Kansas education board recommends public schools retire Native American mascots

Published: Nov. 10, 2022 at 11:58 AM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (KCTV) - In a 7-1-2 vote, the Kansas Board of Education has recommended all public schools in the Sunflower State sunset any use of Native American mascots or branding.

At a Thursday morning meeting, the board recommended that the process be completed for K-12 non-tribal schools within the next 3-5 years.

Members of the school board consulted with Native American families, scholars and advocacy groups as they developed its recommendation.

Carole Cadue-Blackwood, a member of the Lawrence School Board, was part of a group that contacted lawmakers and state officials to develop the recommendation.

She brought up studies showing that growing up with harmful stereotypes can cause psychological harm to children. She said kids should not have to play against schools that use offensive imagery in their mascots.

“It takes an emotional toll, a lot of bravery and courage to stand up and advocate,” Cadue-Blackwood said. “When we advocate, we’re not doing it for ourselves. We’re doing it for our children and our children’s children.”

Cadue-Blackwood also works for the Kansas City Indian Center, which has also advocated against the use of Native American imagery for sports teams.

Gaylene Crouser, the director of the center, said she hoped schools and professional organizations would look inward at the kinds of imagery they use for fans and whether those images truly represent the people they are portraying.

“It limits our kids and who they think they can be based on the way they’re perceived and the way they perceive themselves,” Crouser said.