fired back through their attorney,  saying a poll among Native Americans showed 9 out of ten were not offended.  They also said playing the team’s anthem, “Hail to the Redskins,” is considered an honor.  Team officials say they have been very careful about respecting Native American culture in terms of the team’s name.

A member of the Native American Congressional Caucus says Redskins was singled out because while some Indian names can be uplifting and unifying,  others are not.  They say the term ‘Redskins’ was once considered a racial slur.

Some wonder if other schools will be targeted, as some have been in the past.  Florida State, the Seminoles,  the Chicago Blackhawks NHL team, and others have been challenged in the past, but nothing ever came of them.  Such names, including the Atlanta Braves, usually go far less challenged.

Kamiakin High School in Kennewick is unlikely to  face such a challenge, as according to some sources, the school sought permission from the Yakama Nation to use Chief Kamiakin’s name for the school when it was built, although we could not confirm that story.   The school does have a page on it’s website dedicated to the Indian leader, who was considered a strong and fair leader of his people.

While there have been occasional challenges over Native American named sports teams,  most schools who carry them treat the title with respect, much like KaHS.

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