Nickname controversies seldom brew in Georgia, where 1 in 12 high schools have Native American mascots

A school board in Washington state voted this week to retire the nickname Redskins from one of its high schools because it was viewed as racist and insensitive.

Port Townsend High School had been the Redskins for 88 years but now will choose a new nickname later this year.

The debate began when Andrew Sheldon of Port Townsend wrote a letter to the school board in 2012 asking for a change. He said he was ‘’offended, embarrassed and ashamed by our school mascot,’’ according to the Peninsula Daily News.

Controversies such as these seldom brew in Georgia, which has more high school teams that are nicknamed Indians (16) than any other Southern state. (Florida has nine, North Carolina only one, for example).

GHSA-member schools nicknamed Indians are Albany, Armuchee, Charlton County, Chattooga, Cross Keys, Dodge County, East Coweta, Irwin County, Lumpkin County, McEachern, Murray County, Seminole County, Stephens County, Tallulah Falls, Towns County and Vidalia.

The only nicknames that are more common in Georgia are Bulldogs (28), Tigers (23), Eagles (22) and  Panthers (19).

Two Georgia schools – Bryan County and Social Circle – are nicknamed the Redskins. There also are 14 Georgia schools nicknamed the Warriors, and most have Native American mascots or logos. Six others are named Chiefs, Cherokees or Seminoles.

That means that roughly 1 in 12 Georgia high schools have Native American nicknames.

In March, a bill went to Congress that would ban ‘’Redskin’’ as a trademark (part of the Trademark Act of 1946). Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia, was among the sponsors. Lewis, a Civil Rights activist, has not taken up the cause in his home state.

Indians is not a popular name for new Georgia schools. Each of the 16 Georgia schools named Indians date back more than 40 years. The last Georgia school to adopt a Native American nickname was Westside of Macon (the Seminoles) in 1997.

The last time that a nickname controversy came up in Georgia was 2010, and it had nothing to do with Native Americans. A pastor in Houston County objected to Warner Robins’ nickname, the Demons. He was arrested for picketing at the school.

In 2006, West Georgia University changed its nickname to Wolves from Braves. There isn’t an example of a Georgia high school making a similar name change.

The change in Port Townsend was not embraced by all.

“I’m a Port Townsend graduate from the Class of 1962, and I am damn proud to be a Redskin,” Harold Roger told the Peninsula News. ‘’How many of you [the board] were born and raised here? None. If you don’t like it here, you should move out of Port Townsend.”

42 comments Add your comment

nourstuff

June 26th, 2013
10:06 am

Andrew Sheldon-I wonder which PNW tribe he’s from?

Lacrosse Coach

June 26th, 2013
10:22 am

I agree with the 1962 graduate. “If you don’t like it here, you should move”.

poof!!!

June 26th, 2013
10:23 am

Georgia high schools with these names It is time to make that change.

PBJ

June 26th, 2013
11:59 am

Your school’s name for 88 years, and because one a-hole jerk writes a letter, you might want to change, DON’T. I am half Cherokee Indian and in no way what so ever does these names hurt my feelings, in fact, it is kind of an honor for schools to still have the names, so as far as I’m concerned, keep them as long as you wish !!

Big Irish Mike

June 26th, 2013
3:30 pm

As a former police officer of Irish-Catholic descent in metro Atlanta I was often deeply offended when I was told to go get the “Paddy Wagon”. I went and got the “Paddy Wagon” because it was easier to do than what my supervisor suggested which was physically impossible.
I am also offended by the term “Fighting Irish” that Notre Dame uses especially after Bama kicked their butt they didn’t look very fightin’ to me.

BRW

June 26th, 2013
4:35 pm

Todd, You missed Stephens County on the list of proud Indians!

l longhorn nation

June 26th, 2013
5:25 pm

I think if iwere native i be proud of the meaning warrior and how we dont forget because of schools named after them of there pain but to do away with the mascots is a way of erasing the native heratige and making it allright to forget

Silly people

June 26th, 2013
10:02 pm

The names are not used in a harmful or hurtful manner. People need to let it go.

The simple fact is many Native American tribes have come out stating their complete lack of caring about this. They don’t even cosider it an issue. The ones that have had problems are the schools where they portray the mascot with a harmful stereo-type openly.

If the names are used in a respectful manner, such as the honorable tradition of sports on an open field of battle, then I think very few Native Americans would care. In fact, many have stated the term ‘Native American’ is more upsetting to them. Point blank, they ARE Americans, and most of the rest of us should be called ‘Tranplanted or Migratory Americans’.

5150 UOAD

June 26th, 2013
10:13 pm

Why not the Chatham County High Spear Chuckers?
I like the North Fulton High Porch Monkeys.
The Benjamin E Mays High High Yellows.

5150 UOAD

June 26th, 2013
10:20 pm

The Marietta High Mammie’s sounds great.
The Milton High Mulatos
The Zebulon High Zulus

old school

June 26th, 2013
10:21 pm

Slow day in sports. Only an issue if the liberal media is bored, and needs to create news.

5150 UOAD

June 26th, 2013
10:25 pm

The Northside High Nazi
the Chamblee High Chinks
The Smryna Slant Eyes
The East Cobb Eunuchs

All of these are acceptable right?

EmoryGrad

June 26th, 2013
10:26 pm

If we’re going to change all the school and professional teams, we need to get rid of Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill. There are plenty of Native Americans who refuse to use $20s because of his actions towards Native Americans. If Native Americans are seriously offended by a name I am all for changing it. If it’s just some random person with no real reason, I’m definitely against it.

5150 UOAD

June 26th, 2013
10:43 pm

The WASHINGTON DC teams names are the worst and have been.
REDSKINS? football
After what we/ the GOVERNMENT did to the native Americans and they use that name?
BULLETS? basketball
All the WARS/ Police Actions the Government has started, All the money spent making Weapons of Mass Destruction and they use BULLETS as a name?
WIZARDS? Basketball
I mean the Politicians are Wizards for sure the way they make our tax money vanish and we get nothing in return.
NATIONALS? baseball
Washington has not worked to make us a NATION in the last 60 years.

tneck

June 26th, 2013
10:57 pm

This is stupid. What a waste of time.

FarTrain

June 26th, 2013
10:58 pm

Wouldn’t be surprised now days but what some of the gay crowd are offended by the Colquitt Co. team name. For those that might have been in Timbuktu for awhile, it’s the Packers.

Roy Wood

June 26th, 2013
11:13 pm

Thats as bad as people objecting to ID card to vote but can come up with one to draw welfare.

dixieman

June 26th, 2013
11:19 pm

What’s the matter, Todd? Slow night in the news room, or did the libs running things decide to stir up a little controversy? What’s next, changing the Braves’ nickname? You clowns really need to get a life: not everything that happens in other parts of the country is applicable to Georgia!

woofman56

June 26th, 2013
11:41 pm

Too many people have too much spare time. Get a job and off the real Americans backs! I’ve never hurt an Indian, owned a slave, or any of the other stupid things a few folks try to stir up about. Get rid of the excuses and make a real life for yourselves!

Richard

June 27th, 2013
12:07 am

So is any word describing a person or people offensive if it’s related to sports? I remember FSU being supported by the Seminole tribe with respect to their name. What about the Patriots? Is that offensive to patriots? Giants? Is that offensive to taller than average people? Marlins? Is that offensive to fish?

Just because a team is named after something or someone doesn’t make if offensive.

Creek Indian

June 27th, 2013
1:46 am

I am a member of the Creek Indian nation. Use a little common sense for a change. When a school names their school “Indians” they are obviously proud of the name….. not like some of you “minorities” that disgustingly use the “N” word and think it’s cool. Mind your own business and quit telling us that we should be insulted by someone naming their team after us. Fight your own battles – stay out of ours!

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June 27th, 2013
3:32 am

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ColonelJack

June 27th, 2013
4:24 am

Like Creek Indian, I too am a Native American (an Apache). Guess what? I am NOT offended by these team nicknames.

Don’t we have more important issues to worry about?

5150 UOAD…what Nation do YOU belong to?

Wild Eagle, Chief of the Hekawi Nation

June 27th, 2013
4:43 am

White man pay me big wampum, we smoke peace pipe, I go back to reservation.

Paiute Pete

June 27th, 2013
5:10 am

As the Lone Ranger and Tonto were riding along towards the north, they spotted a war party of 50 Apaches coming at them. They turned south and spotted a war party of 100 braves coming at them. Then, they turned east and spotted a war party of 150 braves coming at them. Finally, they turned west and spotted a war party of 200 braves coming at them.

The Lone Ranger turned to his friend and said, “Well, Tonto, this is the end, there’s not much we can do.”

Tonto looked back at the Lone Ranger, and replied, “What you mean WE, white man?”

pioneer

June 27th, 2013
7:54 am

Logic has no place in today’s society. Get rid of “Indians” because you “feel” it is “insensitive” even if you know no American Indians and can’t spell Cherokee. Yet names of slaveholders such as Washington and Jefferson continue to mark public buildings. Don’t fear, PCers. The Supreme Court will no doubt help you out even if the Nine continue going to Washington Redskins games (they get a pass!)

WOW

June 27th, 2013
8:58 am

Not bothered by name, honored…. Go Braves

PBJ

June 27th, 2013
10:32 am

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Jefferson

June 27th, 2013
12:15 pm

Cherokee NC HS mascot is the “Braves”.

P!ssed

June 27th, 2013
11:51 pm

Next thing you know they’ll be picketing the Trojan, Viking, Knight, etc as insensitive to our ancestors. People who don’t like it need to move their rearends on. This place isn’t free anymore and I’m ashamed to be from this craphole country!

OleBallCoach

June 30th, 2013
8:18 pm

The funny thing is there aren’t any Native Americans fighting over the mascot names. Politicians need to fine something constructive to do

BullDawg Rick

July 1st, 2013
9:21 am

I wonder how many of the DC politicos that are wanting the Skins name changed have gone to see the Redskins play – for free, of course??

I’ll bet they were not embarassed or ‘hurt’ taking the freebee…. They are so used to taking & b!tCh!ng about stuff…

mgdawg

July 1st, 2013
9:37 pm

People are becoming to whiney and soft, and everybody is trying to be too politically correct. I dare you to go and talk to some of the coaches at these school with native American nicknames. They teach the kids about what that name means and what it stands for. Of course, those “offended” are too shortsighted to do their research.

ygtbsm

July 1st, 2013
10:27 pm

5150…are you serious? You would equate Chiefs, Braves or Warriors to Mammies, Chinks or Porch Monkeys??? I have to believe you are egging on just to start a debate. You couldn’t possibly be that ignorant.
I don’t think whites, blacks, yellows or browns should decide whether or not Native Americans are or should be offended by these nicknames. Let them decide for themselves, and abide by their decision.

Calhouner

July 1st, 2013
11:02 pm

Much ado about nothn’!!

Matt the Brave

July 1st, 2013
11:18 pm

First of all, I do think that Redskins is a pretty racist term. It’s on the level for me of the N word, amongst others. However, to throw out Native American names completely still burns me up. I went to West Georgia when they were still the Braves. Part of the reason they were named thus was that on the front campus, there was evidence that there had been Native American peoples who had lived there. Additionally, there had been evidence that the Little Tallapoosa River at the West Georgia Campus had been a somewhat major point for different Native people groups. Dr. Sethna, I feel, made it a point to reject the Braves name because he personally felt it was offensive (even though the majority of the staff stated that they supported the name), and pushed for the change to Wolves.

Something that is little known now is that the Cherokee North Carolina Band had offered to give permission for West Georgia to continue to use the Braves nickname, but Dr. Sethna stated that the programs needed to continue in that name would be too expensive (which is laughable considering the major building programs instituted under his presidency, most of which were done through private donation – why could this not have been done for Native American studies, scholarships, and faculty?)

Finally, I’ll say this: schools that Native American nicknames, such as the one I grew up in at Oconee County (Warriors), should take the opportunity to teach about Native peoples in Georgia. This will instill pride in the mascot, and provide a teachable moment to students.

Old Brave

July 2nd, 2013
12:17 am

West Georgia changed their name due to having a real hindu “Indian” as a president who had zero knowledge or desire to learn about sports and only wanted to continue his personal crusade for greater diversity(when he was not self promoting himself for bigger jobs) and thus was more concerned about being politically correct. Had no interest in what the campus, faculty or alums wanted. His last day on the job was this past Sunday. Excellent news.

Techfan

July 2nd, 2013
4:10 am

Seminoles, Braves, Chiefs, and names of that type I don’t see as racist since they’re not an insult. Having a white guy dressed up and stabbing a spear at midfield and the tomahawk is a different story. On the other hand, I can definitely see why Native Americans would take offense at the name Redskins. It would be akin to calling the Fighting Irish the Mics or the Sids. Maybe since it’s Georgia, it would be more fitting to change all of the nicknames to the “Peckerwoods”.

Moist Dawg

July 2nd, 2013
4:24 am

this article sickens me. So the story is that there is no controversy in Georgia over this? thats because Georgia isnt a bunch of sissies like half the rest of the nation.
i would be more offended if i was a yellowjacket being represnted by tech.

[...] In Georgia, arguably racist high school nicknames cause little dissent (AJC) [...]

JM

July 2nd, 2013
12:44 pm

missed the Gordon Central Warriors

graphite

July 2nd, 2013
5:10 pm

Why aren’t there any African tribal names used?