Complaint: End American Indian Mascots In Schools - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Complaint: End American Indian Mascots In Schools


It's been a heated debate for decades, the use of American Indians for school mascot's, nicknames or slogan's.

Friday, Michigan's department of Civil Rights has filed an order to make those names a thing of the past.

If the states department of civil rights had their way, American Indian Mascots and Slogans would be a thing of the past.

"The complaint asks the U.S. department of education to issue an order, if this order were in place they wouldn't be allowed to call themselves the redskins or choose an Indian head dress as their mascot," said Leslee Fritz MI Civil Unions Public Affairs Director.

The change would apply for all current and future K through 12 schools across the country, 35 in Michigan, including the Big Reds of Lansing Sexton.

"The Spartan isn't a certain race, I don't think our mascot should be," said Sexton Senior Tariah Jones.

"It's all about the history of the school, if you eliminate that, you eliminate part of the school," said Lansing resident Jim Johnson.

But the department of civil rights says new studies over the last few years have convinced them history aside change is needed.

"One of the studies we cite, looked at the impact of American Indian images on Asian American students and found that in fact exposure to those had a a negative impact on them as well," Fritz said.

Whether it's a mascot or name, most simply don't see the connection between American Indian names and student achievement.

"Instead of looking at the negativity, they should look at the positive aspect and they can use this as to educate the non native Americans on the actual Indian background and Indian culture," said Sexton Varsity Girls Basketball Coach Steve Jackson.

Okemos high school changed their name from the Chieftains voluntarily just last year and students say they have learned to deal with it.

"I like the original one, but at the same time I understand it if it offends people, so either way we are going to proceed on our excellence," said Okemos Senior Sean Sorenson-Abbott.

And continue to cheer on their team, regardless of their name.

It's unclear when a decision will be made, but the case is now in the hands of the U.S. Department of Education's Civil Rights Office.

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan Department of Civil Rights is taking federal action to prohibit the use of American Indian mascots and imagery in Michigan schools.

The department filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights Friday. The complaint cites 35 Michigan K-12 school districts responsible for the "alleged discrimination," but the result could have national implications.


The complaint says research now shows the use of those mascots and imagery causes "actual harm" to American Indian students by lowering self-esteem, impacting student learning and achievement.


The department says the research results provide a legal basis to prohibit the use of the imagery and mascots. It claims the continued use "denies equal rights" to American Indian students.


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