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Native Americans, 1: Injuns, 0

By Andrew Peerless in News on Feb 16, 2005 7:11PM

Score one for Native Americans! Following years of internal debate in the Village of Lemont, a community-wide vote this month and approval at Monday’s meeting of the District 210 Board of Education, the name “Injuns” has officially been dropped as the moniker of Lemont High School’s sports teams. The switch, to the not-so-offensive “Titans,” comes after five years of pressure from the Illinois Native American Bar Association, who are pleased with Lemont's decision but promise to continue fighting against the 27 Illinois high schools that still use “Indians” as their nicknames (not to mention the six that use “Redskins,” the three that go by “Braves” and the twenty that consider themselves “Warriors”).

(doctored)limestone from barakatgallery.comChicagoist thinks that “Titans” is a pretty good choice, especially considering that one (deluded?) school board member nodded to the Lemont area’s quarrying history by suggesting that the new name be “Blocks of Limestone.” Is anything less intimidating than a block of limestone? Shudder as you peer at that new mascot, at right.

Chief Illiniwek, from iwchildren.comChicagoist knows all about the tensions surrounding University of Illinois mascot Chief Illiniwek, but didn’t know about some of Illinois’ more colorful (and shameful) mascot names and issues. For instance, we know our Asian-American readers will be thrilled to know that Pekin High School, as recently as 1981, tipped its hat to the city’s name by designating its high school team “the Chinks.” Was there really a time when this wouldn’t have been offensive?

Chicagoist’s high school called its teams “the Cowboys,” which only caused controversy when the softball team demanded that they not be called “Cow-girls.” Though this makes sense, the subsequent change to “Lady Cowboys” just made no sense.