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Debate over Native American mascots continues

Published: Nov. 18, 2021 at 4:31 PM MST
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) - The mascot debate continues, as Colorado’s new state law requires the elimination of Native American logos. Supporters of this change say Native American logos are offensive. However, one group, The Native American Guardians Association ( NAGA ), says removing the mascots is like erasing their heritage.

“All other cultures are able to remain culturally relevant,” Tony Henson, the president of NAGA explains. “Native Americans are the smallest minority in the nation and respectful use of these names and images have been around for decades so if you take these away there’s going to be virtually no remembrance of native peoples.” He goes on to say he believes this is a modern day Indian removal and as long as the Native American logo is used respectfully he fully supports its use. Derogatory terms such as “redskins’ and “savages” are unacceptable, but, respectful images such as warriors and braves are welcome.

The National Congress of American Indians, an advocacy group against the mascots, does not see it that way. In a statement released by the group they say, “We are not mascots, and we will not tolerate being treated as such. SB21-116 represents an important and necessary first step towards creating an inclusive and equitable learning environment for all students in Colorado.”

NAGA has since filled an emergency lawsuit to try and stop this law. According to them the law should differentiate between what is respectful and what is not, rather than saying all logos are bad. A judge is set to have a ruling by the end of November.

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