Eyewitness News visits with the Cooperstown community as well as a community in Oneida County that share the same nickname. Some Cooperstown students say their nickname disrespects Native Americans and they're trying to change it. But, the Oriskany Redskins say the name has proud long-standing tradition and they want to keep it that way.
"We're going to cheer for the Oriskany Redskins because that is a great part of our identity," says Dan Myers, principal of Oriskany Junior-Senior High School.
Oriskany Principal Myers says the name has been a part of the school for decades. He says it was actually created to show the positive relationship between the Native Americans and early settlers.
"It was originally intended to honor the relationship between the Oneida Nation and the patriots who were in the Battle of Oriskany. It was never never intended to be a derogatory term," says Oriskany Principal Myers.
But some Cooperstown students don't see it that way. That's why they brought their concerns to the principal. He says if the change does go through..
"Our logo remains the same, our school colors remain the same. I am a traditionalist but I'm also someone that believes in, and I'm happy about our students believing in, let's make sure we're being respectful of all students," says Michael Cring, Principal of Cooperstown Junior-Senior High School.
While hundreds of college and high schools teams have retired American Indian nicknames, Cooperstown students say they have mixed feelings.
"I'm for changing the name Redskins, it's a racial slur," says Jimi Scrafford, Cooperstown senior student.
"We're proud to be Redskins. I think if they took it away, it would also take a part of us away," says Micayla Foster, Cooperstown senior student.
Clearly it's a controversial subject, but the Oneida Indian Nation says members were so pleased by the students who spoke up, they've offered to buy the district new uniforms.
"Whether intolerance rears its head on a baseball uniform, a football helmet or in the myriad of other ways prejudice manifests itself, we all have an obligation to fight it where we see it - and encourage the next generation in their efforts to simply end it," says Ray Halbritter, Oneida Nation representative.
Another school in our area with a similar name, Oneida Indians and with a similar mascot, the Whitesboro Warriors. We reached out to both schools but did not hear back from them by news-time. What do you think? Should these schools consider changing their names? Let me know on my Facebook page: Rachel Polansky- WUTR.
The Cooperstown School Board will be meeting on March 6th to discuss the future of the nickname and they say they are seeking input from the community before making a final decision.