Decision Time Nearing for Mascot Bill; Opponents Want Veto

Dec 10, 2013

The Great Lakes Intertribal Council is calling on Governor Scott Walker to veto legislation regarding race-based mascots.  The bill makes it harder for a person to file a discrimination complaint against a school mascot.  It would require a petition of signatures and then proof of discrimination to get a mascot changed.

Michael Allen is director of the Great Lakes Intertribal Council.  He says the rule changes would encourage stereotyping of Native people. 

“It is a big issue.  We’re looking at racism.  Racism is always going to be there right now.  And we’re tired of it – Native American people are tired of it.  And we’re trying to fight back using the law.”

The legislation on the governor’s desk changes the process for school mascot complaints established in a 2010 law backed by democrats and tribal leaders.  Republicans say the new law makes the process more fair. 

But Allen says it sends the wrong message to Wisconsin’s tribes and to a national audience. 

“Right now the governor’s exploring the possibility of becoming a candidate for national office.  He should weigh the consequences – he’s got to look at that really seriously.” 

The bill passed the state Senate and General Assembly and is awaiting Governor Walker’s signature or veto.  But if he does nothing in the next few days, it automatically becomes law on December 18th.