Heartland schools to keep Indian mascots, some removed it - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Heartland schools to keep Indian mascots, some removed it

The Puxico School District plans to keep its mascot as the Indians in light of recent controversy over the Washington Redskins' name. The Puxico School District plans to keep its mascot as the Indians in light of recent controversy over the Washington Redskins' name.
Ed Leoni, the person who chaired the committee at Southeast Missouri State University to change their name from Indians to Redhawks, said it was a long process but in the end to him was well worth it. Ed Leoni, the person who chaired the committee at Southeast Missouri State University to change their name from Indians to Redhawks, said it was a long process but in the end to him was well worth it.
PUXICO, MO (KFVS) - The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office canceled the Washington Redskins' trademarks on Wednesday, saying that the football's name is "disparaging to Native Americans."

However, local schools districts like the Puxico Indians said they will keep their current mascot name.

Puxico superintendent Kyle Dare said the district has been the Indians for years.

He said Puxico as a town has a rich Indian history. The origin of the town's name is Native American.

Dare said he's never come in contact with anyone that's found their mascot offensive.

Advance resident Scott Arnold said school it's important for schools to maintain their cultural ties.

"I think it would be good to keep those ties and kind of remember their roots and kind of where they came from. But we live in a world now where we're judged very quickly on names," Arnold said.

However, Arnold said this change at the national level could set the bar for local schools like Puxico. He said he wouldn't be surprised if schools began looking at whether they should change their names.

The Puxico School District did consider changing its name when Southeast Missouri State University changed theirs. However, Dare said it would take some very serious thought to change their current mascot.

Ed Leoni, the person who chaired the committee at Southeast Missouri State University to change their name from Indians to Redhawks, said it was a long process but in the end to him was well worth it.

After a movement by Leoni's committee, the name was officially retired at a ceremony on October 22, 2004 and replaced with "Redhawks."
    
Leoni said they followed the example of other institutions like Stanford and Cornell, but there was nothing easy about the process. The turning point came in July of '04 when the board unanimously approved the name change, a vote Leoni said he had no idea what was going to happen.

"The momentum shifted from resistance to participation," Leoni said.

He also had some strong feelings about the Redskins.

"There are approximately over 1 million words in the English language. You would choose a better word to rally people around your cause rather than splintering them," Leoni said.

Copyright 2014 KFVS. All rights reserved.
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