Adidas launches effort to help schools with harmful mascots

A mural at the Tulare Union High School in California. The state has banned the use of "Redskins" at its public schools, the first in the United States to do so. Photo from Waymarking

The adidas sports apparel company is joining the campaign to eliminate harmful mascots.

The German-based company will help high schools that want to get rid of their "Indian" mascots, images and other symbols. Design support and financial assistance will be offered to ensure that such changes aren't cost prohibitive.

"That's a great example of corporate leadership," Valerie Jarrett, a senior advisor to President Barack Obama, said at the White House Tribal Nations Conference in Washington, D.C., on Thursday.

About 2,000 schools in the United States are still using harmful "Indian" symbols. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell has personal with one of them -- a high school she attended in Washington state had a "not a very attractive mascot" that was based on a stereotypical image of an Indian person, she said.

But with the help of Adidas, schools will able to develop mascots, logos and other symbols "that everyone can be proud of," Jewell said at the conference.

High schools interested in changing their mascot identity can email their request to

In addition to helping schools, the company is helping found a coalition that will take on the use of "Indian" mascots in sports.

"Today we are harnessing the influence of sports in our culture to lead change for our communities," Eric Liedtke, a board member who is attending the conference, said in a press release. "adidas is proud to provide a pathway for high schools and communities who want to create new identities."

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