SeMo Students Move Forward With Plan To Rid School of "Indians" Nicknames

December 9, 2003 - Posted at 8:48 a.m. CDT

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO - The student government at Southeast Missouri State University supports a plan to stop calling the sports teams by American Indian nicknames.

Student senators voted 24-3 last night to support a change in the nicknames.

Men's teams at the school are called the Indians, and women's teams are the Otahkians.  The women's teams draw their name from a Cherokee woman who died on the Trail of Tears.

An alumni counsel has endorsed changing the names, which are seen as offensive by some American Indians.

The final decision would rest with the school's board of regents.

A university committee considered dropping the team nicknames in 1997.  Instead it decided the school could better educate people about American Indian heritage in southeast Missouri.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)