The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction held a hearing to address a complaint against the Mukwanago School district's use of the "Indians" logo and name (at left.) They ruled on this decision in October, according to WI Public Radio, and the Mukwanago School District has one year to drop its "Indian" masot. The complaint was filed by recent Mukwanago graduate Rain Koepke with the assistance of Barb Munson of the Wisconsin Indian Education Association's Indian Mascot and Logo Taskforce [Barb is also a member of the WNPJ Board].
The students at Kewaunee High School just selected their new name - The Storm. In August, this school district dropped their "Indian" nickname - and held a contest for this new one.
In the first test case for a new law giving the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction the power to review schools use of race-based mascots, the DPI has ordered the Osseo-Fairchild School District to drop its Chieftains nickname and logo after the determining the nickname and logo were race-based and promoted discrimination and harassment. "This is a wonderful decision. The DPI got it exactly right," said Barb Munson, of the Wisconsin Indian Education Association Mascot and Logo Task Force.
The DPI decision was in response to a complaint filed by Carol and Harvey Gunderson, residents of the Osseo-Fairchild School District.
Gov. Jim Doyle has signed a bill to create a statewide procedure for handling complaints over race-based mascots and logos in schools. Under the bill, SB 25, a school district resident may file a complaint about a local mascot with the state Department of Public Instruction.
The local school board would then have to establish at a hearing that the mascot or logo is not discriminatory, or face changing the offending symbols within 12 months.
Senate Bill 25, the race-based mascot, logo and nickname bill, passed the Assembly in a final 53-45 vote on Tuesday night, April 20, and will go to Gov. Jim Doyle to be signed into law. The bill provides a means of resolving discrimination complaints based on the use of race-based 'Indian" logos, mascots and team names through a form of mediation provided by the Department of Public Instruction.
The bill's success was the result of a years-long effort by Wisconsin's native American citizens and their allies, led by the Wisconsin Indian Education Association Indian Mascot and Logo Task Force, headed by WNPJ Board member Barb Munson.
Zi Haukeness, of WNPJ member group Groundwork, writes: "On tax day as the tea partiers rally with their hateful signs, spouting angry and misdirected slurs and slogans, Wisconsin people of conscience should stand up and show them and the silent majority that we are powerful because of our commitment to true democracy, racial equality and workable solutions."
A bill that would block Wisconsin schools from using most Indian mascots and team names is scheduled for a final vote in the Assembly on Tuesday, April 20.
The bill would allow residents to complain to the state schools superintendent if their school district used a race-based team name, nickname, mascot or logo.
|Governor Doyle signs race-based mascot bill, witnessed by students from Prescott High|
Gov. Jim Doyle has signed into law SB25, requiring the Wisconsin Department of Instruction to set up a process to mediate disputes about schools that use race-based mascots. Noting that Wisconsin is the first state in the nation to enact legislation of this sort, Barb Munson of the Wisconsin Indian Education Association said, "I have seen the best spirit of Wisconsin in action - people of all ages, races and ethnicities working together to make things better for all the children in our state." Full WIEA statement here, Wisconsin Radio Network report here.
Students from Prescott, Wisconsin, made their opinions known and voices heard before the Wisconsin State Assembly Education Committee. After studying the issue of using American Indian imagery as mascots, students in Mr. Ryan’s class testify in support of Assembly Bill 35, a proposal to limit the use of race-based names and images from public school sports teams.