Summary: Stereotypical American Indian sports mascots are symbols of disrespect that degrade Native people and especially harm youth. The Prohibition on American Indian Mascots Act bans the use of such disrespectful names and images by K-12 schools within the jurisdiction.
Text is based on Washington HB 1356 (2021) and Colorado SB 116 (2021)
Nevada AB 88 (2021) goes a step further by also prohibiting Confederates names and images.
For more information, see: Pew Research
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE
This Act shall be called the “Prohibition on American Indian Mascots Act.”
SECTION 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSE
(A) FINDINGS—The legislature finds that:
1) Stereotypical American Indian sports mascots are symbols of disrespect that degrade, mock, and harm Native people, especially youth.
2) The National Congress of American Indians, comprised of hundreds of tribal nations, reports that its members have been passing resolutions to oppose American Indian mascots since 1968.
3) The National Football League’s Washington Football Team stopped using the nickname Redskins, a racial slur, and Major League Baseball’s Cleveland team stopped using the name Indians after previously retiring their Chief Wahoo logo.
4) Studies have shown that Native mascots cause psychological harm to both Indigenous students and their non-Native counterparts. As a result, the American Psychological Association called for an end to the use of such mascots.
5) While many K-12 schools have voluntarily changed their mascots in response to these concerns, nicknames such as Indians, Braves and Warriors—and even slurs such as Savages and Redskins—remain entrenched in many communities.
6) The use of racially derogatory or discriminatory school mascots, logos, or team names in publicly funded schools is antithetical to their mission of providing an equal education to all, and contrary to the goal of making schools safe and respectful learning environments.
(B) PURPOSE—This law is enacted to provide equal opportunity for all people in the state by discouraging the use of racist mascots.
SECTION 3. POLICY AGAINST AMERICAN INDIAN MASCOTS
After section XXX, the following new section XXX shall be inserted:
(A) POLICY AGAINST AMERICAN INDIAN MASCOTS—Except as provided in section (B), no K-12 school shall receive public funding if it employs a mascot, team name, nickname, symbol or image that depicts or refers to American Indians in general or to a particular American Indian tribe, individual, custom or tradition.
(B) EXCEPTION—Section (A) does not apply where an agreement to allow a specified mascot, team name, nickname, symbol or image exists between the school and a federally recognized American Indian tribe which is located within or adjacent to the county where the school is located. Such an agreement shall be capable of termination by either party upon one year’s notice.
(C) FUNDING FOR COMPLIANCE—Any school using an American Indian mascot, team name, nickname, symbol or image on the date this section is enacted may apply to the [Department of Education] for a grant through the [XXX Program] to accomplish any changes that might be necessary to come into compliance.
SECTION 4. EFFECTIVE DATE
This law shall become effective on July 1, 202X.