Paw Paw Schools have been the Redskins since 1926. With recent controversy over the name it could become a thing of the past.  On Monday, January 23rd, the Paw Paw School Board held a special meeting to allow people to voice their opinion on the future of the name and why it should or shouldn't be changed.

Lets start with the definition of Redskins

The origin of the term is debated, in particular whether the use of "red" referred to skin color or the use of pigments by certain tribes, and also whether the term was applied to natives by Europeans or came from language natives used to refer to themselves. Whatever its origins in the colonial period, many argue that "redskin" underwent a process of pejoration due to the increasingly disparaging use of the term through the 19th and early 20th centuries. Use of the term is connected to the history of bounties being paid for Indian scalps.


It's also described as,

The Washington Redskins are a professional American football team based in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.

Then it is also a candy, a punk band and a 1926 movie.

First, let me say that I am not going to mention anyone by name as I am not giving any direct quotes from anyone who spoke, only summations of what was said.

Now, for the topic at hand. I attended this meeting as an impartial observer. What I observed was that there were native american people on both sides, some offended by the name and stating that there is a casino in Calhoun county offering money to change the name. Others who are proud of the name saying they should restore the Redskins. Some of the speakers stated they see pride in the Redskins name while others say they will continue to take pride in the community without the name.

On the other side, there were non-native Americans who were both for and against the name change. One statement was made that Adidas was offering funds to help with changing the name of any school who submitted an application. Another was that the community should be allowed to vote on any changes made and not just the school board.

John Mason/TSM
John Mason/TSM

It was also reveled that some tribe members refer to the school as the Paw Paw Pretendians.

After this nearly two hour meeting was finished, there was only a couple minor outbursts from onlookers but most were quiet, kind and courteous.

I also took a tour around the schools and found that the Redskins name is no that prevalent. The Indian head logo and the name were only seen on a couple score boards that are new and at a cost of about $57,000 as well as the Junior High gym floor. The scoreboards can be painted and the floor needs to be refinished anyway. The schools have actually phased out most of the Redskin mascot items over the years going to a more friendly paw print. So it appears that the issue is less cost and more nostalgia.

The School Board will be holding a meeting on February 8th at the High School cafeteria to make a final decision on the name.

BONUS VIDEO: Check out this birds eye view of a house demolition in Paw Paw

More From Kalamazoo's Country