Union Public Schools: 'Redskins Is Not Derogatory,' Others Disagree
TULSA, Oklahoma - The fight over whether to retire the term Redskin is escalating. It's not just in the NFL, many are wondering if Union Public Schools will consider wiping itself clean of the word.
The debate is on a new level as a federal agency canceled six of the Washington Redskin's trademarks, ruling the term Redskin disparaging.
"I think the term Redskin needs to be eliminated. It's always been a disparaging word," said Robert Anquoe with the Greater Tulsa Area Indian Affairs Commission.
Anquoe, a Kiowa tribal member, and Cherokee tribal member, Winnie Guess Perdue, are sending a letter to the NFL in support of a team name change. They said Redskin is offensive because of the word's history.
"Indian people were hunted and bounty was given based on proof of the kill," Anquoe said.
The word, and what it implies, has been a hot topic at Union Public Schools, home of the Redskins, since 2003. 11 years later, Guess Perdue said she's amazed that Oklahoma schools still promote mascots like the Redskin.
"If we cannot be honored in our own state, you know? Andrew Jackson sent us here over many trails of tears and we still persevere," Guess Perdue said.
A statement from Union reads, "Union community members of all races tell us this is not an issue divided strictly on the lines of race. In the Union community, "Redskins" is not derogatory; rather it defines a diverse, yet close-knit community that exhibits great pride and spirit in its schools."
"Frankly, I can't imagine that we're still in, almost, the dark ages, when it comes to this issue," said Guess Perdue.
As for the Washington Redskins, the team plans to fight the ruling, just like they did in 1992, and their attorney said he's confident they'll prevail this time as well.