New Va. High School Wrestles With Indian Name

Tuscarora won't be a Tribe

By Mike Tunison
|  Tuesday, Sep 15, 2009  |  Updated 12:03 PM EDT
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New Va. High School Wrestles With Indian Name

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The battle over the Redskins name and logo advancing to the Supreme Court has the issue in the news, but for the most part the number of high schools and colleges using imagery deemed offensive to Native Americans is on the wane.

Some school boards, including in Montgomery County, have banned schools from having Indian names or mascots.

The issue is certainly a sensitive one, which is why the new Tuscarora High School in Loudoun County, so named for an Indian tribe, has to carefully weigh its choice of mascot.

Teresa Morris, founder of the Coastal Carolina Indian Center and a descendant of Tuscarora Indians, said she was honored that the school community chose the name Tuscarora but felt that "to go beyond that could border into disrespect, intended or not. If people show up at a game wearing war paint, if they make Indian chants, it has no meaning to them. But for Native American people, they do have meaning."

So principal Pamela Paul-Jacobs solicited suggestions on the school's Web site and received about 200 submissions, one of the top three that students will vote for by secret ballot was the Tribe.

Paul-Jacobs initially balked at the name, then reconsidered, thinking herself too sensitive, only to later yank the name from consideration. The final three in the running are the Huskies, Timber Wolves and Tigers.

Inoffensive? Sure. Bearing no connection or significance to the area at all? You bet.

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