District of Columbia

D.C. Council to Consider Banning Indian Nicknames

The D.C. Council will consider banning racially based nicknames for public schools in the nation's capital.

Democratic Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie introduced a bill Tuesday that would force two  schools in the District of Columbia to change nicknames referring to American Indians, including the Anacostia High School Indians in Southeast.

McDuffie says the council should continue to push the NFL's Washington Redskins to change their name. He and other District leaders say the name is offensive. And McDuffie says there's an "air of hypocrisy'' to the city's efforts as long as it continues to permit racially based nicknames, logos and mascots.

"I think it's important for people to remember that these terms are prejorative, very offensive and objectionable to a lot of people and we should make sure that we can fix this," McDuffie said.

Several members of Anacostia High School's 1968 and 1969 graduating classes say they'll defend the school's mascot. They said the school was built on Indian ground, that the name is an honor and that it should stay.

"Simply put, it's our history," Laverne Duckwilder, a 1969 graduate of Anacostia High said.

"It would actually divide us and we'd lose our identity," Althea Flack, also a 1969 graduate, said.

A spokeswoman for the city's public schools says officials are reviewing the bill "and will decide appropriate next steps accordingly.''

The bill would create an exemption for schools that establish an agreement with a recognized American Indian tribe.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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