School board to discuss Sheridan Elementary name change

SPOKANE, Wash. — The Spokane Public Schools board will discuss changing the name of Sheridan Elementary in a board meeting Tuesday evening.

Some local schools are on the clock to come up with new team names that do not use Native American symbols and names—schools like the North Central Indians. Sheridan Elementary is contending with a slightly different problem.

The school’s namesake, Union General Philip Sheridan, oversaw a campaign “pacifying” Native Americans in the Midwest and driving them into reservations, battling the Cheyenne, Kiowa and Comanche tribes.

His tactics included stealing their supplies, killing their livestock, executing people who resisted and hiring hunters to kill off herds of bison to further drive the Native Americans back.

Most famously, the phrase “The only good Indian is a dead Indian” is largely attributed to Sheridan.

The SPS board was approached by representatives from Sheridan Elementary who requested their school’s name change. One of them was a sixth grade student who told the board she learned about General Sheridan.

“My neighborhood, my kids and my families need a place to be proud of,” Sheridan principal Larry Quisano told the board. “Please consider renaming the school that to some doesn’t reflect who we are, as educators, as a community and as a family in the East Central neighborhood.”

The board will discuss the name change in a public forum Tuesday from 6:30–8 p.m. For more information, visit the Spokane Public Schools website here.

RELATED: Gov. Jay Inslee signs ban on Native American school mascots

PAST COVERAGE: North Central High School student helps create bill to remove Native American mascots