SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) —Monday, the Board of Regents re-emphasized their support for banning mascots and nicknames that refer to indigenous people. “So, the proposed regulation prohibits the use of any indigenous team name, logo, or mascot,” a member of the board said. “Broadly defined as a name, symbol or image that depicts or refers to indigenous persona, tribes, nations, individuals, customs, symbols, or traditions.”
During the meeting, the board mentioned that it was okay for school districts to use the names of tribes, such as the Mohonasen school district. The district currently uses three tribes — Mohawk, Onondaga, and Seneca. But the artwork and logos that appear throughout the hallways, banners, and supplies will all have to be removed.
A member of the board read a statement from the Tribal Chief of the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe, Ronald LaFrance Jr., about the issue. “We are not cartoons. We are living, breathing people. Just the thought is very degrading because we have a very living culture. Our culture had been alive for thousands of years,” he said.
The State Education Department plans on forming an advisory council that will include members of the indigenous community. The council will meet next month to help with the matter. In the meantime, Superintendent Shannon Shine released a statement that mentions that the district will “…look forward to hearing what the indigenous people on the council have to say.”
“I am unclear if there is a larger proposed regulation document or whether the following is the proposed regulation in its entirety,” he said. “As more details come out, such as the still anticipated clarification document from SED, I will provide additional updates.”