Resolution Calls on Ohio High Schools to Change Native American Nicknames

by J.D. Davidson


The Cleveland Indians changed their nickname to the Guardians last month, and now two Democratic lawmakers want Ohio high schools to follow that lead.

Reps. Adam Miller, D-Columbus, and Jessica Miranda, D-Forest Park, have introduced a resolution that encourages all state schools to retire the use of Native American mascots and to engage Native American groups as part of the process.

In all, 79 Ohio high schools have what Miller and Miranda call Native American mascots and nicknames. Twenty-four of those include names with Indians, 11 with Redskins and five with Redmen. Others include Apaches, Arrows, Braves, Chieftains, Chipps, Mohawks, Raiders, Seminoles, Senecas and Warriors.

“School spirit is about the teachers, students, community and even the building. Many schools with Native American mascots are stepping up, moving in the right direction,” Miller said. “We need to all work together and make these mascots a thing of the past.”

The resolution calls for schools and athletic teams to work with the state board of education, school district boards, interested parties and government entities to secure resources and other help needed to make the changes.

“We’re sending a message that hurtful stereotypes have no place in Ohio,” Miranda said. “This resolution is just one of many measures needed to address the injustices Native Americans have faced in this state.”

Effective at the end of the 2021 season, the Cleveland Indians will be known as the Cleveland Guardians. The organization spent nearly a year developing the name after announcing it would drop the nickname it has had since 1915.

Team owner James Dolan said last summer’s social unrest after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis pushed his idea to change the name. Cleveland stopped using the Chief Wahoo mascot in 2018.

Miami of Ohio University changed its name from the Redskins to the Redhawks in 1997.

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J.D. Davidson is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience in newspapers in Ohio, Georgia, Alabama and Texas. He has served as a reporter, editor, managing editor and publisher. He is a regional editor for The Center Square.





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One Thought to “Resolution Calls on Ohio High Schools to Change Native American Nicknames”

  1. Turbo

    democrats are gonna ruin everything.