Local News

Board votes to drop high school’s ‘Redskins’ name after 90 years

PORT TOWNSEND — Despite strong opposition from some community members, the Port Townsend School Board voted unanimously Monday night to drop the high school’s ‘Redskins’ name and mascot after nearly 90 years.

photoDan Lockhart, a 1973 graduate, never thought there was a problem with the Port Townsend High School’s team name, despite some who felt it was racially insensitive.

“It was never an issue,” he said. “It didn’t become an issue until about 20 years ago.”

That’s when some people started saying ‘Redskin’ was a racist term for Native Americans. But Native American Terri McQuillen, also a graduate, said she never took offense.

“I didn’t, because I was raised to understand my responsibility is to take my name and make it proud,” she said.

Dozens of students and community members crowded into the Port Townsend High School auditorium and told the school board they wanted to keep their mascot. Their comments angered Frank Boushie, a Native American who moved to Washington 30 years ago.

“It was so racist in there, it was unbelievable,” he said. “They just don’t get it.”

Boushie shared his opinion with a committee who has been studying the mascot issue for close to a year. Superintendent David Engle, who served on the committee, understands that some people see him as an outsider.

“What I would say is a maritime community like ours, we always have people moving in and out,” he said. “It’s part of the richness of the community. We have to make space in our community for lots of different views.”

The superintendent says the community will be part of the process to choose a new name and mascot. The school board will then retire the “Redskins” mascot with dignity over the next year.


30 Comments to “Board votes to drop high school’s ‘Redskins’ name after 90 years”

    <?> said:
    June 24, 2013 at 11:38 PM

    Call them the 'Chickenskins' with a picture of a dog's tail between it's legs on the helmet to commemorate the school board.

    NAVYTOWN said:
    June 24, 2013 at 11:59 PM

    I think the new team name should be The Orcas. Hopefully that won't offend anyone.

    Donny said:
    June 25, 2013 at 3:44 AM

    Rednecks might work for the idiots of that community.

      gfy2734 said:
      June 25, 2013 at 1:37 PM

      Rednecks would not have dropped the name.

    Mary Crosbie said:
    June 25, 2013 at 4:00 AM

    Mr. Engel said that there should be room for different opinions, but apparently there’s not. The only opinions that matter any more are those of the liberal side because obviously conservatives are too stupid to have any valid opinions. I don’t know why they even bother with the pretense of giving everyone a say.

      Sarah said:
      June 25, 2013 at 6:48 AM

      We'll pray that you get smarter.

    Bob said:
    June 25, 2013 at 5:08 AM

    If you don't like it give them the boot. That's what elections are for. This kind of nonsense is not going to stop until voters decide they want it to. I live in NJ it's no different here, you get what you vote for.

    Johnny B said:
    June 25, 2013 at 5:19 AM

    What a bunch of cowards.

    Dan C. said:
    June 25, 2013 at 6:08 AM

    I would suggest the "Port Townsend High School" and no mascot. Navytown, actually the Orca is sacred to Native Americans so that might not work. It is only in the last 20-25 years that this issue has come up. Why is that? I hear we need to be sensitive to others. I agree but this is not the forum. IT IS A MASCOT. The sign looks awsome and I would be proud of it. I am Native American and I went to a school that has the name of Warriors back in 1969-1972. I was proud of it and they too are bowing to the left agenda. This should not be an issue. There are much bigger issues to fight about. As for the community to get involved with the naming of a new mascot, forget it. That will just make it worse. You might as well call yourselves The "Port Townsend Bannana Slugs". That probably would not offend anybody.

      Whitey said:
      June 25, 2013 at 6:46 AM

      But Warriors is different than a racial slur.

        Dan C. said:
        June 25, 2013 at 4:32 PM

        Yes that is true but it is still creating the same problems. It is interesting how in the past this was not an issue of disparagement but of Native Pride. Oh well.

    joe said:
    June 25, 2013 at 6:35 AM

    The Indians should be insluted for being made to look like cowards rather then brave wariors with a history of pride, but now they will be forgotten over time with no symbolism.

      Tonto said:
      June 25, 2013 at 6:44 AM

      White man a dummy

        fred said:
        June 25, 2013 at 10:48 AM

        Tonto, They prefer to be called European Americans, Please make a note of it, Thank You.

    Skip said:
    June 25, 2013 at 7:27 AM

    In keeping with the computer game fad and the local tribe's way of justice, we suggest the Decapitators!

    fred said:
    June 25, 2013 at 9:01 AM

    The Petunia's lost again last night to the Pansey's.
    Team spirit continues to wilt as the Q B is still on the bench nursing last weeks cuts & bruises.
    Next weeks game against the pinching crabs might be a forefit due to a painful outbreak of jock itch spreading through the team. Go Team Petunias !!

    solu said:
    June 25, 2013 at 9:05 AM

    People calling the school cowards for changing the name is ridiculous. If their mascot was black face people would be up in arms.

      fred said:
      June 25, 2013 at 9:18 AM

      Agreed, The Proposed new name " White Apple Blossoms with a Pink Spot in the Middle " offends my family too.
      People can be so out dated & insensitive around here.

    Dewey said:
    June 25, 2013 at 10:33 AM

    Since the author Stephenie Meyer has a residence nearby, how about the Vampires or Werewolves?

    kate said:
    June 25, 2013 at 11:02 AM

    You know, I was called 'Whitey' once when I was visiting the US. I was a lot younger then, but it hurt my feelings and made me feel that my colour was 'wrong'. Perhaps more people could use a taste of discrimination to understand that here is a reason that 'Redskins' might be hurtful to some. And if it ishurtfu, then change it.

    kate said:
    June 25, 2013 at 11:03 AM

    Yikes, as soon as I posted I saw my typo at the bottom. Please don't go all high school English teachr on me – that's not the point of my comment

    CommonSense said:
    June 25, 2013 at 12:41 PM

    So…when do the Washington Redskins change their name? Come on, people! This is going way too far and some are way too sensitive. Majority rules, and I would bet the majority did NOT vote to change this.

    nalivai said:
    June 25, 2013 at 1:08 PM

    This option is satisfactory when visually comparing samples superb to well a uniform specified reference

    lowpzn said:
    June 25, 2013 at 7:32 PM

    It's disappointing that they even have to change their mascot at all. But since it looks like they're going to have to anyway, don't go for something generic like Eagles, Hawks, etc.. Pick a name that is exclusive to Port Townsend's geographic location or history. Here's my suggestions: ADMIRALS, as P.T. sits on a Admiralty inlet; PILOTS, honoring shipping on Puget Sound; BEACONS, for the lighthouses around P.T; REDS, for the sockeye salmon; CRIMSON TIDE; RED FLASH; BIG RED; RED STREAKS, all using the school colors; COUNTY SEATERS, as P.T. is county seat of Jefferson County; PULPERS, for that cool old pulp mill on the edge of town. Just a few suggestions, Good Luck!!

    A Indian said:
    June 25, 2013 at 8:45 PM

    The term Redskins has always been lumped with Spic, Chink and Nigger. How is is it not derogitory?

    ve may bay gia re said:
    March 4, 2014 at 11:41 PM

    Hi there mates, fastidious paragraph and good arguments
    commented here, I am genuinely enjoying by these.

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