The Lac du Flambeau tribe of Ojibwe is urging Governor Scott Walker not to sign a bill making it harder to change race-based school mascots. The Republican-backed legislation has passed the Assembly and the Senate. The new rules would require a petition of signatures and proof of discrimination before a school mascot can be changed.
Current law has it the other way around – a school must prove its mascot isn’t discriminatory.
Lac du Flambeau spokesman Brandon Thoms says the proposed rule changes encourage destructive stereotypes of Native people.
Lawmakers in the Assembly passed a bill making it harder to force schools to drop Indian nicknames and mascots.
The bill puts the burden of proof onto the group complaining of discrimination: instead of making the school prove it isn’t discriminating. The Republican legislation also requires signatures totaling 10 percent of the student body, instead of letting an individual file a complaint.
Supporters say it makes the process more fair. Opponents call it discrimination.