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Democrat-Controlled Maine Legislature Getting Close To Banning Indian Mascots for Public Schools

April 24, 2019

The Maine House of Representatives has approved a bill banning American Indian nicknames, mascots, and imagery for public schools in the state, 88-49.

Only two Republicans voted for the bill, and only one Democrat voted against it, according to the Bangor Daily News.

Only one public school in Maine, Skowhegan, still had an Indian mascot as of earlier this year, but the school board there voted in March to get rid of it. The school district could still hold a non-binding referendum to try to restore it under current law, according to the Bangor Daily News.

The bill states:

“A public school may not have or adopt a name, symbol or image that depicts or refers to a Native American tribe, individual, custom or tradition and that is used as a mascot, nickname, logo, letterhead or team name of the school.”

Supporters of the ban say using Indian names and images demeans native peoples. Opponents say mascots and nicknames demonstrate longstanding ties to indigenous peoples in an area and reflect local traditions, and that banning them suppresses free speech and local control.

More than 30 schools in Maine once used Indian names and imagery for their sports teams, according to the Bangor Daily News.

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