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Wednesday, February 7, 2007

High school sports body to examine Indian team names


The Dedham girls' basketball team warms up under the team logo, a gigantic orange caricature of a Native American
(Globe Staff Photo by Essdras Suarez)


Should Massachusetts high school teams have Indian-themed names and logos?

Take Natick's "Redmen" teams. Or the Dedham teams, which are called the "Marauders" and play in a gym adorned with a gigantic cartoon of a howling Indian brave.

Dozens of high school teams in the state still have such names and logos.

Some activists say it's offensive and they're calling for change. But many school and community officials where the names and images have been in use for decades say they are honoring both school tradition and the state's Native American heritage by continuing their use.

The sportsmanship committee of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association, the ruling body of high school sports, will discuss tomorrow what action, if any, the MIAA should take to compel schools to change their team names, much as the NCAA did when it restricted playoff appearances by colleges with such names.

While individuals in many Massachusetts communities where schools have native-American-themed names have complained before, the most recent push was prompted by an effort at Natick High School to stop using the Redmen team name. The School Committee plans to make a decision on that issue after a public hearing in March.

Read more about the ontroversy in Natick and in communities throughout the state in Thursday's Globe West and Globe South.

--John C. Drake

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