Red Mesa : Navajo High School embraces Redskin moniker

A small high school in northeastern Arizona has reportedly joined the fight to keep the Redskins nickname, both for itself and the Washington, D.C. National Football League franchise.

The Washington Post reported Red Mesa High School, located in the Navajo Nation near Four Corners, wants to keep the nickname, despite widespread criticism it is racist.

According to the article “… 88 percent of students and 71 percent of faculty members surveyed by the school this month favored keeping the Redskins name and mascot. On another question, 60 percent of students disagreed that Redskins is a slur, 7 percent said the word is offensive and one-third said they weren’t sure.”

There are a few in the school who do object to the Redskins name, so the article quotes a teacher who’s against it.

The Navajo is a the nation’s largest Indian tribe, so it’s not surprising you’d find some dissent. Another Navajo who’s against it is Amanda Blackhorse, not associated with the Red Mesa school.

This month, the Washington Redskins offered the school’s faculty and students both tickets and transportation to a game in Arizona between the NFL Redskins and the Arizona Cardinals. Approximately 150 students and faculty took them up on the offer.

They enjoyed the game, but also encountered the anti-Redskins mascot name protesters, among them Amanda Blackhorse. Some of the Red Mesa students “were taunted by protesters for wearing free Washington Redskins hats and T-shirts.” A Red Mesa football player reports being called a “sellout”.

The Red Mesa school is not the only school in the country using the Redskins name. Far from it:

There were 62 high schools in 22 states using the Redskins moniker last year, according to a project published by the University of Maryland’s Capital News Service. In addition to Red Mesa, two others are majority Native American: Wellpinit High School in Washington state and Kingston High School in Oklahoma.