Okemos Schools Will Discontinue Using ‘Chiefs’ Nickname
The Okemos Public Schools Board of Education voted earlier this week to discontinue using the nickname Chiefs.
The Lansing State Journal says that decision comes after several students, alumni, and residents have commented that the nickname is an "offensive caricature of indigenous people."
The school was named after Chief Okemos and has been since Katie Cavanaugh, a secretary for the Board of Education, was a student at Okemos High School in the 1990s.
Cavanaugh told the Lansing State Journal that the nickname has always made her uncomfortable because it's offensive and gendered.
There have been some individuals who have expressed keeping the nickname as they thought it was a great way to honor American Indians and Chief Okemos.
But after discussing it with Native American leaders, Trustee Andrew Phelps says they discovered it was the exact opposite.
Now we know … it’s clear that not only is it not honoring (American Indians), it’s disrespectful and it’s offensive.
Plans on changing Okemos schools mascot
There is no set date for when the schools mascot will be changed, but the board hopes all changes can be made by 2024.
The process of having to change the schools mascot will not only require a set amount of time but will cost the district over $400,000. The total estimated cost is $427,327 because the school will have to remove all of the former signage and have it replaced.
Some of the items that will need to be rebranded are scoreboards, athletic courts and the turf football field that was installed in 2018.
You can read the full story on the Lansing State Journal's website.