Lancaster, NY - For decades, Lancaster's school sports teams have been known as the "Redskins". But now the district is starting what it calls a "dialogue" about changing it.
The Redskins name does date back to the the 1940's and while there's nothing official from the district, some Native Americans have objected to other teams like the NFL's Washington Redskins using that name. You can see it just about everywhere on the Lancaster school campus. It's even on the electronic sign out front.
But now it's a topic of discussion in the district. The Superintendent was not available. The District did put out a statement "No decisions have been made at this time regarding the Lancaster school sports mascot. This school year we will begin to have an exploratory dialogue about the use of the mascot, educating ourselves about the issues, involving multiple stakeholders, and points of view. Lancaster has a 67 year history of pride and tradition associated with our sports mascot. While we recognize this issue has had a great deal of publicity at the national level, and awareness has been heightened for many constituents, no changes are imminent for the fall athletics season. We intend for this to be a thoughtful process. We will move slowly, deliberately, and with sensitivity."
We spoke with 2 On Your Side High School Sports Team member Dick Gallagher who says "I think today, when you take a look at the school districts today with everything that's coming to them and what they have to deal with, to me the last thing they should be spending their time on is a controversy about a nickname or a mascot that if it is offensive to the native American community. They should work out a compromise and then move forward."
But Pat Farruggio who is president of the Lancaster Redskin Booster club says "It would be a shame to see the name go away. It's been there for so many years. I don't think the name was ever picked to offend anybody. Actually I think the Indians should be proud that we're using their name. But they must have different feelings. I mean if the name goes away , it goes away but I'm sure we would like to see the name stay. There's uniforms involved. There's signage involved. I believe they should come up with the money to help us pay for the changes."
Pat Farrrugio says whoever complained so be willing to help pay for the costs of the name changes. He says a similar suggestion came out three years ago and was shelved.
We tried to reach the Seneca Nation today however a spokeswoman said she could not determine if they had a position on it.
There are other local teams like the West Seneca West Indians, the Iroquois Chiefs and the Salamanca, Cheektowaga Central and Tonawanda Warriors according to Dick Gallagher.
2 On Your Side did speak with a player on the team who told us coaches and other players have been talking about a compromise name like the "Redhawks" but there's nothing official.