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It’s Time for NC Schools To Be Rid of American Indian Mascots Completely

Source: News & Observer

On Wednesday, May 3rd The North Carolina State Advisory Council on Indian Education (SACIE) released a report detailing the number of public schools with American Indian themed mascots or imagery. The number of schools with this type of imagery has dropped in North Carolina from 72 in 2002 to 34.

Tiffany Locklear, the council’s chairwoman, was recently quoted in the News & Observer saying, “SACIE does believe that this type of imagery is detrimental to the development of positive self-images among American Indians and harmful to the ways in which the American Indian community is perceived by non-native students and staff.”

While the decrease in the number is a step in the right direction, with 16,000 American Indian students in North Carolina, it’s time for that number to be zero. SACIE is calling on the state to “reaffirm its opposition to American Indian mascots, nicknames, and logos, particularly those that employ and perpetuate offensive stereotypes about American Indians.” 

SACIE wants the state Board of Education to take further steps such as: 

  • Sending a letter to all public school superintendents and school board members “reiterating and recommitting to the State Board’s 2002 resolution, using the letter sent in October 2002 as a template.” 
  •  Restating the expectation that all local education agencies report annually on their efforts to review their mascots and “educate personnel on the effects of American Indian mascots.” ▪
  • If allowable by statute, strengthening the State Board’s resolution, “thereby requiring the elimination of all American Indian mascots, logos, and nicknames from North Carolina public schools by the start of the 2023-24 school year.” But as the SACIE report notes, decisions about mascots and nicknames lie with school districts.

North Carolina has the largest American Indian population east of the Mississippi. It’s past time to stop perpetuating negative stereotypes with demeaning symbols and imagery being sanctioned for use in public schools.

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