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Oklahoma City High School Replaces 'Redskins' Mascot With 'Red Wolves'

The Oklahoma City-based Capitol Hill High School announced last week that it will replace its former "Redskins" mascot with "Red Wolves."

In December, the Oklahoma City school board voted unanimously to drop the "Redskins" mascot, which had been in place for 88 years, effective immediately. Following the board's vote, Tierney Tinnin, the district's spokesperson, released the following statement (via KFOR.com):

Oklahoma City public schools respects and honors the Native American community and students in our district, state, and nation. The administration will immediately begin eliminating the use of the Redskins mascot and will create a committee of students, alumni, and community members to identify a new mascot for Capitol Hill High School before the end of the spring semester.

By March, a committee of students, alumni, and community members initially selected four possible alternatives: Red Hawks, Red Wolves, War Eagles, and Nations. Other mascots under consideration included Chieftains, Warriors, Wolverines, and Jaguars, but all four failed to make the cut. The former's allusion to American Indians is what disqualified it.

"Our students don't want the mascot that we chose now to be offensive 80 years from now," said faculty representative Curtis Phillips to News9.com. "So they were really looking ahead and wanting to choose something nobody could find offensive in any way."

The committee eventually settled upon Red Wolves and Guardians as the two alternatives, according to Tim Willert of The Oklahoman, putting the final decision in students' hands. The new mascot needed to "have meaning, instill pride, not embody human characteristics and retain the school's legacy," per Willert. Tinnin told him that the committee replaced Nations with Guardians because "they felt a little uneasy about Nations; they wanted something a little stronger."

Ultimately, 438 students participated in the vote, and Red Wolves won by 30, Willert reported.

"It is an exciting moment for Capitol Hill students, staff, and community," Principal Alex Souza told the paper. "It's been a challenge for the students, but at the same time I think they were excited about being new."

Oklahoma City's KOCO-5 shared a picture of the new logo: 

Changing mascots will cost the district nearly $230,000, according to Willert. That includes $87,766 for new athletic equipment, $36,136 for student clubs and organizations, $78,950 for facilities, $20,000 for uniforms and spirit apparel, and $7,100 in "transition costs." 

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, roughly 7.5 percent of Oklahoma's population is either American Indian or Alaska Native, while roughly 3.5 percent of Oklahoma City's population is American Indian. 

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