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WI School Refuses To Drop Indians Mascot Despite Order From State Officials

By Samantha Abernethy in News on Jul 24, 2013 9:50PM

A school board in southeastern Wisconsin has voted to ignore an order by state education officials demanding the school stop using the term "Indians" as its mascot. The Mukwonago school district faces a fine of up to $1,000 per day if it does not change the mascot by Aug. 15.

The resolution passed by the board reads:

“The use of the ‘Indians’ nickname and associated logo have been and continue to be a source of pride related to the local history of the Mukwonago area. Further, the District believes that decisions regarding the use of nicknames and logos are best left to local elected officials who better understand local history.”

The district plans to instead lobby for legislation introduced Tuesday that would repeal a 2009 law empowering the state Department of Public Instruction to conduct hearings when complaints about mascots arise. The district has been fighting the mascot change since that law was passed in 2009

The Journal Sentinel writes:

DPI Spokesman Patrick Gasper said the department was simply enforcing the law, as it is required to do, in determining that Mukwonago would have to change from the Indians.

"If the name, nickname, logo, or mascot is found to be unambiguously race-based, the district will have the burden of proving by clear and convincing evidence the name, nickname, logo, or mascot does not promote discrimination, pupil harassment, or stereotyping," Gasper said in an email.

"These nicknames and logos are inappropriate and contribute to stereotypes and an improper understanding of Indian history and culture," Mike Allen, the executive director of the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council, told the Journal Sentinel. The school uses a logo that is similar to the Blackhawks' Indianhead logo.