Such school nicknames as Braves, Redmen and Warriors “negatively impact” Native American students, according to the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, which last month asked the U.S. Department of Education to ban the use of such nicknames in K-12 schools that receive federal funds.
“Continued use of American Indian mascots, names, nicknames, logos, slogans, chants and/or other imagery by each of the schools named in the complaint creates a hostile environment and denies equal rights to all current and future American Indian students.
” … Where limited uses of images, particularly the use of names of locally significant tribes or tribal persons with tribal support for doing so, can be done in a way that is respectful and which does not reinforce any singular limiting image of Indian Peoples, they may be continued, but only within guidelines provided by OCR.”
The offending nicknames flagged by the Michigan agency are as follows:
At this point, a group simply has asked for the ban. The federal government has taken no action.
But the request made me curious about nicknames in South Dakota schools. If USDE agrees with the complaint, these South Dakota schools might have to change their names:
Bennett County Warriors*
Britton Hecla Braves
Cheyenne-Eagle Butte Braves*
Crow Creek Chieftains*
Flandreau Indian Indians*
Lower Brule Sioux*
Marty Indian Braves*
St. Francis Indian Warriors*
Wagner Red Raiders**
Washington (Sioux Falls) Warriors
*Enrollment is predominantly Native American
**Enrollment is about equal between white and Native American
Bonus nicknames: The fact that Platte-Geddes uses “Black Panthers” is pretty amazing. I don’t know where to begin with the McLaughlin Midgets.