Sokaogon Chippewa Community News

Governor Evers Wants to Provide State Money to Help School Districts Shift Away from Native American Mascots and Logos

By Molly Beck, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

A sliver of Gov. Tony Evers’ $91 billion state budget would quietly wade into the unceasing debate over whether schools in Wisconsin should continue to promote team mascots depicting Native Americans.

Governor Evers wants to use $400,000 of tribal casino revenue to create a grant program to help school district officials pay to adopt a new nickname or logo for school merchandise, team uniforms and scoreboards, among other costs.

“Human beings are not mascots and it is past time to retire this harmful practice,” Wausau School Board president Tricia Zunker, a member of Wisconsin’s Ho-Chunk Nation, said Thursday in support of the governor’s proposal.

Twenty-eight school districts in Wisconsin — about 6% of them — use Native American images as mascots and nicknames that include “Chiefs,” “Indians,” “Warriors,” “Hatchets,” “Chieftains,” “Black Hawks,” “Flying Arrows,” and “Red Men.”

The governor is opting to use a less confrontational way to phase out the use of Native Americans as mascots than a law then-Gov. Jim Doyle signed in 2010 that made it nearly impossible for schools to keep their Native American team names, mascots or logos if they had complaints filed against them.

The proposed grant program from Evers also goes further than a law signed seven years ago by former Gov. Scott Walker that overturned Doyle’s law and made it more difficult to force school districts to change their mascots.

Read the full story here.