Local Native American says using Redskins for sports names is 'absurd'

Feb 19, 2015

A banner was raised over Central Avenue in the village of Lancaster that supports keeping the school district sports name Redskins. The Lancaster School District is considering changing team nickname and mascot. WBFO's Focus on Education reporter Eileen Buckley says many find the the nickname to be offensive to Native Americans. 

John Kane, host of Let's Talk Native.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley


"So you've got a bunch of white people essentially playing Indians. They want to put on war paint  and put turkey feathers in their hair," said Kane.

John Kane is a local native American. He's also the radio host of Let's Talk Native. As the Lancaster district explores this topic, Kane was asked to be a part of a committee gathering and creating a report to be issued to the school board.  A big meeting to discuss the issue will be held March 3rd.

"This is just absurd," stated Kane. "They've misappropriated elements of our culture. The word 'Redskin', no matter how you break it down -- we are being identified by the hue of our skin," said Kane.
 
Kane points to 2001 when the United States Commission on Civil Rights had called for an end to the use of Native American images and team names by non-native schools.  But it hasn't been enforced and many don't follow the recommendation.  

"It has no enforcement or remedy. It just makes a statement," said Kane.

Kane said continuing to allow the name 'Redskin' in a school with mainly white students only supports  a stereotype and instills prejudice.