Letter to dozens of Iowa schools calls for removal of Indigenous mascots
One by one, schools in Iowa and across the country are replacing their names and mascots with another Native American connotation, as tribal groups and other organizations demand collective change.
Nearly 2,000 schools nationwide have Aboriginal-themed mascots
The National Congress of American Indians claims that names like Indians, Warriors, Braves, Chiefs and Redskins are deeply insensitive to their groups and are attached to 1,935 schools across the country. So far, 50 of them have withdrawn these names. Calls for these changes are becoming a growing trend.
After Marion became the “Wolves” and Camanche, now the “Storm”, renamed their school names to “Indians,” 66 more Iowa schools urged in new letter by the Sac & Fox tribe of the Meskwaki Nation in Iowa to do the same . These schools include Waukon Indians, Wapello Indians, Spirit Lake Indians, Montezuma Braves, Keokuk Chiefs, Oskaloosa Indians, Mason City Mohawks and Indianola Indians who are invited to make a change as per the Cedar Rapids Gazette.
It’s not just schools that change their names
Linn County also renamed Squaw Creek Park in Wanatee Park last year in honor of Jean Adeline Morgan Wanatee, who was born in Meskwaki Settlement in Tama County in 1910 and was the first woman elected to the Meskwaki Tribal Council. This change officially took place in September 2020, after the conservation council discussed and honored a request to rename the park due to the fact that “Squaw” was viewed as disrespectful to Native American women.
Iowa ACLU director Mark Stringer said in a statement that changes were needed. Failure to do so, he said, would be “perpetuate negative and cartoonish stereotypes, inappropriately represent sacred and religious traditions, and are particularly offensive given the long history of oppression against Indigenous peoples. “
There are many opinions for and against these changes, but after a few small steps in their favor, supporters of this movement now seem to be seeking broader action.
It goes beyond just the local level
Professional sports teams are also feeling increased pressure, as the Cleveland Indians will soon be known as the the gardians, and the NFL Washington football team are still discussing a new name to replace “Redskins”.
As we take a look at the sports of other teams with these names, we see the Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta Braves as well as the Florida State Seminoles in varsity track and field, to name a few, who are up to the point. now remained intact. Time will tell if they stay that way, but should they?
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