Indian School Mascots May Not Be Allowed

( The Kansas Board of Education last week recommended that Native American-themed mascots be removed from public schools in the state.

In a 9 to 1 vote last Thursday, the Board approved a proposition encouraging all schools with Native American mascots to remove them within the next three to five years.

The move comes after the Advisory Council for Indigenous Education urged the Board to strong-arm schools into abandoning Native American-themed mascots.

During the Board’s meeting, member Melanie Haas noted that some of the school districts with Native American mascots refuse to have any discussions about removing them while others are “having a hard time with those discussions.”

Given their reticence, Haas believed the Board must “take a leadership role at the state level” and tell the school districts that “this is something you should look at.” Haas said she believed it was an important message that some of these school districts needed to hear.

Board Member Deena Horst argued that beyond mascot names, some activities, like doing the tomahawk chop during sporting events, can be offensive to Native American players.

Horst said during the meeting that if she was a member of a Native American tribe and had to compete “in a competitive environment,” she would interpret something like the tomahawk chop as “making fun of me.” Horst also claimed that there was a bullying component in the activity as well, claiming it was used to show everyone that “you can overtake someone” and anyone who is Native American would feel “less of a person” and that is “wrong.”

During last Tuesday’s elections, Republican candidates won seats on the Kansas Board of Education, gaining seven of the 10 seats. However, the newly-elected members will not take their place on the Board until 2023.

According to the Kansas Reflector, there are currently over 20 schools statewide that have Native American imagery or mascots. Last year, several schools dropped Native American mascot names, including Redmen, Braves, and Redskins.