There is a problem with some Wisconsin school mascots


Rachel Humphery, Reporter

The state of Wisconsin has many ties to Native American tribes, and as such, around 31 schools in Wisconsin have or have had some reference to a Native American tribe in their name or mascot. For the past few years, there have been debates about the possible racism in the mascots. 

These debates started in 2010 when Native American students and adults confronted principles with statements that the mascots were offensive and racist. They said the mascots were projecting false or offensive imagery, or stereotypes pertaining to Native Americans. A few students reported being bullied or treated with racist slurs because of the Indian mascots. Back in 2010, a law was enacted that forced schools to change their names or mascots if they received complaints that they were offensive; however, this law was rewritten in 2013 which reversed the effect of the law in 2010 and gave schools the choice whether or not to change their mascot. This law was called the Indian Mascot law, and the change in 2013 was put into action because some people felt the 2010 law infringed on freedom of speech. Throughout the past nine years, a few schools have changed their mascots and names in response to the complaints from parents and students. As an example, in 2010 the Kewaunee changed their mascot from the Kewaunee Indians to the Kewaunee Storm. On the other hand, other schools have elected to keep their old mascots despite complaints. Most notable of the schools is Fort Atkinson, who has elected to keep their mascot of ‘The Black Hawks’. Their argument is that their Native American based mascot is honoring the Native Americans who lived on the land before them, and as such, they should not have to change it. There is also the issue of school boards deciding not to change the name despite complaints from students, parents or teachers. The debate about changing mascots in Wisconsin schools because of possible racism has been ongoing for many years, and seems like it will be debated for many more years.