Two Cooperstown High School students took the national spotlight as the Oneida Indian Nation protested the Washington Redskins mascot. YNN's Andrew Sorensen reports.
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. -- There was a renewed call on Monday to change the name of the Washington Redskins. The Oneida Indian Nation and their representative, Ray Halbritter, are leading the charge.
Halbritter said, "And then when we say what it does to a larger society, it damages all children, because children are learning what bullying is, and learning to do it."
However, it's two of the youngest voices on the panel, Emily Greenburg and Catherine Borgstrom, who have some of the most experience on the subject.
"Even if one person is offended, that's enough. And if it's not enough, then I'll show that I'm a second person,' said Borgstrom.
The pair have been successful in changing a mascot before. At Cooperstown Central School, Athletic Director Monica Wolfe said their Redskins tradition dates back to the '30s.
"But there definitely is a rich history of athletics and pride," said Wolfe.
The mascot has been controversial over the years, and people have proposed to change it at least twice. Last year, another group of students took the same complaint to the school's administration.
Greenburg was one of those students. She had just finished a summer program working with Navajo students.
"At one point I had to tell them that our mascot was the Redskins, and that really affected me. That was difficult, and they were offended," she said.
Borgstrom and other students signed on shortly after.
"The board changed the name, the nickname to the Cooperstown Hawkeyes," said District Superintendent CJ Hebert.
Hebert said they don't have a take on the Washington team, their focus is on their students.
"Regardless of whether people are for the change, or not for the change, their ability to participate in this national dialogue is unique and certainly something that we're very excited for them," he said.
The stand against the name is getting more support. President Barack Obama even told the AP he would think about changing the name if he owned the team.
The Washington Redskins issued a response to the President's comments:
"We at the Redskins respect everyone. But like devoted fans of the Atlanta Braves, the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago Blackhawks... We love our team and its name and, like those fans, we do not intend to disparage or disrespect a racial or ethnic group."
The NFL says they plan to meet with the Oneidas as soon as next month.