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Michigan coalition puts up billboard calling on Paw Paw Schools to change name

The Michigan Coalition Against Racism in Sports & Media has posted a billboard on the north side of Interstate 94 outside of Paw Paw that gives the definition of the term Redskin, being a "very offensive [word] and should be avoided." (Courtesy: Michigan Coalition Against Racism in Sports & Media)

The Michigan Coalition Against Racism in Sports & Media has posted a billboard on the north side of Interstate 94 outside of Paw Paw that gives the definition of the term Redskin, being a "very offensive [word] and should be avoided."

The organization, originally founded by Native Americans, is taking aim at Paw Paw High School, who is one of the last five schools throughout the state of Michigan that have yet to change their name from the deemed offensive word. The other schools include Saranac High School in Saranac, Mich., Camden Frontier School in Camden, Mich, Clinton High School in Clinton, Mich. and Sandusky High School in Sandusky, Mich. The website boasts that 26 schools throughout Michigan have already changed their name away from "Redskins,' including Marshall High School in 2005 and Ottawa Hills High School in 2004.

The word "redskin," according to the release from the coalition, is "a colonial term referencing the bloody skins and scalps of Native people hunted for bounty." The group is working to encourage all organizations across the state to remove the word from sports teams, mascotry and behaviors as they "have been proven to [be detrimental] to the mental and emotional health of the Native youth."

In Feb. 2017, the Paw Paw School Board voted to keep the name and mascot after numerous contentious meetings regarding the issue.

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