WICHITA, Kansas -- After both national and local calls to drop "redskin" as a sports mascot nickname, officials with Wichita's North High say they have no plans to revisit the issue and consider the matter closed.
Earlier this month, President Obama said he would "think about changing it" if he owned the Washington Redskins. Sunday night during a primetime football game on NBC featuring Washington, Bob Costas called for a change saying "'Redskins' can't possible honor a heritage or a noble character trait."
The following day, Wichita Eagle columnist Bob Lutz changed his opinion on the issue and called on North High to drop the nickname.
North High considered dropping "redskin" in 1996 but backed off after 90% of alumni surveyed were against the idea.
Most alumni, students, and school officials believe North High honors Native Americans rather than degrades them.
"If we didn't want to respect them, we would ignore them completely," said Eric Dahlinger, a 1976 North High graduate. "We wouldn't have redskins as a mascot. We wouldn't be doing the things that show them the respect they deserve."
The school was built in 1929 on lands once occupied by Wichita Indians. Architects paid homage to the area's rich Native American past by decorating the building with sculptures and mosaics depicting prairie life.
North High does not allow Indian mascots at sporting events. And an emphasis on Indian tribes' proud pasts.
"They encourage us to learn about our history at North High so that's why we don't think it's bad at all," said student Tristin Hart.
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