pcloudy.png
Wednesday September 23rd, 2020 9:27AM

Massachusetts bill would ban Native American school mascots

By The Associated Press

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts lawmakers are weighing whether to ban the use of Native American mascots in public schools — a proposal that drew strong opinions at a public hearing Tuesday.

The push comes after the town of Tewksbury rebuffed efforts to change the name of its high school mascot, the Redmen.

Linda Thomas has children in the first and fourth grades in Tewksbury and said she doesn't want to signal that "it's OK to use these images and memes and logos."

"The name has becomes so integrated and repeated that the meaning is lost," she said. "People using it don't intend to cause harm, but the impact is harmful and Native Americans have been saying this now for decades."

Thomas added it's hard to imagine any other racial group being used as a mascot.

State Rep. James Miceli, a Democrat who represents Tewksbury, said opinion in the town was overwhelmingly against changing the Redmen mascot. He urged fellow lawmakers to reject the bill outright or exempt communities that already have voted, as Tewksbury did at a town meeting.

"The Indians have been to that community many times," Miceli said after testifying. "We held powwows in that town. Never once when I have seen this did they mention anything in opposition" to the mascot.

There are even divisions among Native Americans.

Gloria Colon, outreach coordinator for the North American Indian Center of Boston, said she is troubled about the way some mascots are portrayed.

"Some of them depict large noses and some of them seem to be angry, so that's very offensive to me," said Colon, of Micmac heritage.

But Gene Weeden Williams, a Narragansett Indian who lives in Amesbury, saw nothing to be gained by going after Native American mascots.

"My people need help, but that's not the kind of help we need," said Williams, adding he does not take offense to sports teams using the names. "It could get worse for us by causing a division between my people and other people."

The bill defines a Native American mascot as a "name, symbol, or image that depicts or refers to an American Indian tribe, individual, custom, or tradition that is used by a public school as a mascot, nickname, logo, letterhead, or team name."

The bill gives specific examples, including "Redskins," ''Savages," ''Indians," ''Indianettes," ''Chiefs," ''Chieftains," ''Braves," or "Redmen."

Republican Gov. Charlie Baker said Monday he's waiting to see what action the Legislature takes, if any, but added, "I don't think anybody should use anything as a mascot in a derogatory sense."

Democratic Senate President Stan Rosenberg said he's heard mixed messages from residents.

In 2015, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation making the state the first to bar public schools from using the Redskins name for sports teams.

In Oregon, school districts with tribal mascots must do away with them by July 1. The state makes exceptions for districts that get the approval of one of Oregon's nine tribes. In Wisconsin, opponents of Native American mascots can file a complaint.

In 1993, the Washington State Board of Education passed a resolution encouraging schools to drop Native American mascots.

Some Massachusetts school districts have taken similar action. In 1988 Wellesley High dropped the word "red" from its Red Raiders nickname and adopted a pirate mascot.

Since then, Frontier Regional School in Deefield changed its name from Redskins to Red Hawks. Natick switched from "Redmen" to Red Hawks. And the Gill-Montague Regional School Committee dropped Indians as the mascot for Turners Falls High School.

The controversy has also embroiled professional sports teams, notably the NFL's Washington Redskins and the Cleveland Indians of Major League Baseball.

In 2014, the U.S. Patent and Trademark office declined to register several trademarks for the Redskins, a franchise that was founded in Boston in the 1930s, citing federal regulations against protecting words and images that are disparaging or offensive. The team argued the rule violates the First Amendment.

___

This story has been corrected to show opponents of Native American mascots in Wisconsin can file a complaint, not that the state bans such mascots, and to delete an incorrect reference to a Minnesota ban.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Baseball , AP Online Football, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Sports - Major League Baseball, AP Sports - NFL
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Siding against ally Qatar, Trump injects US into Arab crisis
Trump is injecting the U.S. into a volatile Mideast crisis by siding with Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries against Qatar
4:27PM ( 8 minutes ago )
Kuwait tries to mediate crisis between Qatar, Arab nations
Kuwait is trying to mediate a resumption of diplomatic and commercial ties between Qatar and several of its Arab neighbors
4:26PM ( 10 minutes ago )
Ole Miss disputes NCAA lack of institutional control charge
The University of Mississippi has disputed the NCAA's charges of lack of institutional control and failure to monitor by head coach Hugh Freeze
4:25PM ( 10 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Utah baseball team cancels 'Hourglass Appreciation' event
A minor league baseball team in Utah is under fire for a planned "Hourglass Appreciation Night" promotion
4:19PM ( 16 minutes ago )
Jets release David Harris, franchise's 2nd-leading tackler
The New York Jets have released linebacker David Harris, a stunning move in which they part ways with the second-leading tackler in franchise history
4:16PM ( 19 minutes ago )
Team New Zealand capsizes in America's Cup challenger race
Emirates Team New Zealand has capsized at the start of an America's Cup challenger semifinal race, throwing at least one crewman into the water and damaging the 50-foot catamaran
3:50PM ( 46 minutes ago )
AP Sports
The Latest: VA senator say Russia hacking more widespread
The Senate intelligence committee's ranking Democrat says hacking into state voting systems was more widespread than has been disclosed.
4:19PM ( 16 minutes ago )
Voters get to work deciding on Gov. Christie's replacement
The candidates running to replace New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie have fanned out across the state as voters get down to the business of picking a successor
4:04PM ( 31 minutes ago )
Cuomo, Pelosi urge defeat of NY's GOP congress
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi are launching an effort to oust New York state's 8 GOP Congress members
3:55PM ( 40 minutes ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
The Latest: Flynn turns over documents to Senate panel
Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn has turned over about 600 pages of documents to a Senate committee investigating Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
3:01PM ( 1 hour ago )
A look at James Comey's memorable moments on Capitol Hill
James Comey's appearance Thursday before the Senate intelligence committee is one of the most anticipated congressional hearings in years. The ousted FBI director has a flare for the dramatic, and has captured the congressional spotlight in the past
2:49PM ( 1 hour ago )
Homeland chief suggests Kushner part of Russia probe
Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly indicated Tuesday that President Donald Trump's son in law and top adviser Jared Kushner and his communications with Russia are part of a wide-ranging probe by the Justice Department's independent counsel
2:36PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Online Congress News
Siding against ally Qatar, Trump injects US into Arab crisis
Trump is injecting the U.S. into a volatile Mideast crisis by siding with Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries against Qatar
4:27PM ( 8 minutes ago )
Kuwait tries to mediate crisis between Qatar, Arab nations
Kuwait is trying to mediate a resumption of diplomatic and commercial ties between Qatar and several of its Arab neighbors
4:26PM ( 10 minutes ago )
Ole Miss disputes NCAA lack of institutional control charge
The University of Mississippi has disputed the NCAA's charges of lack of institutional control and failure to monitor by head coach Hugh Freeze
4:25PM ( 10 minutes ago )
The Latest: Jordan scales down ties with Qatar
Jordan has announced it is scaling back its diplomatic ties with Qatar and that it will close the local office of the Gulf nation's Al-Jazeera TV channel
4:24PM ( 11 minutes ago )
Twitter users, blocked by President Trump, cry censorship
President Donald Trump may be the nation's tweeter-in-chief, but some users say he's violating the First Amendment by blocking people who've posted criticisms.
4:23PM ( 12 minutes ago )