Posted on May 15, 2024

Communities Across Country Reclaim Indian Nicknames, Iconography as Pendulum Swings Back

Liam Griffin, Washington Times, May 14, 2024

When the Washington Commanders’ Dan Quinn conducted a practice over the weekend wearing a T-shirt featuring an illustration of two feathers, social media exploded with speculation: Was the coach signaling a “Redskins” return?

In 2020, the team — like many colleges and high schools in recent years — abandoned its nickname and any iconography associated with American Indians under pressure from activists and corporate partners.

Since then, the franchise has consistently brushed aside suggestions that the old nickname will be resuscitated.

But across the country, many communities are pushing back against cancel culture and moving to reclaim logos and nicknames that were axed in the name of political correctness.

In January, the Southern York County School Board in Pennsylvania reinstated an American Indian logo for its Susquehannock High School Warriors — officials had removed the imagery in 2020.

Last year in Sandusky, Michigan, voters recalled three school board members who changed the branding for the local high school sports teams originally known as “the Redskins.”

Another recall effort is underway for two members of the Camden-Frontier Board of Education in Michigan. Jesse Crow and Emily Morrison voted to retire the district’s “Redskins” identity and faced public backlash.

Utah’s Iron County School Board dropped Cedar High School’s “Redmen” team names in 2019. It could return next year — the school board voted to let the community decide whether to reinstate the name in a referendum that’s currently planned for November.

The backlash against progressive sensibilities comes as even some groups representing American Indians say the push to rename teams and remove images featuring tomahawks, arrows and headdresses went too far.

Keep American Indian imagery and team names, says the Native American Guardian Association, which sees the removal of logos as an effort to erase history.


NAGA representatives presented a slideshow in Southern York County in January, effectively convincing school board members to unretire the “Warriors” logo.

“We are starting to see a shift. It’s been a one-sided narrative pushed by the mainstream liberal media,” Tony Henson, NAGA’s executive director, told the Washington Times. “Generally, 90% of Native Americans support names and images or have no problem with it.”


The issue unexpectedly resurfaced on Capitol Hill this week, courtesy of Sen. Steve Daines.

The Montana Republican said he plans to block legislation that could bring a new football stadium to the District — unless the Commanders embrace at least some key portions of the American Indian-flavored branding that is part of the team’s history.