Oneidas to buy uniforms for former Cooperstown Redskins team

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. (WKTV/AP) - The Oneida Indian Nation says it would help buy replacement school sports jerseys if the Cooperstown Redskins change their nickname.

Students of the combined middle and high school in the upstate village voted this month on names to replace the Redskins nickname. The vote was prompted by students who found the current nickname offensive to American Indians.

Ray Halbritter, the Oneida Nation's representative, told Cooperstown Central School students this week in a letter that their decision was courageous.

Halbritter says the nation, whose current territory is about 50 miles northwest of Cooperstown, would be honored to help buy the district new athletic jerseys.

The local school board is seeking input from the community before it makes a final decision. Possible new nicknames include Deerslayers, Hawkeyes and Pathfinders.

NEWSChannel 2 spoke with community members to find mixed reaction. "I wanted the pioneers personally, because the 13 colonies and they explored a lot of this area so," said Chase Ducey a Cooperstown 7th grader.

"I voted to keep the name because it has been tradition though all these years sports teams have been the Redskins," said Steven Serafen who's in the 10th grade.

The top picks of the vote were the Deerslayers, Hawkeyes, and Pathfinders, but some students don't know if the change is necessary - and many parents agreed.

"It's all about what's on the inside here," said Diane Ducey pointing to her heart. "And as far as I'm concerned if your intention is to be negative and intolerant, then that’s what it means to you, and if you're open minded and fair then it's going to be fine."

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