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Letter: Lancaster should drop its offensive team name

Lancaster should drop its offensive team name

I applaud the people of Lancaster for being proactive in discussing the name change of their team mascot. But those who support keeping the name reveal the ignorance and arrogance of some in the community. Even though tradition is hard to break, it really is an open-and-shut case to abandon the name altogether.

First, the term “redskin” at the time it was applied to sports actually was a derogatory term, denoting not just the color of people’s skin, but also in the late 19th and early 20th century of how many Native Americans one could kill, sort of like beaver pelts. In the post-1963 “I Have A Dream” world, it’s beyond offensive to Native Americans and people of the subcontinent. In the growing diversity of Western New York, I think the choice is obvious.

Second, the Lancaster team plays in Section 6 athletics. There are four Native American reservations within this section of Western New York. What does this say about Lancaster when it plays Gowanda, Springville or Lakeshore? Ironically, it was Springville native Glenn “Pop” Warner who trained Jim Thorpe for the 1912 Olympiad. The success of Thorpe was the beginning of changing attitudes of the mainstream toward Native Americans. With respect to this unique heritage and an inclusive attitude toward all Western New Yorkers, the choice should be obvious for the people of Lancaster to abandon the name.

I would suggest that the school seek suggestions for a new name from the Seneca Nation.

Derek Otto

Springville