Wash. state rep. introduces bill to ban public schools from having Native American mascots

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SEATTLE, WA – MAY 06: School buses sat idle in a bus yard on May 6, 2020 in Seattle, Wash. (Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

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UPDATED 11:50 AM PT – Sunday, February 7, 2021

A Washington state lawmaker introduced legislation to ban public schools from having Native American mascots, logos or team names.

State House Rep. Debra Lekanoff (D-Wash.) introduced the bill on Friday, which if signed into law would require dozens of schools in the state to update their mascot.

The legislation contended the use of indigenous mascots “fails to respect Native American cultural heritage.” Lekanoff said the measure is about healing and respect for Native American communities.

“It’s that time of feeling, it’s that time of a long due respect that should be provided to the Washington tribes, and this bill just opens up that door to say, those 30 schools who still exist, that still carry these Native American mascot names, it’s time for you to recognize that there’s a process and that is to consult with your neighbors next door, to engage with them,” Lekanoff stated.

If passed by the state Legislature, the legislation would go into effect in 2022.

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