- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 13, 2015

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - The first Oklahoma City School Board meeting since the board voted to remove Redskins as the mascot at Capitol City High School drew students, faculty and alumni opposed to the change.

“This name change has been very emotional for me,” Skye Wapskineh, a Capitol Hill sophomore and a member of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation said. “I feel as if I had a piece of me ripped from me, as if a loved one had died.”

Wapskineh wept as she spoke to the board Monday night, The Oklahoman reported (https://bit.ly/1IGViuA ).

“You have been persuaded to make a rash decision by mostly nonstakeholders at Capitol Hill without considering the impact,” said David Helm, a teacher at the high school. “If you assumed that our students and staff would not care, then you underestimated who we are.”

Jacob Tsotigh, a member of the Kiowa Tribe and a longtime advocate for American Indian education, favors the name change but said he understands the concerns of those who oppose the change.

“I don’t begrudge them their tradition, their pride and their sense of honor,” Tsotigh said. “It’s what they don’t allow us to believe and feel.

“We have a sense that our culture has been trivialized by the use of our imagery to reflect who we are. We are not mascots, we are human beings.”

Teacher Sandy Bitner called for those on both sides to reconcile their differences.

“The decision’s been made that we’re going to change the mascot,” she told the board. “I would like all groups to now come up with an idea or ideas of how we can come together and select a new mascot that represents everyone and everyone can agree upon.”

Armand Edelman, president of the Kiwanis Club of Capitol Hill High School, wondered aloud where the district would come up with the money to complete the mascot change.

“Where’s the money coming from? What is being done to satisfy the needs of this school?” Edelman said. “We don’t have enough money now to keep enough science teachers.”

Superintendent Rob Neu said several district employees are taking inventory of where the word Redskins is found at the school and will “associate a cost with each item.”

A task force of students, educators and parents is being created to search for a new mascot.


Information from: The Oklahoman, https://www.newsok.com

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