State Tribal News and Updates

state-tribal News and Updates

News with fingerUpdated February 28, 2014

2014 has been an active year for state-tribal legislation. So far, 38 states have introduced measures that could have an impact on Native American populations. The News and Updates page will highlight various measures weekly. Measures addressing mascots and derogatory names are highlighted below. To see a complete list of all bills and for more details on the bills below, visit the State Tribal Legislative Tracking Database.

Mascots and Derogatory Names

State legislators in Oregon and South Dakota have sent bills to governor for signing.

Amidst continued controversy, Oregon’s SB 1509 allows school boards to enter into a written agreement with federally recognized tribes to identify acceptable names, symbols and images that can be used by schools. The agreement would also address behavior expectations at athletic events and requires training on cultural diversity. In 2012, the Oregon Board of Education banned the use of Native American names or symbols in public schools and required compliance by July 2017. Governor John Kitzhaber is expected to sign SB 1509.

South Dakota’s SB 119 refers to geographic names, prohibiting the term squaw from being used for any geographic feature in the state. The bill also requires the existing South Dakota Board on Geographic Names to investigate any proposed name and to establish procedures and standards that are compliant with the United States Board on Geographic Names. Missouri’s HB 1927 is pending; this bill would establish the Missouri Board on Geographic Names.

In December 2013, Wisconsin enacted AB 297 which included amended provisions requiring a specified number of signatures to be included when a school district resident files a complaint objecting to the use of a race-based nickname, logo, team name or mascot.

Source: State Net Lexis Nexis, 2014


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