Add Arkansas State to the growing list of universities agreeing to scrap an ethnically offensive nickname.
A couple of weeks ago, ASU officials, bowing to NCAA pressure, reluctantly agreed to drop Indians and pursue another school mascot, joining Dartmouth, Stanford, St. John's and Marquette among others that have junked Native American nicknames.
Then there are some Kansas high schools.
In 1998, the Kansas Association for Native American Education issued a resolution that ":calls for the elimination of use of American Indian mascots and logos in all public and private schools in the State of Kansas."
Then in 2001, the Kansas Human Rights Commission issued a policy statement that "strongly encourages the discontinuance" of Indian-related logos and symbols, including high school mascots.
And how did Sunflower State high schools react to those KANAE and KHRC resolutions?
They were virtually ignored.
In 2000, Hiawatha High jettisoned the nickname Redskins and became the Red Hawks. Otherwise, a check of the Kansas State High School Activities Association directory shows 30 current offenders - 16 Indians, five Warriors, three Redskins, two Chieftains, two Braves and two Redmen.
To tell the truth, I'm not all that sure Warriors needs to be lumped into this category. That nickname is OK if they don't use corresponding Native American mascots or logos. If they do, then they should change.
Without question, the most offensive nicknames are Redskins and Redmen. Imagine the hue and cry, for example, if a school's athletic teams went by Yellowskins or Blackmen. Public pressure would be overwhelming.
Yet Wichita North, Little River and Liberal continue as Redskins, while Atchison and Smith Center remain the Redmen (and Redwomen?). These schools easily could retain red as part of their nickname, like Hiawatha and like St. John's University when it switched from Redmen to Red Storm.
Bonner Springs and Council Grove, the two schools known as the Braves, need to start from scratch, as do Tonganoxie and Kiowa-South Barber, homes of the Chieftains.
I suspect the folks in nearby Tonganoxie would argue that their town was named after an Indian chief, so why shouldn't they be allowed to use an Indian nickname? Answer: See Hiawatha above. Why not something like the Tonganoxie Thunder instead?
Shawnee Mission North can use a similar rationalization. SM North has been known as the Indians ever since the school opened in 1922 in then-rural Overland Park not far from the Shawnee Indian Mission, now a state historical site. Yes, but the other four Shawnee Mission schools don't have Native American nicknames.
And what's the deal with Manhattan? The home of Kansas State University was named after the famed borough of New York City that was purchased from Indians. That's certainly no reason for Manhattan High to be known as the Indians. Manhattan College doesn't use an Indian mascot. They're the Jaspers. Jaspers??? Oh, well.
The NCAA wields an effective club, stressing it won't allow schools with offensive Native American nicknames to host championship events. Why can't the KSHSAA apply the same kind of pressure?