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Seattle Human Rights Commission: Washington State Should Ban Native Mascots in Schools

On November 23, the Seattle Human Rights Commission passed a resolution calling upon Washington state to stop the use of Native American mascots in public schools. The commission noted that its action takes place during Native American Heritage Heritage Month and on Native American Heritage Day.

"The Commission supports the Washington State Board of Education which in September passed a resolution calling upon Washington public schools to voluntarily drop the use of Native American mascots, logos, and names.  The Commission, however, also recommends that Washington State enact an outright ban against the use of Native American mascots," the organization stated in a press release.

Chris Stearns, Navajo, Chairman of the Seattle Human Rights Commission said, “The position of the Seattle Human Rights Commission is that the continued use of Native American mascots is dehumanizing and disrespectful.  We believe that stopping the use of Indian mascots in Washington will create a learning environment that helps Native American students build a strong sense of identity and self-esteem.”

Additionally, "The Commission’s position is based on the growing scientific consensus linking the use of Native American mascots in schools with negative social identity development and low self-esteem in Native American students, not to mention discrimination, harassment and stereotyping.  The Commission notes that both the American Psychological Association and the American Sociological Association have called for the elimination of the use of Native American nicknames, logos, and mascots in sports.

"The Commission believes that a ban would comply with Article 7 of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination which requires the United States and Washington to enact polices and laws in schools to fight prejudices which lead to racial discrimination and to promote understanding and tolerance.

 

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