UNC-Pembroke Defends Use Of School Nickname
Posted April 25, 2003 1:59 a.m. EDT
ROBESON COUNTY, N.C. — Florida State has the Seminoles and Washington has the Redskins, but the St. John's Redmen and Marquette Warriors are no more. The NCAA is looking at whether other college teams should lose their Indian nicknames.
As the issue came up at a national meeting Thursday, one school in the University of North Carolina system was watching with great interest.
has landed in the middle of a national debate.
In January, an NCAA committee sent the university, and 30 other schools, a letter asking it to justify its use of Native American imagery.
UNC-Pembroke's nickname is the "Braves." Its logo is an American Indian with a redtail hawk.
"We were founded as a Native American school in 1887," said Angela Weston, of the UNC-Pembroke chancellor's office. "The Native American enrollment is about 22 percent and we actively recruit Native Americans."
Many people at UNC-Pembroke say this is a case of political correctness gone too far. This university was founded for and by Native Americans and they are proud of their heritage.
The school enrolls many Lumbee indians, whose leaders suggest the NCAA is using a one-size-fits-all approach.
"I don't see how they can tell us we couldn't use the name Braves. It's not for them to say. If the community wants it to be that, and that's how they feel, then that's what it should be," said Donavon Hunt, a Native American student.
The college's board of trustees agree, are are working to convince the NCAA to let them be.
In 1991, the school changed its logo to what was considered a more dignified image. No word yet on how the nickname issue fared before the NCAA board of directors.