MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) — Marquette Senior High School has held the nickname the “Redmen” for their athletic teams since the 1930s.
Originally, the Marquette Senior High School’s nickname, the Redmen, came from the red sweaters that were handed out to the student-athletes.
But as time went on, the direction of the Redmen fell into more of a representation of a Native American.
And now, the Marquette Area Public Schools Board of Education is considering changing the name to something less controversial.
William Saunders, Superintendent, Marquette Area Public Schools said, “There’s been issues that have popped up. I don’t want to say consistently, but we’ve had a number of issues. Regardless of what side of that issue you are on, as educators, what we see within the school walls is a certain amount of bullying and harassment that’s taking place, a lot of it is online bullying and harassment, but bullying and harassment nonetheless. Our big issue is that we want to protect our students from any type of bullying and harassment and that’s why it’s such an important issue for us to delve into and take a look at.”
Saunders said that the rebranding of the Redmen has been in discussion for many years.
Recently, MAPS created a Nickname Research Committee to find out how Redmen and Redettes have effected the education value of their students.
“It is the consensus of the Marquette Senior High School Nickname Research Committee that the Marquette Area Public Schools discontinue the use of the nicknames, Redmen and Redettes,” said Joseph Lubig, Chairman, Marquette Senior High School Nickname Research Committee.
Lubig later said that not a single Upper Peninsula tribe supports keeping the nickname Redmen or Redettes.
A few students expressed to the Board their experiences with being Native at Marquette Senior High School.
Roxy Sprowl, Student, Marquette Senior High School said, “How does the name “Redmen” represent the three M’s? Because in my experience as a Native American student at Marquette Senior High School, I have been told that I don’t deserve anything, as a Native person, when I step out and say that I don’t support the mascot. I am told that I don’t deserve to be here. That is not maximizing my education.”
While many of those who spoke publicly are in favor of change, some still stand by the old name.
The Marquette Area Public Schools Board of Education will continue to discuss a nickname change for Marquette Senior High School at their next meeting on February 13th.