Students of the combined middle and high school in this picturesque village 150 miles north of New York City voted this month on names to replace the Redskins nickname that goes back to the 1920s. The vote was prompted by students who found the nickname offensive to American Indians.
"You have announced a standard that recognizes that mascots which are known to dehumanize and disrespect any race of mankind have no place in our schools, or our great country," Oneida Nation Representative Ray Halbritter wrote to Cooperstown Central School students this week. "We understand that your courageous decision also comes with a financial consequence and, unfortunately, potential backlash from those who somehow claim that ethnic stereotyping is a victimless crime."
Cooperstown is best known as the home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, but it was also the hometown of James Fenimore Cooper, who wrote "The Last of the Mohicans." The top vote-getters among students for a new nickname include Deerslayers, Hawkeyes and Pathfinders—each name a nod to Cooper's works.
Comment: For more on the Redskins, see Redskins "Respond" to NMAI Symposium and NMAI Symposium on Racist Mascots.