NC schools encouraged to remove Indian mascots

Manteo, North Carolina (AP) 9-08

Many schools still have not changed their team nicknames years after the issue of Indian mascots in North Carolina was raised, but a former state education board member is campaigning against them.

Former state Board of Education member Eddie Davis has been speaking across the state on the issue and last week encouraged Manteo schools to stop using Indian-style mascots and the “Redskins” team name, the Virginian-Pilot reported Sept. 19.

“‘Redskins’ is in same league as the ‘n-word,”’ Davis told the newspaper. “It’s ironic that Manteo, the place where the English settlers first met the Indians, that they would be one of the two schools in North Carolina that use the Redskins mascot.”

“You would think that this would be a model for the respect that should be due Indians, particularly considering the way Indians have been treated throughout our history.”

In 2002, the state education board asked districts to review their policies toward Indian mascots, but let schools decide whether to keep them.

Seventy-three of the state’s 117 school districts used Indian mascots in 2000; now 42 do.


Dare County has worked to diminish any potentially offensive characterization by scaling down use of Indian-head images in logos at the schools, said Manteo Middle School’s principal Terry McGinness.

“We have de-emphasized anything that may be pejorative of any group,” McGinness said. “We’re just trying to be proactive in that regard and sensitive to our community here and to the broader community.”

McGinness said an informal survey in December 2006 found more than 90 percent of the community supported keeping the names.

But Monroe Gilmour, coordinator of the North Carolina Mascot Education & Action Group in Asheville, said the concern should be to teach children to respect other cultures in a diverse world. He said the nicknames go back to days when it was common to disparage Indians.

“It’s our dominant white culture’s responsibility to clean up our mess,” said Gilmour.

He said “redskins” is the most offensive Indian mascot name. The term originated centuries ago when trappers were paid a bounty for Indian scalps - along with bearskin and deerskin.