Dare BOE endorses ‘Braves’ and ‘Redskins’ mascots

By on October 13, 2020

After a presentation from a group that wants to retain the “Braves” and “Redskins” mascots and names for the Manteo Middle and Manteo High School athletic teams, the Dare County Board of Education unanimously endorsed keeping those names at its Oct. 13 meeting.

The presentation, in the form of an 11-minute video from a group loosely known as “Save the Redskins,” followed a September presentation before the board by a group pressing for the school district to change the mascots, claiming the names were racially tinged, insulting and disrespectful to Native Americans. That group submitted an online petition with more than 12,000 endorsing a change.

Judy Cage, one of the organizers of the group supporting the mascots, told the Voice in an interview that, “We formed as a response to the group that wanted the mascot changed…We just feel like [those] people are dismissing the mascot out of hand without realizing the history and context” of the names.

That issue was recently re-ignited when what is now the Washington Football Team dropped its longstanding and controversial Redskins nickname amid considerable pressure, including from sponsors. For her part, Cage said, “The NFL changed their mascot out of financial fear…It’s a really different situation with a small high school.”

The presentation at the Oct. 13 meeting by Cage’s group included some history, some advocacy and some testimonials, largely from a number of Manteo alum and students.

Carol Meekins, a 1956 grad of Manteo High School, talked about Chief Manteo’s good relationship with the British explorers and their colonists on Roanoke Island, said he was the first Native American to be baptized into the Church of England, and described him as “an early example of positive racial and cultural relations in North America.”

Meekins also reported that the first known depiction of Manteo High’s Redskins mascot was in a yearbook from 1937, the same year the curtain came up on the first performance of The Lost Colony play. The presentation also included Manteo High students and alum declaring themselves “proud to be a Redskin.”

Board of Education Chair Bea Basnight opened the discussion after the presentation by stating that after a very difficult year of closed schools, remote learning and little social bonding, “I think it’s not the wisest thing to consider taking away one more thing [the mascot] from our students.”

Board Member Harvey Hess spoke of the dangers of American communities being “intimidated” into erasing their histories, and  he and criticized the efforts of the change-the-mascot movement as “an attempt from people from a lot of other places to instill their beliefs in our community.”

Noting that “I received a lot of information on both sides of the topic,” Board Member Frank Hester said, “You can see the passion on both sides of the subject. I also feel it’s not the right time to” change the names.

While Hess offered a more proactive motion to endorse keeping the Braves and Redskins mascots, Hester suggesting tabling any action on the matter now, in order to “focus on getting the kids back in school” and further studying the issue down the road.

In the end, the board unanimously approved the Hess motion.



Comments

  • Naman

    Demand that we change the formal town name of Avon back to Kinnekeet immediately. It was arbitrarily cancelled by racist Europeans and post office in 1883. That just ain’t right, and you know it by God. Kinnekeet! Kinnekeet! KINNEKEET!!!!

    Wednesday, Oct 14 @ 6:14 am
  • XZDCATC

    Thank you , Dare BOE, for voting with clear heads on the matter of the Manteo school(s) mascot issue.

    Wednesday, Oct 14 @ 6:22 am
  • WBN

    Thanks to those who have good sense and chose to keep the names. In times of political correctness and over sensitivity, it is good to see that someone still retains their sanity. These names were never meant to offend anyone. They were chosen because they represented honor and courage and to recognize “the original locals” of the area.

    Wednesday, Oct 14 @ 6:37 am
  • Manteobxr

    Outstanding action Dare BOE! Very proud to be a Redskin!

    Wednesday, Oct 14 @ 7:33 am
  • Browny Douglas

    Praise be to those that fought and won this “David vs Goliath ” battle.

    Wednesday, Oct 14 @ 8:06 am
  • Paul

    WoW some commonsense comes to Dare.

    Wednesday, Oct 14 @ 9:27 am
  • Travis

    Would you go up to a Native American and say, “Hey, how’s it going, Redskin?”

    Of course not. Why? Because the term has long been considered offensive. We’ve respected the sensitivity of other groups to names they find offensive and have phased those out of use (at least in polite company) out of respect. Why is this respect not afforded Native Americans?

    Another thumbs down for our weak-kneed Board of Education.

    Wednesday, Oct 14 @ 9:58 am
  • sandflea

    Anyone here object to naming First Flight High School the “White Skins”?

    Wednesday, Oct 14 @ 10:06 am
  • dan

    I would challenge anyone to watch this video and still want to keep the name. They brought in Native Americans to speak with fans. If a Native American tells you it’s a racist name would you argue with them?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=loK2DRBnk24&ab_channel=ComedyCentral

    Wednesday, Oct 14 @ 10:10 am
  • Wombatnc

    The overwhelming majority of people in the south opposed the ending of slavery in 1865 as well; it’s 2020 people!!
    RED – SKINS, weather you think it’s culturally relevant, non-offensive, etc. is a racist name. Keep Manteo, Skyco, Wanchese, the Braves, The Chiefs, etc., but referring to a person or group of people by the color of their skin is racist and wrong! The Dare County BOE should be embarrassed. This is a publicly funded school and the members have just enshrined themselves into the dark days of the past.

    Wednesday, Oct 14 @ 10:38 am
  • Henry

    Let’s all call the Dare County BOE and THANK them for representing all of us who live here as insensitive, racist, backwoods crackers.

    Thanks, BOE!
    Great job!

    It’s not like that decision was a surprise to anyone who has ever driven past any one of the many alters to 45* scattered throughout the county, dotting the highways and byways.

    They should change the name to Rednecks, and everyone would be happy, yes?

    Wednesday, Oct 14 @ 11:19 am
  • Dok Mann

    Who would expect anything different here. This will always be a backward looking community.

    Wednesday, Oct 14 @ 2:17 pm
  • Manteo

    Thank you Dare Board of Education!

    Wednesday, Oct 14 @ 4:21 pm
  • Custer’s Ghost

    Wednesday, Oct 14 @ 5:21 pm
  • anotherobxman

    Another shining example of how systemic racism persists in this country.

    Wednesday, Oct 14 @ 6:19 pm
  • Imagine

    This decision really surprised me. After everything I’d read about the numbers of past graduates and others including Native Americans, I really thought the Dare County BOE would do the right thing. What a disappointment this is.

    Wednesday, Oct 14 @ 7:43 pm
  • Dennis

    Anyone here who continues to argue strongly that the term ‘redskin’ is racist really needs to read up on its history and how it originated before sticking with their ill-informed conclusion. I highly recommend reading the article linked below.

    “I Am a Red-Skin”: The Adoption of a Native American Expression (1769-1826)
    https://repository.si.edu/handle/10088/31970

    Furthermore, Red Mesa High School found in the heart of Navajo Nation Arizona wouldn’t be using Redskins as its own moniker and mascot for decades if it was considered racist. The school body is made of mostly American Indians.
    https://hs.rmusd.net/

    Wednesday, Oct 14 @ 8:03 pm
  • Obx Cracker

    All teams named after minority cultures should be changed. Why honor 3rd world cultures that never developed past barbarism?? We should look towards European or East Asian cultures for inspiration, those who developed High Culture and created the modern world.

    Thursday, Oct 15 @ 2:27 pm
  • Richard

    9 out of ten native Americans find the name not offensive.. mostly elders because they know the name was not considered racist, it was the younger generation on native Americans.. and that’s it. Give 10 people a vote and 9 say it makes them proud, and only 1 cries racist..well it would seem that people want to accommodate the 1 percent and pay no attention to the majority.. Redskins is supported by a huge following of natives, there are those who find it offensive but there vastly outnumbered..there’s 3 native American Schools who use the name Redskins.. would the white skins be racist ??and to the person who mentioned this.. I’m white I take no offense why would I..my skins not racist I’m white.. people don’t name something they support after something they hate !!

    Thursday, Oct 15 @ 4:37 pm
  • Michael

    Why don’t white people stay out of it and go to a reservation and let the native Americans vote on it..oh they did that in 2016 out of 520 native Americans 480 something said they were fine with the name…done by the washington post..So do the 480 not count cause there views don’t line up with yours ??

    Thursday, Oct 15 @ 4:45 pm
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