Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Saturday

February 9, 2013

Complaint: Ban Native American mascots

LANSING — The Michigan Department of Civil Rights filed a complaint Friday with the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights, asking to ban the use of American Indian mascots and imagery in K-12 school because it denies equal rights to American Indian students.

Supporters say the mascots are a way to celebrate American Indian history and traditions and preserve the group's culture. But according to the complaint, new evidence suggests the use of the mascots "reinforces stereotypes," negatively impacting American Indian students' self-esteem, student learning and achievement.

Mark Dombroksi, superintendent for the Cheboygan Area School District, said he believes the district has used the "chiefs" mascot since the schools opened in the late 1890s. He said the community is heavily populated by American Indians and called the mascot a "sense of pride to the local community."

Three other schools in the region use American Indian mascots: the Petoskey Northmen, the Forest Area Warriors and the Manistee Chippewas.

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