- The Washington Times - Monday, March 4, 2002

Almost half the Maryland schools that use Indian-inspired logos or team names have refused to abandon them despite the state school board urging of local school boards to re-examine their policies in July, according to a Maryland Department of Education report.

The report, which was distributed to state schoool board members last week, lists 26 schools in 14 counties statewide that used either Indian-inspired logos or team names that some state Indian affairs commissioners have deemed offensive.

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"All of Marylands public schools have deliberated the Indian mascot issue," the report, issued by state Superintendent of Schools Nancy Grasmick, says.

The result: Thirteen schools have changed or plan to change, but 11 have resisted change, and two remain undecided.

Among those forced to change by local school boards were Montgomery Countys Poolesville Indians, which will become the Montgomery Falcons this fall, and Potomac High School in Prince Georges County, which will replace the Braves nickname with the Wolverines. The report peeved the man be[JUMP]hind the drive to stamp out Indian-inspired mascots and team names in the state — Indian Affairs Commissioner Richard Regan, a Montgomery County resident and Lumbee Cheraw Indian activist.

Mr. Regan said he is not satisfied with the reports findings. "American-Indian students have been patient, and our patience is running out," he said. "Weve heard a lot of thunder but not much rain."

Activists such as Mr. Regan may not speak for the majority of American Indians, however.A scientific survey of Americans with Indian ancestry — paid for by Sports Illustrated magazine and published in this weeks issue — says the average American Indian is not offended by high school teams that use Indian words for team mascots.In fact, 75 percent of those surveyed by the Peter Harris Group said even Washingtons use of the nickname "Redskins" did not offend them.

Some American Indians dress up in Washington Redskins outfits, the magazine said. In July, the state Board of Education endorsed a resolution of its minority-achievement committee that condemned school use of Indian-inspired team names. However, the board stopped short of requiring schools to change the names and instead asked local superintendents to develop educational programs to address the issue.

Board spokesman Ronald Peiffer said the report "did not consume a whole lot of time on the part of the board."

Mr. Peiffer said board members made no plans at the meeting to take up the issue in the future.

Of 13 high schools where the symbols have the deepest attachment to communities through sports teams and fight songs, and where alumni have often joined in communitywide debates over changing the names, the report says six high schools have changed team names. Five have not and two remain undecided.

Four high schools have rejected the requests to change outright: Franklin High in Baltimore County, Wicomico High in Wicomico County, North East High in Cecil County and Havre De Grace High in Harford County.

The report says Pocomoke High in Worcester County has not altered its Indian logo, although it continues to consider a change.

Mr. Peiffer pointed out a 14th high school the report does not mention. Linganore High School in Frederick recently decided to retain the Indian head symbol it uses as the "Lancers."

Of the six high schools the report says did change, only three have had to pick new team names.

Edmonson-Westside High School in Baltimore City has not chosen a new name, but officials plan to abandon the current team name, Indians, the report says.

Two other schools have pledged to alter Indian symbols.

The La Plata Warriors in Charles County picked an English knight to replace their Indian mascot.

Woodlawn High School in Baltimore County will also keep the name Warriors and, according to the report, has "removed all depictions of the reference" to American Indians. But the sports section of the high schools Web site, called the "Warriors Domain," continues to prominently display the symbol of an American Indian in profile wearing a headdress.

Walbrook High in Baltimore City has addressed the issue but satisfied the board that its logo does not depict an American Indian.

Mr. Regan questioned why Mrs. Grasmick would endorse a resolution condemning the names and then be satisfied with only half of schools taking action. He called on the superintendent to make the changes on her own authority as school superintendent.

"In our experience you cant go in and ask 'pretty please on this mascot issue," he said.

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