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Southeast Missouri State University dropping Indians name

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  • Southeast Missouri State University dropping Indians name

    Associated Press
    CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. -- After more than 80 years, Southeast Missouri State University will no longer use Indians as a nickname.

    Years of debate over the use of the nickname and mascot ended Wednesday when the board of regents voted unanimously to drop both for the men's teams as well as the Otahkians nickname for the women. The women's team name came from the legend of a Cherokee woman named Otahki who died near Cape Girardeau on the Trail of Tears forced march to the Oklahoma territory in the 1830s.

    Supporters had argued that the nicknames showed pride in the American Indian heritage of the region. But others found them demeaning.

    Glinda Ladd Seabaugh, president of the American Indian Center of the Heartland in Cape Girardeau, said she thought Southeast had not intended any harm, but that hanging onto Indian names was a type of cultural racism.

    "We are human beings," she said. "We are not mascots."

    After a brief phasing out of the Indians, Southeast's teams will be known as the Redhawks.

    The change is expected to come in the spring semester of 2005. Work to design a Redhawk logo already has begun.

    Southeast has downplayed the Indians nickname for several years. Athletics Director Don Kaverman said the university hasn't had a student dress up in an Indian costume as a mascot since 1985. The school doesn't put the nickname on its T-shirts or in publications. The only visible reference is at Houck Stadium, where "Indians" is painted in one end zone.

    Kaverman said the change could help better promote the school, its athletic programs and increase school spirit.

    "We owe it to the current generation of students to establish their own traditions," he said.

    Last year, both the university's national alumni council and student council recommended dropping the Indians/Otahkians nicknames. In February, the board of the Booster Club agreed, although narrowly.

    An 18-member committee of faculty, staff, students, alumni and boosters, appointed by President Ken Dobbins, then was charged to look at whether the nicknames should be retired and consider alternatives, said Ed Leoni, a professor who headed the group.

    The university received more than 1,000 suggestions for replacement nicknames.

  • #2
    Re: Southeast Missouri State University dropping Indians name

    The Trail of Tears runs straight through Cape Girardeau. SEMO originally picked the name as a tribute, not as a slam.

    This is just another version of PC run amuck. Oh well, Redhawks should be cool also. Hope they keep the red and black colors.


    • #3
      Re: Southeast Missouri State University dropping Indians name

      I think it's good. I'm sure they did mean it as a tribute, but I like it that schools have started to make that switch. Redhawks does sound very cool though.


      • #4
        Re: Southeast Missouri State University dropping Indians name

        As an Irish-Native American, I have no more of a problem with the SEMO Indians as I do the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. I swear, why you pale faces get all worked up over mascot names, I'll never know.
        The more things change, the more they stay the same.


        • #5
          Re: Southeast Missouri State University dropping Indians name

          well, there was that college club a while ago that tried to fight back with the "fighting whities" or something like that, but people only laughed. The PC thing has definitely gone over the deep end, but sometimes it's still ok to change to better your public appearance.

          The difference with fightin' irish is that it is mostly the irish that go there (more or less), however, not very many native americans claim to be fans of the Redskins. Some names like Braves and Chiefs seem to be more like paying homage, but other can definitely be somewhat offensive, just my opinion.