HONOLULU — A Hawaii school plans to change its mascot after receiving complaints the name was disrespectful to Native Americans.
The Kahuku High and Intermediate School on Oahu will no longer be known as the Red Raiders, Hawaii News Now reported Monday.
Principal Donna Lindsey announced the change in a letter last week, which said the school received complaints that the nickname and use of a so-called tomahawk chop gesture by supporters were “disrespectful and potentially discriminatory toward Native Americans.”
The school’s logo also displays an artistic rendering of a Native American person.
The Kahuku school administration said it will choose a new mascot with help from a neutral third party and stakeholders from the community.
Lindsey did not immediately respond to a request for more information about the decision.
Former Kahuku head football Coach Reggie Torres said he was surprised by the change.
“As a coach for many years, all the kids that came through our program, they wanted to feel that experience of the 12th man on the field, seeing the crazy crowd with the chops and the noise and the cheers and the support,” Torres said.
The change follows the discontinuation of similar names and likenesses by other schools and organizations throughout the country, including professional sports franchises.
The National Football League’s Washington Redskins changed its name to the Washington Football Team, while Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Indians organization no longer uses the Chief Wahoo mascot.