Public comments regarding nickname change issue last more than three hours

MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - There was a huge turnout Monday night at the Marquette Board of Education meeting.

Though not an actual agenda item, dozens of people showed up to voice their opinion on whether or not the high school should drop the “Redmen” and “Redettes” nicknames.

The meeting opened up with usual board items, but very quickly came the public comment portion of the meeting.

During this time, board members listened to concerned citizens voice their opinions on the name change issue.

Citizens were asked to register before the meeting in order to get their five minutes of public comment.

With around 60 cards, people had a lot to say, with the comments lasting over three hours.

"I think the public feedback is the most important thing in this,” said MAPS Board of Education President, Rich Rossway.

One argument given for wanting to keep the names, which was brought up many times, is that the name is a source of pride for both past and present MAPS students.

"I am truly a proud Marquette Redmen, and I think we should retain the name. Thank you,” said one resident.

Another statement brought up by many was the fact that the name did not originate from a racial slur, but rather, from the color red.

"It started, as we have learned, because the superintendent liked the Harvard University crimson color,” commented another resident.

However, many argued that once the Indian chief logo was added around the 1930s, the name changed to a racial slur towards Native Americans.

"Does the word 'Redmen' really symbolize Marquette Senior High School, an offensive word to the Native American people that is harmful and depicts an existing people as a devalued caricature?" asked one concerned resident.

Another argument stated by those in favor of the name change is that it creates an adverse learning environment for Native American students.

"I know that some of our Native American residents are okay with the logo, and with the Redmen name, but I choose to listen to the majority of our Native American students and our local tribes,” an MSHS teacher commented.

The board has not made a decision regarding the possible name change, as school and board officials say it will be a lengthy process to come to a decision.

TV6 and FOX UP will continue to follow the issue and report on any updates.



 
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