Skip to Content

Colorado considers banning Native American mascot in public schools

072020-6P-CHEYENNE-MASCOT-V.mp4.00_00_52_18.Still001-860x484

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) - Lawmakers are considering a proposal to ban Native American mascots in public schools and colleges after recent events brought the topic to light again.

The bill, which cleared the state Senate Education Committee on Thursday, would include a $25,000 monthly fine on Colorado public schools that use Native American mascots after June 1, 2022.

The committee passed amendments excluding schools that have or will seek agreements with local tribes, and schools on tribal lands.

This comes after the Cheyenne Mountain High School's school board voted to remove its Indian mascot last month, after pushback from local Native American organizations. Many of the school's alumni opposed the change and now oppose this bill.

"It's ridiculous, this is all cancel-culture stuff," said Sandra Matthews, who graduated from Cheyenne Mountain High School in 1972. "If you don't learn your history, I mean we're on the path of repeating what was really bad years ago."

The now Washington Football Team also notably removed its Redskin mascot last year, revamping the national discussion, and several other states have already passed laws banning the Native American mascot in some capacity.

"It was demeaning as a child and now it's just blatantly offensive," said Raven Payment, a Native American who advocated for the ban during Thursday's committee hearing. "It hurts my heart because I know what our children are going to have to face when they see that."

Raven told us she, and other natives, see the mascot as mockery.

A commission of tribal members and state officials recommended schools remove Native American mascots back in 2015, under Governor John Hickenlooper, but many still remain.

"I use the term cautiously optimistic that we're going to make some positive progress," Payment said. "And it's not just progress for indigenous people, it's progress for all of us.

Right now, it's unclear when the bill will reach the state senate floor. We'll keep you updated on KRDO NewsChannel 13 and here on KRDO.com.

Author Profile Photo

Julia Donovan

Julia is a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about Julia here.

Comments

11 Comments

  1. Rename the streets, counties, mountains. Let’s not talk about them, speak their names? Outta sight, outta mind. In a generation or two, no one will care. Vague foot note in history.

    1. You hit the nail on the head. How far are we supposed to go in erasing traces of the heritage of indigenous people? I always thought Native Americans were being honored by teams proudly depicting their names as heroes. But I guess not everyone thinks that way, including those who I thought were being commemorated.

      1. your comment makes a serious point about what is a mockery and what is an honorable gesture- and whose opinion should matter most. IF Native Americans feel that Native American mascots for schools are an insult, that should be the consensus. Is this just a “Colorado” issue regarding HS mascots, or is this a nationwide issue?

        1. I’ve never heard any indication of a consensus, only a vocal few who claim to represent all Native Americans. It would be interesting to find out if they truly do represent the majority, or if they’re just fighting for self-recognition.

          1. replying to your above comment- it’s true-is it a consensus of the Indigenous people all across the land or just a few whose pride level is way too big?
            Would it please the whole population of Native Americans if we just rubbed them out of having anything named after them?

  2. Why not name the legislators that sponsored the bill?

    Sponsors: Sen. Jessie Danielson(D) | Rep. Adrienne Benavidez(D) | Rep. Barbara McLachlan(D)

    1. Most people care more about the content of a bill, rather than who sponsored it.
      Those who do care for some reason can easily look it up, like you did.

  3. This is an issue across the U.S. and Canada. Public pressure usually works(Cheyenne mountain high school is a good example) to effect change, but seems like a lot of folks want the heavy hand of government.

  4. Boo Hoo!!!.Most people could not care less if they never heard of or saw another native American ever.

Comments are closed.

Skip to content