One of them was Royce Young, who wrote about the university's "mascot crisis" in an online forum in 2007:
"But why can't OU bring back Little Red? Oklahoma prides itself on being 'Native America.' American Indian heritage is something that is more prevalent in this state than any other in the nation. Would it be so wrong to have Native American imagery representing 'Native America?' "
Young, 27, and a writer for CBS Sports, said he now believes he would have written a more educated post after having discussed the mascot issue with Native Americans.
"I wouldn't say I regret writing it," he said. "But I'd be much more sensitive of understanding why Little Red was insensitive to some instead of saying, 'What's the big deal?' "
Royce said he saw nothing wrong with Oklahoma honoring its native people, but not with a tasteless mascot.
Several college teams followed Oklahoma's footsteps and dropped Native American mascots -- Stanford and Syracuse among them.
The movement to do away with Indian mascots gained momentum after the American Psychological Association in 2005 called for the immediate retirement of the mascots based on studies that showed the harmful effects of inaccurate racial portrayals.
The following year, the NCAA, the governing body of collegiate sports, adopted a policy banning teams with "hostile or abusive racial/ethnic/national origin mascots, nicknames or imagery" from competition. The ban affected high-powered football schools such as Florida State University with Chief Osceola and the University of Illinois, whose official symbol was Chief Illiniwek.
Some states have put the morality of the Indian mascots up for a vote.
Last year, voters dumped the University of North Dakota's Fighting Sioux mascot. And Oregon prohibited public schools from the use of Native American names, symbols or images. The names on the banned list include: Redskins, Savages, Indians, Indianettes, Chiefs and Braves.
At Florida State University, a white man dresses up as Chief Osceola, smears war paint on his face and rides an appaloosa called Renegade to the middle of Doak Campbell Stadium. He plants a burning spear on the field before every home game. The marching band plays Indian-themed music, and the crowd goes wild doing the "tomahawk chop," a moved picked up by the Atlanta Braves.
FSU student Lincoln Golike, who played Osceola in 2002, told the Florida State Times back then that it was tremendous honor to have so many admiring fans.
The Seminole tribe in Florida made an agreement with FSU to allow the use of its name that allows the university to continue competing in the NCAA. The university says its relationship with the Seminole tribe is one of mutual respect.
However, the Seminole nation in Oklahoma, comprised of the descendants of a majority of the Seminoles forced from their lands by the Indian Removal Act, has voiced its opposition to FSU's mascot.
The real Chief Osceola fought U.S. soldiers in the Seminole Wars. He was captured in 1837 under a flag of truce and died in prison. Before his burial, the soldiers chopped off the head of the Indian warrior to keep as a trophy. That Osceola serves as a mascot at FSU doesn't sit well with the Seminoles in Oklahoma and many other Native Americans.
"Native Americans feel offended, they feel hurt. They feel their identity is being trivialized," says Carol Spindel, who wrote "Dancing at Halftime," a book that explored native mascots.
"This is such an ingrained part of American culture that it's very hard to get people to question it," says Spindel, a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where the official symbol used to be Chief Illiniwek. He was the subject of debate for decades and made his last appearance in 2007 under the threat of NCAA sanctions.
But five years later, there are still some who want Illiniwek back. A nonbinding student referendum held just weeks ago strongly favored making him the official mascot again.
Spindel concluded in her book that mascots such as Chief Illiniwek were a reflection not of native people but of those who invented them.
"If we do a census of the population in our collective imagination, imaginary Indians are one of the largest demographic groups," Spindel writes in her book.
"They dance, they drum, they go on the warpath; they are always young men who wear trailing feather bonnets. Symbolic servants, they serve as mascots and metaphors. We rely on these images to anchor us to the land and verify our account of our own past. But as these Indians exist only in our own imaginations, they provide a solipsistic connection and leave us, ultimately, untethered and rootless."
At 67, Harjo believes she has made strides in her struggle to do away with racial stereotypes but says Native Americans have a long way to go.
"Because we as Indians, we don't have the numbers," she says, referring to the dwindling population. The latest census listed 2.9 million people as American Indian and Alaska Native.
"So we don't pose a threat," she says. "If we organized a march, the numbers would be so small. We've done it school by school. State by state."
Harjo knows if the powerful Washington football team is forced to discard its name, then everyone else will follow. But for now, she takes pride in small victories.