Push Continues in Iowa to Remove Native American Mascots in Schools
Tuesday, November 2, 2021
MASON CITY, Iowa -- The Atlanta Braves are part of this year's World Series, and their name, imagery and chant face growing backlash to be replaced with something not related to Indigenous culture, as some other pro-teams have done.
It's not just a pro-sports issue. In Iowa, there are new efforts to change mascot names in public schools.
In Mason City, the school board is discussing whether the high school's "Mohawk" nickname should be discontinued.
Le Anne Clausen de Montes, coordinator of the Iowa Change the Name Coalition and a mother of Indigenous children in the district, said while some say it is part of school tradition, it is not a reason to keep using it.
"You think about the tradition of tens of thousands of years of Indigenous peoples in North America or elsewhere, and, you know, 95 or 100 years pales in comparison," de Montes asserted.
Coinciding with the local effort is a letter from the Meskwaki Nation, which calls upon 66 schools in Iowa to retire Native-themed mascots.
Aside from arguments about school traditions, others reluctant to change these names contend they were adopted to honor Indigenous people. But groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union countered all the nicknames do is perpetuate stereotypes.
De Montes acknowledged in many cases, it is likely the nicknames were first decided upon without the intention of creating harm. She argued it speaks to a broader lack of awareness when it comes to other cultures.
"For a lot of folks, it's just simply not having good information, not knowing how to ask the questions about the use of Native American names," de Montes explained.
She feels there is less hostility toward the movement to retire these names, citing the racial reckoning from the past year. And at the pro level, franchises such as the Major League Baseball team in Cleveland are making changes. In Iowa, the Marion School District recently retired its "Indians" nickname.
get more stories like this via email
Frustrated environmental and clean-energy advocates say after four long years of debate and compromise, regulators sent Arizona back to the starting …
When North Dakotans head out to cast their ballots later this year, there is a chance some will do so in a voting center and not a designated …
South Dakota continues to grapple with its low ranking when it comes to paying schoolteachers, but the issue is getting focus in 2022, including a …
Health and Wellness
Washington state lawmakers are considering a measure to limit the growing cost of prescription drugs. Senate Bill 5532 would establish a …
The Maryland Air National Guard is considering a proposal to establish airspace where military planes would fly as low as 100 feet over the Pennsylvan…
The state of Illinois is allocating nearly a quarter-billion dollars to support new downstate transit and ports projects. Roughly half will go …
Health and Wellness
Advocates and faith groups are calling for more investments in harm reduction across the state, as new provisional data shows overdose deaths have …
More than 300 Kentucky farmers participated in the state's Farms to Food Banks program last year, and at a recent virtual rally, state officials said …