Ohio School Board Representative, Meryl Johnson, from SBoE District #11 (most of Cuyahoga County and a sliver of Lake County along Lake Erie) has submitted a resolution to the State School board suggesting banning of ‘Native American mascots, names, insignia, etc.’ from use by schools in Ohio.
This effort did not originate in Ohio. It is being introduced across the country.
We would like to hear your thoughts about this proposed resolution.
State of Ohio
State Board of Education
USE OF NATIVE AMERICAN MASCOTS, SYMBOLS,
NICKNAMES, LOGOS, AND CHANTS
Whereas people of all cultures, races, and religions have a right to be treated with dignity and respect;
Whereas Ohio is listed on the American Indian Sports Team Mascots website as ranking number one nationally in the use of American Indian team nicknames and logos even though it is number seven in population;
Whereas according to a Cincinnati Enquirer analysis of school websites from elementary through high school, at least 228 public schools in Ohio have a Native American- related mascot or logo;
Whereas in our strategic plan, Each Child Our Future, it states- “The path to equity begins with a deep understanding of the history of discrimination and bias and how it has come to impact current society”;
Whereas in our strategic plan Each Child Our Future, the whole child model stresses that each student’s learning environment must be physically and emotionally safe;
Whereas the Ohio Board of Education believes it is important that all students learn about the cultural aspects of various groups so that they will understand cultural norms, develop tolerance, respect differences, and become good citizens and productive adults;
Whereas the hateful stereotypes of Jim Crow and anti-Catholic policies have been eliminated in education by listening to the collective voices of African-American citizens and proponents of religious tolerance;
Whereas on two occasions Native Americans approached the Ohio Board of Education with their concerns about how the use of these names and mascots exploits people’s dignity and promotes inaccurate and negative stereotypes that hurt Native American children, including the son of one member who tells friends he’s Mexican because he doesn’t want to be teased by classmates about his Native American heritage;
Whereas in a resolution dated April 13, 2001, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights called for an end to the use of Native American images and team names by non-Native schools, stating that “while respecting the right to freedom of expression, the Commission believes that the use of Native American images and nicknames in school is insensitive and should be avoided”;
Whereas in a resolution dated September 2005, the American Psychological Association stated the continued use of American Indian mascots, symbols, images and personalities has a negative effect on not only American Indian students but all students by-
- Undermining the educational experiences of members of all communities, especially those who have had little or no contact with indigenous people,
- Establishes an unwelcome and often times hostile learning environment for American Indian students that affirms negative images/stereotypes that are promoted in mainstream society,
- Undermines the ability of American Indian Nations to portray accurate and respectful images of their culture, spirituality and traditions.
- Presents stereotypical images of American Indians, and such mascots are a contemporary example of prejudice by the dominant culture against racial and ethnic minority groups.
- Is a form of discrimination against American Indian Nations that can lead to negative relations between groups; and
Whereas the Ohio Board of Education recognizes that this is a local issue that will be decided by individual school districts/schools; now, therefore, be it
Resolved, that the Ohio Board of Education:
- urges school districts/schools to use curricula that is fair, appropriate, and accurate in depicting the cultures and histories of all people;
- recommends that educators teach all students to be culturally sensitive and respectful of various cultures present in society;
- endorses the elimination of the use of Native American mascots, symbols, logos, fight songs, insignias, antics, nicknames and team descriptors by all Ohio school districts/schools receiving tax dollars;
- requests a copy of this resolution be sent by the State Superintendent to all Ohio school districts/schools receiving Ohio tax dollars.