Woonsocket “Redmen” Team Name Disappears in Cross-Country Co-op

The Woonsocket school district has finally eliminated the last vestige of its “Redmen” team nickname from its books… but don’t think Woonsocket is giving in to political correctness. Heavens no: Woonsocket is just too small to field its own team in cross country:

The Woonsocket School Board unanimously voted to enter a co-operative agreement with Sanborn Central School for its cross country program, the last athletic activity at the school still participating in events under the “Redmen” moniker. The board approved the agreement at Tuesday’s regular school board meeting at the Woonsocket School.

Woonsocket Superintendent and Activities Director Rod Weber said the decision to co-op its final sport was more about growing the program than following a recommendation put forth earlier this year by the South Dakota High School Activities Association.

…”It just happens that’s our last sport with the Redmen (nickname) too,” Weber said. “But that’s the second discussion, the first discussion is how we can make the program more successful” [Evan Hendershot, “Woonsocket Redmen No More: School District Co-ops Final Sport,” Mitchell Daily Republic, 2016.04.13].

Hendershot reports “Redmen” is mostly gone from the Woonsocket school. The district has yet to remove an Indian logo from a scoreboard and “Redmen” from the school gym and from two floor mats at the front door (because stepping on “Redmen” on your way into the building every day is no big deal).

Where decency can’t prevail, can we settle for practicality?

As Woonsocket fans finally lose the opportunity to invoke my favorite prayer ever as they cheer their team on, Woonsocket cross-country runners join their other athletes in flying the Sanborn Central banner, which is still evolving from the old Rebels to the official Blackhawks. Artesian and Letcher consolidated in 1991; they used “Rebel” as their mascot through their name change to Sanborn Central in 2005. Artesian used to be the Rams; Letcher, the Tigers.

School logos displayed on Sanborn Central website, downloaded 2016.04.14.
School logos displayed on Sanborn Central website, downloaded 2016.04.14.

I don’t know who that Rebel in buckskin and a feathered French hat is supposed to be, Black Hawk was a Sauk leader whose people were pushed west of the Mississippi in 1804. Black Hawk joined the British to fight expansionist Americans in 1812, then waged his own war (really, it’s named for him: the Black Hawk War) in 1832, leading a counterinvasion from Iowa into Illinois against American militiamen who included Abraham Lincoln.

35 Responses to Woonsocket “Redmen” Team Name Disappears in Cross-Country Co-op

  1. crossgrain

    The Woonsocket Moon Rockets always had a nice ring to it. Ah, well. So much for missed opportunities :-(

  2. mike from iowa

    There you go beating up iowa again. :)

  3. bret clanton

    I would guess it is an image of why we do not speak the King’s English….. https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/19/1b/24/191b24c25ccc5f69609057a020a791f2.jpg

  4. Don Coyote

    Actually the hat is an English cavalier hat first popularized during the reign of King Charles I.


  5. I enjoy reading your articles. However, the last paragraph in this article is a bit bothersome. I think it is clear from the logo that the intended mascot was a bird, not a fighting Sauk leader. I do think we should remove offensive logos, but this hint of impropriety is really stretching it! Seriously!

  6. Sue, perhaps I am spreading mayonnaise on suppositions, but where would the name “Black Hawks” come from? Are black hawks a populous species in that stretch of the James River Valley? Or did they borrow the name from the popular Chicago team? My brief search of newspaper articles and school sites didn’t produce a history of the name selection process. Any local historians have some background?

  7. Don, I’ve seen the chapeau referred to as a Musketeer hat as well (ears optional). Did the style originate in England? And were those clever Artesian-Letcher kids honoring one side of the English Civil War? If so, isn’t it odd that they would call themselves Rebels but adopt that hat of the Royalists who lost?

  8. https://search.yahoo.com/search;_ylt=A0SO8yP7FhFXZF8AkBRXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTE3cTgybWpoBGNvbG8DZ3ExBHBvcwM1BHZ0aWQDQTAxOThfMQRzZWMDcmVsLWJvdA–?p=black+hawk+bird&type=B211US105D20140723&ei=UTF-8&fr2=rs-bottom%2Cp%3As%2Cv%3Aw%2Cm%3Aat-s&fr=mcafee

    Perhaps it was a mascot all could agree with and had no local meaning. I believe the mascot was a matter of students brainstorming, submitting ideas, and then voting. I assure you, there was NO intended purpose in picking this name than to choose a mascot both schools agreed upon that was appropriate in today’s world. How in the world do we automatically go to “spreading mayonnaise on suppositions” and say they borrowed it from a team that uses an Indian Chief’s head as its logo. Let’s just suppose these kids innocently picked a black hawk bird and went with it. I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt. I don’t see ANY controversy here. Just because one school had an Indian mascot previously, doesn’t mean they were in any way, shape, or form trying to sneak a new one in for good measure. Goodness!

  9. Sue,

    Or the name could be the result of the shenanigans of a rather sinister and nefarious Chicago BlackHawks hockey fan. When I was a little leaguer, we were mostly Twins fans so we wanted to be the Twins but the vocal minority would have none of that. So, one of the coaches suggested we be the Toro’s. Sounded cool, we had a mean looking black bull for a logo, and we went with it. Later, I found out the Toro’s were a minor league team affiliated with the Twin’s bitter rival, Chicago White Sox. That t-shirt was quickly taken out of my chest of drawers and used as a grease rag. Fanatics of the Chicago sports franchises are a slimy and slippery bunch. This is not a coincidence and every Minnesota Wild fan needs to know the truth.

  10. Troy,
    Perhaps! Ha! :>) Your story made me smile. Thanks!

  11. Porter Lansing

    Bet ‘ya didn’t know this. Through Instagram I have friends worldwide. We often communicate with emojis or iTranslate. It was brought to my attention from chef friends in Sweden and Norway that their countries and people prefer not to glorify the history of the Vikings, as they were a violent, bloodthirsty and thieving part of the country’s history. Similar to the way slavery isn’t glorified in USA. When Scandanavians do Viking re-enactments they don’t do any of the violence just the other innovations the Vikings gave to the world.

  12. Porter Lansing

    … I guess that’s a long winded way of saying that people in Norway and Sweden don’t like that an American football team is called the Vikings any more that USA people would like a European soccer team call the SLAVERS with a picture of a black man hanging by the neck from a tree.

  13. Don Coyote

    @cah: Not certain who originated the style as the history is a bit murky. It seems to have been popular all over Europe from about the 1620s/40s until it was replaced with the tricorne hat at the end of the 17th century and beginning of the 18th century.

    Not surprising that the English cavaliers were royalists as the famous musketeers of Alexandre Dumas, the Musketeers of the Guard, were the king’s personal guards.

    FWIW. The hat’s left side was worn up to allow the musketeer to shoulder his musket. The right side was used to shield the musketeers face from the flash pan of the musket when fired. Supposedly that is where the phrase “flash in the pan” may have come from.

  14. Porter,

    Similar to Brits being proud of their explorers without endorsing the pirate minority, the Scandinavians are actually quite proud of their Viking heritage so long as they are properly portrayed in context. The Vikings (which really was a culturization of the region) introduced commerce, order, civilization to the region via their development of a shipping industry and remote settlements down Britain, Canada, western Europe, western Africa, and in the Mediteranean. Instead of the sea-trading model common of the era (Greek ships going to Egyptian ports to trade and vice versa), the Vikings would settle an area and those people would trade with the locals, the Viking ships would come to those Viking settled areas, drop off and pick up, and go to the next port.

    Because of they were the long-haul shippers, had to handle rougher waters, travel greater distances, Viking ships were more versatile and more efficient with regard to size of crew. Many Viking design components ended up being incorporated into designs which ultimately were adopted by the Spanish and British fleets five hundred years later.

    What they don’t like is the modern caricature of them either as pirates (which is a small component of their activity) or marauders. Maybe this second part is what you meant by “not glorify.”

  15. Porter Lansing

    I disagree, Troy … my friends are proud of their Viking heritage but not all of it. The marauding culture is a large part of Viking history and modern Scandanavians try to downplay it, however valid it really is. Much like we in USA try to downplay our slave culture which is just as much a large part of our history.

    Do any of you on the blog watch VIKINGS on the History channel. I never miss it.

  16. Sue, I find Troy’s story funny and plausible. Team names don’t usually just come out of nowhere. That Sanborn Central has the same team name as a major league sports team strikes me as more than coincidence.

  17. Plus, as Douglas’s Audubon link shows, the common black hawk is not native to South Dakota. We have to go to the far Southwest to spot them.

  18. Viking shipping and trading came the continental North America centuries before Columbus. What they are looking at now is how far down the eastern seaboard of the United States they went and also, how far inland they established trading partners.

  19. I don’t think I’m disagreeing with you. I think I’m agreeing with you. They don’t like that the marauding component is the common perception that is all there is to the Viking culture when it was only a small component. I hope your friend’s downplaying is just to try to get it in its proper context and perspective and not pretend it didn’t exist. I think nobody is served in sanitizing history.

    I’ve not watched the series. As I binge watch seasons, I’ll probably start it some late fall and get through them all before Spring.

  20. Porter Lansing

    I say it was a large part and you say it was a small part. That’s a disagreement, sir.

    The series is very valid and follows history as only the HISTORY CHANNEL will spend the money on sets and research. This is season 4 and the second assault on Paris is beginning. It’s on Thursday night.

  21. Jerry, if you find out the answer, I’d like to hear it. My understanding (which could be wrong) was except for their invasions of Britain and Northern France (which were likely opportunistic), the Vikings didn’t venture far off the coast but had a model that was essentially small, self-contained, non-threatening out-posts/ports where the locals came to them to trade. If I’m correct, its not likely Vikings themselves went inland.

    Also if I remember correct, the Vikings didn’t stick around in North America for very long. Conventional wisdom is they were met with more hostility than they were along Europe, Middle East, and Africa. I subscribe to the theory they just didn’t find the “route” profitable enough.

    Think of Walmart and all the little stores that build up around Walmarts. The Dutch/Greek/Persian/Venetian/Egyptian ports were the Walmarts of their day. The Vikings built the small stores in the neighborhood. When they came to North America, there was no Walmart so they realized their model wouldn’t work. That is what I think.

    Another tangential diversion, the Roman Empire moved into Britain early 100 BC I think to take advantage of the metal resources. The reason the Vikings moved on Britain in the 10th Century? is the Roman Empire was breaking up and the normal routes of British products was being disrupted making the Brits weak, and Britain was the main competition for their metal products. Because from the Brit perspective, the Vikings were marauders and that is the perspective from which the Viking “history” is written, this is why that is the prevailing perception of the Vikings.

  22. Porter Lansing

    Troy … every aspect of your Viking story is played in full detail in the series starting with the invasion of Sussex in 895. It’s a fascinating soap.
    As a backstory … a Stockholm chef posted a photo of some food he said went back to Viking times. I mentioned that I was a “yuge” fan of the series. He said he was aware of it but it wasn’t popular in Sweden because it was a part of their history they weren’t that apt to glorify. I believe that Scandinavia (being much like Germany) they think little of hiding parts of their history that portray them poorly. Whereas in USA we’ll show “ROOTS” even though it portrays we whites as pigs.
    -A question for you Mr. Jones (off topic but current). What do you think of Obama’s new regulations for investment counselors saying they can’t sell people the investment where the counselor makes the most money but they must now do what’s most beneficial for the customer under penalty of law?
    Let me predict … You think it’s a convoluted regulation that will take years to sort out. It was a hasty regulation without the benefit of the market taken into consideration. Am I on base, here?

  23. 1) I think the Vikings are more complex than the common presentation of them as marauders, a perception fed because of who they attacked. I just read the show summary and it does center on a family whose “family business” was looting.

    2) Regarding the regulation, I think it will reduce the pool of offered investments to the small investor/saver to lower yielding investments/products and/or the caliber of advisors willing to work with small investors without charging them so much the fees eat up the entire return. The reason is the regulation and associated cost to be “audit proof.” It will have absolutely no impact on investors who invest/save over $2,500 a month. Here is the financial impact:

    If I invest/save $100 a month and get an annual yield of 3% (after advisor fees), I’ll have $33,212 in twenty years.

    If I invest/save $100 a month and get an annual yield of 7% (after advisor fees), I’ll have $52,638 in twenty years.

    But the yield differential is not the biggest negative impact. The biggest impact will be there will be less people getting investment advice and their will be more people living paycheck to paycheck without a rainy day fund or savings for retirement.

  24. Porter,

    P.S. You didn’t describe the regulation correctly. Investment advisors always have had a fiduciary to their clients. That isn’t changing. What the regulation does is make the advisor go through more hoops to advise a stock fund (normally pays advisors more than government bond fund). So, since the increased income won’t compensate for the extra work, the path too often chosen/advised will be the low risk/low yield option.

  25. Porter Lansing

    Isn’t it true that if advisors weren’t selling products that enriched themselves too much the regulation wouldn’t have been written?
    – Saying the series focuses on a “family” is downplay. It’s the story of Ragnar, the king of the Vikings and scourge of England and France.


  26. Porter:

    Regulation: Your question has a presumption I don’t believe is true except for the unscrupolous (who are a small percentage or they wouldn’t be in business long (depend on referrals of friends and family) and these types of advisors won’t stop. The net is now going to impact the good advisors.

    Family: Family is a downplay but I think more accurate than the impression they were a monolithic kingdom like the Franks or Saxons. The Vikings weren’t organized in a singular kingdom as much as they were more small fiefdoms/tribes who all were sea-faring. Your web reference points out Ragnar is mostly an algamation of several Danish “kings”. Denmark itself a very small country is the smallest of the scandinavian countries.

    But to your point, it does look like the Danish Vikings were more pirate-like in reputation while the Norwegian Vikings were more traders/explorers as they had minerals like gold and Iron to trade while Denmark is a peninsula attached to what is now Germany (I don’t know if that means they didn’t have the minerals but it might explain why they weren’t traders). That said, it was the Norwegian Vikings who invaded Britain but that seems to have been more traditional invasions (conquering) common in the Middle Ages vs. marauding thievery.

    I guess in the end, I think there is more to the Vikings than pirate/marauders and I may be downplaying it like your Scandinavian friends. You think pirate/marauders is the major essence. I’m ok with disagreeing as I think the disagreement is only in degrees and not fundamental. If you think it is fundamental, I’m ok with disagreeing about that.

  27. P.S. FYI: Denmark is about 5% of the land mass of Scandinavia. Might not be what it was in the Middle ages but it is about 25% of the population.

  28. Porter Lansing

    Agreed, Mr. Jones. Have a pleasant weekend. It’s going to snow about half a foot here. I’m lucky, though. Littleton was built where it is because the wind doesn’t blow here.

  29. Don Coyote

    Personally I find the “History Channel” a hysterical misnomer. What history that is presented (wedged between the pawn, ice road trucking and junk collecting shows) is ahistorical, rife with errors, mistakes and plain bad history. The Vikings tv show has only served to reinforced those perceptions. I slogged through a couple of the early episodes and I can’t for the life of me see why this show has lasted as long as it has. Kirk Douglas did a much better job in his movie “The Vikings”.

  30. Porter Lansing

    Great comment from someone who’s opinion is so highly regarded as super-valid. If “the scrounger” hates it it must be good.

  31. Porter Lansing

    Sorry, varmint. That’s just my dark humor. I enjoy your opinions. You see, life sans contrast is much too German.

  32. Troy, Here is what I have been following for some time now. The BBC has more on this but here is what the English news reports http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/03/31/how-vikings-made-the-new-world-their-own/ This will give you a start, it is truly facinating. In old Celtic folklore, it is believed that the Portugese actually made it to New England to fish for Cod in times long before Columbus. Along the coast of Spain where it borders with Portugal, you can find Castros which are ancient settlements built by the Celts as they had a huge influence on that part of the world. In short, all of these mariners were first and foremost capitalist traders, why conquer when you can make trade.

  33. Troy, Here is the BBC on the Vikings http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-35935725