Education

Bill in Massachusetts outlaws use of 'Indian' mascots in schools





Lawmakers in Massachusetts held a public hearing to discuss a bill that outlaws the use of Indian imagery in public schools.

S.291 bars specific mascots, nicknames and logos like "Redskins" and "Savages" and "Redmen." It also outlaws symbols related to any "American Indian tribe, individual, custom, or tradition."

"This is my identity, this is my history, and I want to be represented accurately," Jason Packineau, a citizen of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation who works at at the Harvard University Native American Program, said at the hearing in Boston on Wednesday, WBUR reported. Packineau is pictured in the Boston Herald tweet posted above.

The bill does not impose a deadline for schools to get rid of their Indian imagery. It also does not say whether any funds can be used to help schools come up with new symbols, something that has occurred in other states.

Other states also have encouraged tribes to work with school districts to change their imagery. In Oregon, at least two tribes have entered into agreements that promote their histories and cultures in classrooms.

According to WBUR, about 40 schools in Massachusetts use "Indian" mascots.

Read More on the Story:
Bill Would Ban Native American Mascots In Mass. Public Schools (WBUR 6/6)
Massachusetts bill would ban Native American school mascots (AP 6/6)
Native American mascot legislation debated (State House News Service 6/6)
Ban On Native American School Mascots Debated At State House (CBC 6/6)
Beacon Hill bill calls foul on the mascot (The Boston Herald 6/7)