Port Townsend will drop Redskins as nickname

Port Townsend High School athletic teams have been known as the Redskins since 1926.

But in 2014, Port Townsend’s teams will have a new nickname after the school board voted to drop the “Redskins” nickname and replace it. The change won’t happen immediately, as the school will use the next year as a transition period.

And as you might expect, there are arguments on both sides of the fence.

Some are happy to break ties with a nickname that they felt was racially insensitive. Others, like former Milwaukee Bucks player and 1976 Port Townsend graduate John Stroeder, did not want to break with almost 90 years of tradition.

“If you change the name, I’m done here,” Stroeder told the school board. “I will take my jersey out of the (trophy) cabinet (at the school.)”

In 2012, the Oregon Board of Education voted to ban the use of nicknames, symbols or mascots such as Redskins, Savages, Chiefs or Braves. Warriors, however, was not banned.

School have until 2017 to make the change, which impacted more than a dozen schools in the state.

Hypothetically, if such a similar rule were applied in Washington — and there is no such push right now — it would impact 10 schools, not including Port Townsend.

Wellpinit, a 1B school located Northwest of Spokane, also uses the Redskins moniker. For what it’s worth, Wellpinit is located within the Spokane Indian Reservation.

Other schools potentially impacted would be the Bethel (Spanaway) Braves, Moses Lakes Chiefs, Columbia River Chieftains, North Central (Spokane) Indians, Renton Indians, Colville Indians, South Bend Indians, Reardan Indians and Touchet Indians.

There are other schools that might be impacted by such a push, like Marysville-Pilchuck, which uses Tomahawks as a nickname, or Sammamish and Tyee of SeaTac, both of which uses Totems as a nickname.

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